‘Pianissimo’ brings multi-piano performances to UM stage for 11th year

The University of Montana School of Music will present the 11th annual “Pianissimo!” concerts at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 12-13, in the Music Recital Hall.

“This year, all the big, multiple piano pieces are new to our audiences. Our theme is ‘Pianissimo! Goes to the Orchestra,’” said Christopher Hahn, event organizer and UM faculty member.

The selections in the program are based on music from the orchestral literature and will feature various combinations of instruments and players.

Among the 25 performers are some of Missoula’s most well-known and distinguished pianists, including UM faculty members Hahn and Steven Hesla, as well as Barbara Blegen, Nancy Cooper, community members Dorothy Beck-Peterson, Scott Billadeau, Adam Sears, Paul Nonnenmacher. Many current and former students in the piano program at UM also will perform.

Returning this year is “Poco Pianissimo!” – a smaller version of the big show for younger audience members. This concert will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, in the Music Recital Hall.

“We felt a need to provide a condensed version of the larger program for youth, so we put together a program without an intermission that’s full of high-energy, fun pieces,” Hahn said.

Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.griztix.com, at the UMArts Box Office in the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center or by calling 406-243-4581.

An exciting addition to this year’s “Pianissimo!” concerts is the arrival of a brand new Steinway & Sons concert grand piano. The instrument was donated by Howard and Judith Jelinek and was selected by Hahn and Hesla.

“We are so excited to have this wonderful gift donated to the University of Montana School of Music,” Hahn said. “It will thrill and delight audiences for decades to come.”

“Pianissimo!” is a benefit concert for the UM Keyboard Society, which has won a national recognition award for its activities and programs. Funds raised help piano students attend conferences, fund performance travel, sponsor events and bring in guest artists for the “Celebrate Piano” series. Proceeds also help with maintenance and care for pianos at UM to provide instruments that continue to attract the best students to the University’s music program.