September 19, 2005
Pianist Janis Mercer to Perform the Works of Anton Webern in Two Spokane Concerts
Composer and pianist Janis Mercer of San Francisco will perform the works of Austrian composer Anton Webern in two Spokane concerts. The first concert will be held Sunday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m., in the Eastern Washington University Music Recital Hall. A second performance will take place on Monday, Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m., in the Whitworth College Music Recital Hall. Both performances are free and open to the public. A reception with the artist will follow each concert. For more information, please call (509) 777-3280.
In addition to her piano performances, Mercer will be the featured guest on the KPBX 91.1 FM program Classical Music with Verne Windham, on Monday, Oct. 3, at 10 a.m.
Born in 1883, Anton Webern was accidentally shot and killed in 1945 by a solder in the U.S. occupation forces in Austria. Webern's works greatly influenced composers in the decades after World War II. Echoes of his musical style and thought can still be heard in contemporary classical music. Mercer's remembrance concerts are dedicated to Webern's solo piano works and to works that are based upon his first 12-tone work, Kinderstück (1924).
Many of the pieces selected for this concert were published long after Webern's death through the pioneering work of Spokane's Hans Moldenhauer (1906-1987), who discovered Webern's manuscripts in 1965. Mercer will perform these works, as well as Piano Variations (1936).
Mercer's Spokane concerts will feature the Northwest premieres of several brief works that are collectively known as the Kinderstück Project. For this project Mercer commissioned several professional composers, including Donivan Johnson, of Metaline Falls, Wash., to compose pieces for children based on Webern's Kinderstück (meaning Children's Piece). These works received their world premiere in San Francisco in March 2005.
The concerts will also include three movements from German contemporary master Helmut Lachenmann's Ein Kinderspiel (meaning Children's Game), which he composed in 1980. Mercer's performances are underwritten by the Hans Moldenhauer Memorial Trust Fund and by Mary Moldenhauer, of Spokane.
Mercer is the founder and former artistic director of the chamber ensemble Schwungvoll, with whom she performed for several years. She has also performed piano solos in public concerts and at colleges in California, Illinois and New York.
Mercer has a strong interest in the music of the Second Viennese School, but she also performs works by living composers and has commissioned solo works, as well. Her compositions are mostly for single instrument, chamber music and/or voice, and they employ serial techniques and structured improvisation. Mercer holds artist residencies at Villa Montalvo Center for the Arts, in California; at Ragdale, in Illinois; and at Centrum, in Washington. Her current compositional projects involve new works for piano and tape; she is also working on the release of her first CD.
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.
Donivan Johnson, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Keberle, professor and music department chair, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4582 email@example.com.
Patrick Winters, professor and music department chair, Eastern Washington University, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or email@example.com.