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Alan Huckleberry, piano
November 10, 7:30 pm$10 – $14
A multi-media presentation of
THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED
36 Variations on ¡El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido!
by Frederic Rzewski (b.1938)
Pianist Alan Huckleberry from the University of Iowa is presenting a 10 city tour, performing Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated. The variation set of epic proportions (over one hour in length) and epic difficulty, has found new meaning in today’s political and social environment in the USA.
Rzewski wrote People United in response to the fascist coup of Pinochet in Chile and the subsequent horrible treatment of the people of Chile. The original song was composed by the folk group Quilyapayun, who happened to be in Europe at the time of the coup. They remained in exile for almost 20 years, often singing this song, which soon became an anthem of resistance.
The piano version is a Theme, 36 Variations, Improvisation, and Coda. The variations are in 6 groups of 6 variations. Each group has 5 unique variations. The 6th variation is a unification of the previous 5 variations. The 6th group is different in that the 31st variation is a combination of all previous 1st variations, the 32nd all previous 2nd variations, and so on. The 36th variation is a combination of all previous unique variations. Each set of variations can loosely be thought of as in a specific compositional style.
“A few years ago I performed this piece with 5 other pianists, mostly my students, each of us tackling one set of 6 variations. We added a visual element to the performance by projecting images having to do with human rights. Each set had a specific topic: people (MLK, Malala, Mother Teresa, etc.) historical events, social justice, worker’s rights, etc. Each variation was associated with a specific image. When the variations came back throughout the piece, so did the images. That way the audience could also visually follow the compositional structure, while contemplating the underlying message. I will be performing it on my own, again using images, only this time having to do with events in the US in the past three years. Topics will include women’s rights (#metoo), Black Lives Matter, our government, social media, and people. Eventually I intend to create a DVD recording of it, only then using news footage instead of still images. As mentioned above, before the Coda is an optional improvisation. As I tour around the country, I will have local artists join me on stage to do the improvisation in their own style and language. These performances will be video recorded, spliced together into a 10 minutes collage and inserted in the appropriate spot in the piece for the DVD. This is my quest to collect the united US American musical voice.”
Praised for his “impeccable musicianship, exhilarating technique, and panache” (American Record Guide), pianist Alan Huckleberry is recognized as a multi-faceted artist on the classical music scene. He has performed in recitals as a soloist and chamber musician in Europe, Australia, Central America, the United States and South America. His 10th compact disc recording was released in 2018 on the MSR label. Other labels include Crystal Records, Albany Records, and Summit Records. He is currently undertaking a 7-CD set of the complete sonatas with piano by Paul Hindemith.
In addition to his performing career, Dr. Huckleberry is equally passionate about his role as an educator. He is currently professor of piano pedagogy and collaborative arts at The University of Iowa. Under his directorship, the piano pedagogy program has become recognized as one of the leading programs in the nation. He is sought-after speaker on pedagogical topics, including talks at the World Piano Pedagogy Conference, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and the Music Teachers National Conference. At The University of Iowa, he also maintains a studio of national and international students, who themselves are leaving their mark in their field.
A native of Indiana, Huckleberry began serious studies at the piano in Germany with Polish pianist Barbara Szczepanska. Further studies at the conservatories of Karlsruhe and Cologne with Japanese pedagogue Naoyuki Taneda and German pianist Josef A. Scherrer solidified a diverse and international musical background. He then returned to the United States to complete his studies with Arthur Greene at the University of Michigan.
Huckleberry’s repertoire not only includes the standard works of the piano literature, but he is an ardent supporter of new music and young composers, as seen by a long list of compositions which were written for him. Among the many 20th and 21st century styles he enjoys, he is particularly interested in contemporary rags and other crossover genres. Recently, he and pianist Jason Sifford have undertaken the monumental project of video recording the complete standard repertoire for beginner through intermediate piano students and making them available on their YouTube channel UIPianoPed.
Tickets: $14 / $10 (UHM music majors free)
Music students: This concert is eligible for Mus 199 concert attendance credit.