MISSOULA – When University of Montana piano professors Steven Hesla and Christopher Hahn heard pianist Spencer Myer play the headliner recital for the Montana State Music Teachers Association’s state conference in November 2012, they knew they were hearing one of the nation’s top young musical artists.
“It was one of those ‘pin drop’ musical experiences,” Hesla said. “We simply knew we had to have him play
for our Missoula audiences.”
On Sunday, Feb. 9, Myer will perform during UM’s Celebrate Piano Series IV. The performance begins at 3 p.m. in the UM Music Recital Hall and tickets cost $20 for general public, $15 for seniors and $10 students. Proceeds will help support the Keyboard Benefit Fund, which allows students to travel, compete, earn scholarships and allow the School of Music to maintain and improve keyboard inventory. Tickets can be purchased online at http://umt.edu/music/pianoseries, at the UMArts Box Office in the Performing Arts and Radio/TV Center or by calling 406-243-4581. A master class will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, in the Music Recital Hall. It is free and open to the public.
Hailed as “one of the most important American artists of his generation,” Myer graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Juilliard School. He has been victorious at many important international piano competitions, taking first place in the 10th UNISA International Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa, in 2004. That same year, Myer became a laureate of the Montreal International Piano Competition, and further distinguished himself at the prestigious Busoni, Cleveland and William Kapell international piano competitions in 2005 and 2007. He nailed the gold medal at the New Orleans International Piano Competition in 2008.
“These international piano competitions, renowned for their formidable requirements and world-class standards, are undertaken by few, and won by even fewer,” Hahn said.
Myer’s friendly and engaging personality further endears him to musical audiences. “There is something magical that happens when performers and audiences merge,” Hahn said, “And this is certainly the case when Spencer Myer takes command of both the music and the instrument.”
Myer’s recital at UM’s School of Music will feature three sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti; Franz Schubert’s noble “Sonata in A Major, D. 959;” Claude Debussy’s colorful “Images from Book II;” Aaron Copland’s “Piano Variations;” and three pieces from William Bolcom’s cheeky ragtime suite, “Garden of Eden.”
The recital will pair world-class playing with the finest of compositions, and Myer will play the identical program as the headliner recital at the National Conference of the 2014 Music Teachers National Association in Chicago this March. For more information on Myer, visit http://www.spencermyer.com/.
It is fitting that an outstanding artist like Myer should take the stage at UM. The Keyboard Division of the School of Music has a long history of excellence, punctuated by increasing acclaim in recent years. UM’s popular “Pianissimo” concert was invited to perform in the Old Supreme Court Chamber in Helena in February 2013. UM’s Keyboard Society, an official student affiliate chapter of the MTNA, is comprised of more than 30 students majoring or minoring in piano. The MTNA Collegiate Chapter of the Year was awarded to UM’s Keyboard Society at the National Conference in Albuquerque, N.M., in 2010. In 2013, “Pianissimo VI” was featured at the Steinway Gallery in Spokane, Wash.
To learn more about the Celebrate Piano Series, call Hesla at 406-243-6055 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo cutline: Spencer Myer