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Pianist Ralph Votapek
per­forms Sunday. Pexels

A Michigan pianist with inter­na­tional acclaim will visit campus to perform songs by the great American com­poser George Gershwin, whose pieces he has been cel­e­brated for per­forming with warmth and flair.

Ralph Votapek, a pro­fessor at Michigan State Uni­versity and winner of the first Van Cliburn Inter­na­tional Piano Com­pe­tition, will perform at 3:00 p.m. Sunday in Markel Audi­torium. Admission is free, but tickets are required. 

Music Department Chair James Holleman said Votapek stands out among American piano players, par­tic­u­larly as an inter­preter of Gershwin’s music. 

“Pro­fessor Votapek is con­sidered among the most pres­ti­gious American pianists,” Holleman said. “Along with a vast reper­toire, he is well known for his inter­pre­tation of the piano music of George Gershwin.”

Votapek will perform works by European com­posers Scar­latti, Schubert, Fauré, and Debussy, fol­lowed by selec­tions from “George Gershwin’s Songbook.”

The pianist will also teach a mas­ter­class from 11:30 – 1:00 p.m. on Monday in Conrad Recital Hall. Three piano stu­dents — freshman Anne Ziegler, freshman Michael Erickson, and junior Thomas Ryskamp — will perform. 

Erickson said he con­siders Gershwin to be the greatest American com­poser. Now, the artist who per­forms his work will bring that excel­lence to Hillsdale.

“It’s really cool that he’s sort of a local per­former who is known on an inter­na­tional scale,” Erickson said.