CULTURE

Piano virtuoso back in Athens

Well known worldwide as a piano virtuoso and a prominent composer, Canadian artist Alain Lefevre returns to Athens this week for a single performance on Thursday. The event, which will take place at the Athens Concert Hall, juxtaposes famous works with some lesser-known ones: compositions by Franz Schubert, Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel will be heard alongside those of Andre Mathieu and Walter Boudreau, along with Lefevre’s world premiere of his new work, «Three Preludes,» commissioned by the Athens Concert Hall. Lefevre is no newcomer to Greece; the artist performed in the capital for the first time during the 1997-1998 season, as part of the Athens Concert Hall’s «Great Interpreters» series. Now, eight years later, the Greek public has had plenty of opportunities to get acquainted with his singular piano style. Throughout his career, Lefevre has collaborated with prestigious music ensembles, including London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the symphony orchestras of Hamburg, Wuppertal, Washington and Montreal, among others. The upcoming Athens concert, which will take place at the Friends of Music Hall at 8.30 p.m., is of particular interest, starting from the curtain-raiser composition, one of classical music’s landmark works. Schubert’s «Three Piano Pieces, D 946» was conceived only a few months before the composer’s death and is defined by its frequent mood swings and dramatic moments. After Schubert comes the «Concerto de Quebec,» a work by Canadian composer and pianist Andre Mathieu (1929-1968). A particularly complex work, it demands great virtuoso qualities. In Athens, Lefevre will interpret the concerto’s second solo, considered the work’s most striking part. The world debut of Lefevre’s new work will follow. The «Three Preludes» were commissioned by the Athens Concert Hall following the success of the artist’s trilogy «Greek Impressions,» first presented at the Athens Concert Hall in November 2002. In the first prelude, Lefevre ponders grief and the loss of one’s parents in a tender, melancholy piece. The second part of the «Three Preludes» is a hymn to love, expressing the composer’s own feelings for his wife, while the final prelude, which is dedicated to Athens Concert Hall President Christos Lambrakis, is a tribute to Maria Callas. The second part of the concert will kick off with Lefevre interpreting two highly popular Debussy works, («Claire de Lune» and «L’Isle Joyeuse») as well as Canadian composer Walter Boudreau’s short and moody «Asylum Waltz.» In the finale, the artist will offer three pieces by Ravel: the Sonatina, the dreamy and nostalgic «Pavane for a Dead Infanta,» ending with «The Waltz,» a tribute to the Viennese waltz. Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali & Vassilissis Sofias, tel 210.728.2333.