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Wassermann Features American Pianist Spencer Myer

Spencer Meyer

Pianist Spencer Myer appears in Logan as part of USU’s Wassermann Concert Series. His solo concert is Thursday, Jan. 28, 7:30 p.m., Caine Performance Hall, USU Logan campus. (Photo by Roberto Araujo)

LOGAN — American pianist Spencer Myer, a longtime friend of Utah State University’s Wassermann Festival, returns to Logan for a concert Jan. 28. The solo concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in USU’s Caine Performance Hall on the Logan campus.

Tickets are available through the Caine College of the Arts Box Office, Room L101 in the Chase Fine Arts Center or online via a link on the Wassermann website (http://www.usu.edu/wassermann/). Reserved seat tickets are $24 for adults, $20 for USU faculty and staff and students ages 8 and older can purchase a $12 ticket.

This year’s Wassermann Concert Series features a range of artists and instruments. The opening concerts had the harpsichord and jazz organ in the spotlight. Myer is the first to offer a solo piano concert.

“Spencer Myer is making his third appearance with us at the Wassermann and he has been a favorite with audiences,” said Dennis Hirst, Wassermann Concert Series director. “He first performed here in 2006 and again in 2009. I’m pleased that he is returning again.”

Hirst first heard Myer at the Cleveland International Piano Competition. With an agreement to present the winner or top finishers from the competition, Hirst traveled to Cleveland to hear the finalists and to ensure that the featured artist at the Wassermann would be an appropriate choice for its Utah audience.

“I loved hearing him and knew he would be a good fit at our festival,” Hirst said.

Myer’s critical acclaim is impressive. “The Boston Globe” lauded him for “superb playing” and “poised, alert musicianship. London’s “The Independent” labeled him “definitely a man to watch.”

Beyond the press acclaim, Hirst said that Myer truly connects with his audiences. And, he notes, the pianist is among an elite group consistently in the top competition finishers. He took the top prize at the 2003 UNISA International Piano Competition in South Africa, the 2006 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship (with a $50,000 award) from the American Pianists Association and the gold medal from the 2008 New Orleans International Piano Competition.

Hirst said Myer has crafted a wonderful program for his Logan concert. It begins with Mozart’s “Sonata No. 5 in G Major, K. 283,” a work that represents the best of the Viennese classical world. Next is Robert Schumann’s “Fantasie in C. Major, Op. 17,” a work Hirst calls “one of the most intensely romantic works written for the piano.”

Following intermission come two works by Ravel, “Jeux d’eau” and “Sonatine” that provide examples of French impressionism. The concert concludes with “Four Rags” by American composer William Bolcom. The works are an updated, 20th century take on ragtime, and while the composer draws on the ragtime form, he stretches it forward, Hirst said. 

“From the first time I heard Spencer play in Cleveland, I knew he had the ability to ‘connect’ with our audiences at the Wassermann,” Hirst said. “He’s an artist who truly creates an experience with and for the audience.”

Writer: Patrick Williams USU/pw 01/15/16