Eight hands, one voice offer winter evening of music
Program includes music of African American composer William Grant Still
Four pianists plus one singer will add up to an uncommon evening of music on Saturday, Jan. 24, with performances of works ranging from Brahms and Debussy to Gershwin and the little-known African American composer William Grant Still.
The concert, programmed by Menlo Park pianist Josephine Gandolfi, will begin at 8 p.m. in the Palo Alto Art Center auditorium.
The four pianists are Ms. Gandolfi, a longtime performer and teacher; LaDoris Cordell, special counsel to the president of Stanford University and a former Palo Alto city councilwoman; Deanne Tucker, who is also a singer and percussionist; and Jefferson Williams, who performs as a soloist and accompanist, and teaches in Palo Alto.
Soprano Yolanda Rhodes will add her "tremendously beautiful voice and range of expression" to the concert, the first in the Palo Alto Performances winter series, according to Ms. Gandolfi.
Ms. Rhodes performs as a soloist in a wide range of song and operatic repertoire, and as a singer, dancer and storyteller of African tales.
The program will include Brahms' Sonata in F minor and Debussy's Petite Suite, both for duo piano; and Gershwin's Three Preludes for solo piano, transcribed for four hands.
Music by William Grant Still will include solo piano works, and music for voice: two settings of spirituals and an artsong composed to a text by the composer's wife, concert pianist Verna Arvey.
Ms. Gandolfi describes Still's compositions for the piano as "works of exceptional beauty and originality." She and her musical colleagues have been exploring his music "with great excitement" over the past two years, she says.
Born in 1895, Still was a classically trained musician whose career included performing, conducting and arranging, including jazz and film score arrangements.
He wrote more than 150 compositions, including symphonies, ballets, operas, chamber music and vocal works. Perhaps his best-known composition is Symphony No. 1, the "Afro-American" symphony. He died in 1978.
Tickets to the concert, available at the door, are $14, general; and $12, students and seniors.
The Palo Alto Art Center is at 1313 Newell Road, at Embarcadero, in Palo Alto. For more information, call 463-4940.