Opening Concert of the Dublin International Piano Festival, presented with Ensemble Music
FREDERIC RZEWSKI (b. 1938)
[new work commissioned] (World Premiere)
The People United Will Never Be Defeated! (1975)
The internationally acclaimed American composer and pianist Frederic Rzewski (pronounced zheff-skee) will perform in ‘Hope & Remembrance,’ the opening concert of the fourth Dublin International Piano Festival & Summer Academy in Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery on Saturday 23rd July. ‘Hope & Remembrance’ will be emotionally charged and is highly anticipated, with a highlight being the world premiere of a reworking of the traditional Irish ballad Foggy Dew, a piece specially commissioned by the festival directors and supported by Arts Council of Ireland funding to commemorate the 1916 Centenary. Foggy Dew was selected, as, according to Festival Director Rhona Gouldson, it ‘conveys the tenacity, unity and determination of the Irish people throughout their fight for independence.’
Along with the commission, Rzewski will perform his world famous The People United Will Never Be Defeated. Based on the Chilean protest song El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido, it was originally written in protest to the repressive regime of General Augusto Pinochet. As a song, it is globally recognised as a symbol of people’s resistance against oppression. Rzewski‘s reworking contains 36 variations, and is renowned for its incredible virtuosity, power and its accurate portrayal of different aspects of a struggle. The performance of the piece lasts 45 minutes, and is interpreted as a sense of new hope.
Currently residing in Belgium, Rzewski has been noted as one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century, whose contributions have shaped American avant-garde music. Following his studies in Princeton and Harvard, Rzewski relocated to Rome where he co-founded music improvisation group Musica Elettronica Viva, an initiative which was to highly influence his career in composition. In 1977, he assumed the post of Professor of Composition at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Liège, Belgium.
‘Frederic Rzewski is the prime example of a living virtuoso pianist-composer much like those in the bygone era of Chopin and Liszt, so to have his participation in the 2016 festival is an enormous privilege.’ says festival Artistic Director Dr. Archie Chen. ‘We are particularly excited to have commissioned his variation on Foggy Dew, which will be the festival’s contribution to the Centenary commemorations. The performance of The People United Will Never Be Defeated is also particularly apt, especially as the Garden of Remembrance is in such close proximity to the performance’s location, reminding audiences of the will and determination of the Irish as they fought for freedom.’