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World-Renowned Pianist Wows Audience

By Michelle Rubio and Michelle Muñoz
On September 28, 2012

The Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Texas A&M International University welcomed renowned pianist, Dr. Mark Alexander to the stage where a sleek, black, grand Steinway & Sons piano stood in the Recital Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 18. The event was free to the public.

Alexander showcased several pieces by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt. He was invited by Dr. Fritz Gechter, former colleague and Associate Professor of Music at TAMIU. It was Dr. Gechter that introduced his friend to the stage, and Alexander was welcomed with a warm applause from the audience.

As he walked on stage with his crisp suit and emerald green tie, he introduced the pieces he would be playing. Alexander decided to perform these pieces by Franz Liszt in honor of their 100th birthday. Prior to every song, Alexander would explain a bit of history behind the piece. First, he began with a piece entitled Funerailles from Harmonies poetiques et religieuses. Looking almost like a mad scientist, he pressed with meticulous purpose against the black and white keys to achieve the perfect note. Alexander played the low notes powerfully as this particular song was a tale about a funeral march. With an ability to change the ambiance of an entire room with the stroke of a key, Alexander began playing the piece Sonetto 104 del Petrarcawhich touched on the topic of unrequited love. He played one more piece entitled Two Legends before a break for intermission.

After giving his hands a quick fifteen minute rest, he returned to the stage where an even bigger crowd than before waited for the conclusion of a Franz Liszt filled night. After a seemingly tiring first half of a performance, he came back just as strong for the conclusion of his concert. The concluding pieces were titled Three Song Transcriptions, La Campanella,and Rigoletto, respectively. Two Legends I. St. Francis of Assisi's Sermon to the Birds told the story of birds singing. The quick changing of keys back and forth imitated the visual image of a bird's fluttering wings. Two Legends II. St. Francis of Paola Walks on the Walks on the Waters told the story of a priest and his sermon. It is no surprise that with the retraction of his hands back to his lap, after striking the last key of the night, Alexander received a standing ovation at the end of his performance.

Alexander is known throughout the music world for being "technically brilliant" and full of expressive beauty. Originally from Michigan, he received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan before heading to the University of Texas for his Master and Doctoral degrees. He has worked for orchestras throughout the United States, Mexico, and Austria. He serves on the faculty of the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. He currently teaches at San Antonio College and St. Mary's University but stopped by at TAMIU to enlighten the crowd with his superb skill.

To find out more about this master of piano, you can visit www.pianoteachers.com/mark_alexander.htm.


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