MISSOULA – The University of Montana School of Music will present the seventh annual “Pianissimo!” concerts at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 10-11, in the Music Recital Hall. This high-energy show boasts two different programs, nine pianos and more than 25 pianists.
“Each year I try to make the program bigger and better than the year before,” says UM piano faculty member and “Pianissimo!” organizer Christopher Hahn. “For those who have attended previous events, you’ll know that’s quite a feat.”
According to Hahn, this year will include a wide variety of music and styles, including “Let it Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen,” selections by Lady Gaga and the Piano Guys, classics such as “Islamey” and “Flight of the Bumble Bee,” and masterworks by composers Liszt and Rachmaninoff, to name a few.
The performance will feature some of Missoula’s most well-known and distinguished pianists. Performers will include UM faculty members Hahn and Steven Hesla – who were responsible for the wildly popular downtown yellow piano – Nancy Cooper and Barbara Blegen; community members Dorothy Beck-Peterson, Scott Billadeau, Aneta Panusz, Adrienne Dussault, Molly Morrison, Charlotte Kasl, Heidi Waegele and Paul Nonnenmacher; as well as many current students in the piano program at UM.
Special guests will include Missoula Symphony Chorale Director Dean Peterson and Missoula Mayor John Engen, who will make a cameo appearance in one of the shows. “You’ll just have to come to both to see which one,” quips Hahn.
This year “Pianissimo!” has partnered with local ice cream shop Big Dipper, which will create a specialty flavor in honor of the concert. The ice cream will debut Sept. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m., along with pianists performing on-site.
“It’ll be a vanilla ice cream with brownie bits and a chocolate swirl,” said Bryan Hickey of Big Dipper, “keeping with the ebony and ivory theme.”
“Pianissimo!” is a benefit concert for the UM Keyboard Society, and funds raised will help piano students attend conferences, fund performance travel, sponsor events and bring in guest artists for the “Celebrate Piano” series. Proceeds also will help with maintenance and care for the pianos at UM, providing instruments that will continue to attract the best students to the University’s music program.
For more information on “Pianissimo!” or any of the five concerts in the “Celebrate Piano” series, contact Hahn at UM’s School of Music at 406-243-6490. Season and single tickets can be purchased online at griztix.com, at the UM Arts Box Office or by calling 406-243-4581. Purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended, as shows tend to sell out.