Three years ago, composer George Tsontakis launched an improbable series of piano recitals at his hometown library, the Olive Free Library in West Shokan. With its own community room for performances and a Steinway grand piano, the Olive Library has been home to numerous classical programs over the past decade. Now, on March at 4 p.m., Piano Plus! begins its fourth season at the Olive Library. With his connections as distinguished composer-in-residence at Bard College and throughout the music world, Tsontakis has brought in a succession of impressive pianists that has drawn increasing, enthusiastic audiences.
Pianist Manon Hutton-DeWys, born in the Hudson Valley, has an impressive résumé of performances including both Weill and Zankel Halls at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Steinway Hall. She didn’t decide to become a professional musician until she was in her mid-teens, when she began serious study with Germán Diez at the Greenwich House Music School, where she later taught. She later earned degrees at Bard and at the Mannes College of Music. Now she teaches at Lehman College while working on a doctorate and her first CD. Her performance will include Brahms’ Four Ballades, Op. 10, and Beethoven’s Third Cello Sonata with “plus” artist Paul Wolfram.
The series continues on April 1 with two pianists from the Bard Conservatory Collaborative Pianists program. Wei Zhou will play Beethoven’s daunting Hammerklavier Sonata. Tomoki Park will play Janácek’s beautiful and mysterious In the Mist. On May 13, Inesa Sinkevych returns to the Hudson Valley with an impressively demanding and varied program: Scriabin’s Twenty-Four Preludes, Op. 11; Debussy’s Images, Book One; and Schumann’s Humoreske, Op. 20. Sinkevych, a Ukrainian-Israeli-American musician, teaches at the Manhattan School of Music while performing with such major orchestras as the Israel Philharmonic and the Minnesota Orchestra. Her two concerts for Saugerties Pro Music revealed her as a major artist with an uncommon sense of color.