International inspiration

Cristina Capparelli, an internationally renowned piano professor at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, is scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts Recital Hall. Admission is free. Courtesy photo

An internationally renowned musician is coming to the University of Wyoming for a performance she hopes will help her audience see connections between some of history’s most famous composers.

Cristina Capparelli is a piano professor at one of the top universities in Brazil, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul.

The pianist and scholar is scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts Recital Hall. Admission is free.

Chi-Chen Wu, assistant professor of piano at UW, said Capparelli is one of Brazil’s leading figures in music education.

“As a great pianist, she has presented concerts worldwide,” Wu said. “We are honored to have her visit the university.”

Capparelli appears frequently as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, guest teacher and lecturer in the United States, Canada, England, France and Portugal. Wednesday’s performance will be her first in Wyoming, Capparelli says in an email.

“I did visit the state briefly when we came as a family to visit the Yellowstone (National) Park — one of the most beautiful places on this earth,” she says. “I’m very much looking forward to playing and conducting a master class at (the University) of Wyoming. I want to meet and to hear the students and the teachers. I’ve heard only good things about (UW) and I’m looking forward to confirming this fact.”

The program includes pieces by composers Johann Sebastian Bach, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Frédéric Chopin. She says the performances should not only draw a connection between Brazilian musical characteristics and polyphony, but also between the composers.

“This program is put together with a very defined thread outline,” Capparelli says.

Villa-Lobos, she says, loved Bach above all composers and studied many of Bach’s scores. Her performance of Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4 is the result of Villa-Lobos’ transcribed Bach preludes and fugues produced as nine works for mixed ensembles. The second Villa-Lobos composition to be performed Wednesday is Homage a Chopin, tying all three of the evening’s composers together, Capparelli says.

“In 1949, Villa-Lobos received a commission to write a piece celebrating the 100th anniversary of Chopin’s death, (and) he wrote an Homage a Chopin and this is his last piece for piano,” she says. “So Villa-Lobos is the connection between Bach and Chopin. I hope the playing will convince the audience of this assertion.”

In addition to the piano performance, Capparelli is scheduled to conduct a master piano class at UW on Tuesday.

“I enjoy playing very much, and teaching is what I do for a living,” Capparelli says. “It is very important to pass along to the newer generations the great music tradition and the knowledge I’ve received from my masters.”

Even for people unfamiliar with the compositions in Wednesday’s program, Capparelli says there are a variety of appealing elements for audiences.

“I’d say that the program is varied, and there are a lot of dance patterns — old dances for sure, but just as attractive and full of energy,” she says. “And, as I mentioned, I invite the audience to follow through this thread that ties Bach to Chopin and to Villa-Lobos.”

Playing music around the world has been rewarding in part because of the friends Capparelli has made, particularly in the U.S., she says. The power of music to move people across the world also continues to drive Capparelli to play for audiences, she says.

“Music is strong and powerful,” she says. “It unites people, and great music is art, beauty and enchantment. It is the opposite of war, discrimination (and) prejudice. Music is a unique human gift, therefore human beings can be great — especially the ones that love and support music.”

Go to www.uwyo.edu/music/upcoming_events for more information.

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