• Steve Ambler

John Dapaah Recital


PHOTO COURTESY JOHN DAPAAH

Ottawa-based pianist John Dapaah brings the music of Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, and Bach to Hudson February 18.

The Hudson Chamber Music Series' 35th season continues with its third concert on February 18 at 4pm in the St. James Church Hall at 642 Main Road in Hudson. Acclaimed Ottawa pianist John Dapaah will perform a recital of works by Schubert, Schumann, Chopin and Bach.

John began his studies of the piano as a child in Japan. His family relocated to Canada, and he pursued his studies at Carleton University, with classical training by Verna Jacobson and Nicole Presentey and in jazz piano with Steve Boudreau and Mark Ferguson. He obtained his Master's degree under Marina Mdivani (herself a student of famed pianist Emil Gilels) at McGill's Schulich School. He has performed as a recitalist and soloist with orchestras on three continents, including special performances for Governors General Michaelle Jean and David Johnston.

He is an avid performer of both classical music and jazz and often incorporates the two along with improvisation in his recitals. A search for John on YouTube reveals the breadth and depth of his talent, with videos of him doing straight renditions of Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and Scriabin along with jazz interpretations of standard ballads and accompanying singers such as Roxeanne Goodman and Michael Hanna in jazz favourites and gospel.

He is also a composer: a choreographed version of his string quartet has been performed at the National Arts Centre.

In February, John will focus on the Romantic repertoire. His programme will include Franz Schubert's Impromptus: all four of the opus 90 set and two from the opus 140 set. These pieces are considered to be among the most important examples of their genre. They manage to convey the impression that they are improvised but they each have a definite internal structure: theme and variations, theme with elaborate development as in sonata form, and so on. Robert Schumann described the opus 90 set as a piano sonata in disguise. In all of them Schubert's great gift for melody shines through.

Frédéric Chopin's music will be represented by his Ballade number 3 opus 47 and a selection from the opus 28 Preludes. The Ballade is one of four that Chopin published under separate opus numbers, and is one of his most often-played works. Chopin's preludes comprise 24 pieces in each of the possible major and minor keys. Of them, Franz Liszt wrote "Chopin's Preludes are compositions of an order entirely apart ... they are poetic preludes, analogous to those of a great contemporary poet, who cradles the soul in golden dreams ..." John will play seven of the 24.

John will also play Franz Liszt's transcription of Robert Schumann's Widmung. The final work on the programme (the only one from the Baroque era) is a perfect transition piece for the Series' all-Bach March concert: Johann Sebastian Bach's Sheep May Safely Graze (transcribed by Egon Petri).

St. James Church Hall is an ideal setting for chamber music in general and piano recitals in particular, with its ideal acoustics and an unparalleled view of the Lake of Two Mountains. Individual tickets will be available at the door for the very modest cost of $25 for adults and $20 for seniors.

For more information, including a more detailed bio of John and a link to his web site as well as details on the rest of the 35th season, see the Hudson Chamber Music's web site at http://www.hudsonchambermusic.ca/.

The fourth and final concert of the season will be on March 25 when violinist Mark Fewer and harpsichordist Hank Knox will perform Bach's sonatas for violin and harpsichord.

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