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.