Chamber Music Series Features Renowned Pianist

Chamber Music Series Features Renowned Pianist


SOCORRO, N.M. – Willy Sucre welcomes special guest pianist Awadagin Pratt for the first Presidential Chamber Music Series concert of 2017 at New Mexico Tech. Willy Sucre and Friends will perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at the Macey Center Auditorium. Admission is free, families are welcome.

Awadagin Pratt will perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58” and Willy and Friends will perform Johannes Brahms’ “Piano Quintet in F minor Op. 34.”

Supported by former president Dr. Daniel H. Lopez for many years, new president Dr. Stephen G. Wells is continuing the tradition of offering these free concerts four times each year.

Hosted by well-known violist Willy Sucre as part of “Willy and Friends” chamber music programs, Sucre and Pratt will be joined by violinists Krzysztof Zimowski and Justin Pollak, and cellist James Holland.

Special Guest Awadagin Pratt


Awadagin Pratt


Among his generation of concert artists, Pratt is acclaimed for his musical insight and intensely involving performances in recital and with symphony orchestras.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pratt entered the University of Illinois when he was 16. He studied piano, violin, and conducting and subsequently enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he became the first student in the school's history to receive diplomas in three performance areas - piano, violin and conducting.

Pratt has been the subject of numerous articles in the national press, including Newsweek and People magazine. On television, Pratt has performed on the Today Show, Good Morning America and Sesame Street. He has performed three times at the White House, at the invitations of Presidents Clinton and Obama.

Pratt is currently Chairman of the Piano Department at the University of Cincinnati. He is also the Artistic Director of the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati and the Art of the Piano Festival at CCM. In recognition of this achievement and for his work in the field of classical music, Pratt recently received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins University.

Brahms’ Piano Quintet

When Brahms ambled into his favorite Viennese café one evening, so the story goes, a friend asked him how he had spent his day. "I was working on my symphony," he said. "In the morning I added an eighth note. In the afternoon I took it out." The anecdote may be apocryphal, but its intent faithfully reflects Brahms' painstaking process of creation, which is seen better, perhaps nowhere, than in his F minor Piano Quintet.

The opening movement, tempestuous and tragic in mood, is in a tightly packed sonata form. The dramatic main theme is stated immediately in unison by violin, cello and piano, and then repeated with greater force by the entire ensemble. The complementary theme, given above an insistently repeated triplet figuration, is more subdued and lyrical in nature than the previous melody. The closing theme achieves a brighter tonality to offer a brief respite from the movement's pervasive strong emotions. The development section treats the main and second themes, and ushers in the recapitulation on a great wave of sound.

In the tender second movement the outer sections of its three-part form are based on a gentle, lyrical strain in sweet, close-interval harmonies, while the movement's central portion uses a melody incorporating an octave-leap motif.

The Scherzo proper contains three motif elements: a rising theme of vague rhythmic identity; a snapping motif in strict, dotted rhythm; and a march-like strain in full chordal harmony. These three components are juxtaposed throughout the movement, with the dotted-rhythm theme being given special prominence, including a vigorous fugal working-out. The central trio grows from a theme that is a lyrical transformation of the Scherzo's march strain.

The Finale opens with a pensive slow introduction fueled by deeply felt chromatic harmonies, exactly the sort of passage that caused Arnold Schoenberg to label Brahms a "modernist." The body of the movement, in fast tempo, is a hybrid of rondo and sonata forms. Despite the buoyant, Gypsy flavor of the movement's thematic material, the tragic tenor of this great Quintet is maintained until its closing page.

Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4

Beethoven composed his Concerto in G major in 1805-06 and performed it in a private concert at Prince Lobkowitz's residence in Vienna before giving the public premiere on December 22, 1808. In addition to the solo piano, the score, dedicated to the Archduke Rudolph, calls for a flute, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani and strings.

This Concerto was an innovative break with traditional concerto format and content. The intimate character that prevails throughout the work makes itself felt in the opening, stated by the piano alone in a mood of serene, contemplative self-confidence. The gesture is just long enough to announce that this is to be a different sort of concerto, with a conspicuously less "public" character than audiences were accustomed to in 1806 -- and from Beethoven's own earlier concertos in particular.

Felix Mendelssohn rescued the G Major Concerto from its undeserved oblivion and established it in its rightful place when he performed it in Leipzig in 1836. The 26-year-old Robert Schumann, who was present, reported being so transfixed by the work that "I sat in my place without moving a muscle or even breathing."

The String Quartet

Willy Sucre

  Willy Sucre

Sucre is a member of the New Mexico Philharmonic and is the driving force behind the "Willy Sucre & Friends" concerts. Born in La Paz, Bolivia, Sucre studied music in Peru; Waterville, Maine; New York; and Baltimore.

Sucre’s vast experience includes extensive chamber music concerts, lectures, school demonstrations, CD recordings, and television performances throughout South, Central, and North America. He spends most of his summers in South America looking for new works of chamber music by modern composers and encouraging composers to write new pieces, especially piano quartets. He enjoys performing with ensembles of diverse instrumentation.



James Holland


James Holland

Cellist James Holland is a native of Pensacola, Florida. He holds degrees in cello performance from the University of Alabama and the Eastman School of Music.

In 1996, Holland was appointed principal cellist of the Charleston (South Carolina) Symphony Orchestra, a position he held until his relocation to Albuquerque in 2007 with his wife, violinist Megan Julyan Holland. He performs frequently with most of New Mexico’s musical organizations. He spends his summers in Breckenridge, Colo., as principal cellist of the Breckenridge Music Festival orchestra, a position he has held since 1998.

He can also be heard performing the music of Duke Ellington with jazz legends Eddie Daniels and Roger Kellaway on the 2013 IPO Recording release, Duke at the Roadhouse: Live in Santa Fe, which was recently named Best Jazz Album of the Year by L’Académie du Jazz in Paris, France.

Krzysztof Zimowski


Krzysztof Zimowski


Violinist Krzysztof Zimowski is currently the concertmaster of the New Mexico Philharmonic and Opera Southwest Orchestra. For more than a decade, he was the concertmaster and featured soloist of the former New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. Born in Wroclaw, Poland, he began his musical studies at the age of six.

In 1977 he received his master's degree with honors from the Academy of Music in Wroclaw. After participating in the 1978 Carl Flesch International Violin Competition, he continued his studies at the Morley College of Music in London. Having been concertmaster of the State Opera Orchestra in Wroclaw, Zimowski joined the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra in 1981.

In 1985 he was appointed concertmaster of that orchestra and toured Europe, South America, and the United States. He moved to New Mexico in 1986 to help form the Helios String Quartet, the ensemble-in-residence of the Placitas Artists Series until 1997. Zimowski lives in Albuquerque with his wife, Urszula, also a musician.

Justin Pollak

  PAS17-justin pollak

Justin Pollak


Violinist Justin Pollak is a native of Santa Fe, currently living in Albuquerque. He first studied violin with Catherine Nichols. As a student at the University of New Mexico, he studied with Leonard Felberg and Bernard Zinck, and he also took lessons from Kimberly Fredenburgh on the viola. Justin

Pollak is currently a violinist with the Santa Fe Symphony and the New Mexico Philharmonic. He also performs with the Figueroa Project, Opera Southwest, Santa Fe Pro Musica, the Pueblo Symphony in Colorado, and occasionally plays music with the Albuquerque Chamber Soloists and Sunday Chatter. When not playing music, he enjoys cooking, running, biking, and hiking.

– NMT –