poster for The Orchestral Piano


The Music Program of the University at Albany’s Department of Music and Theatre is pleased to present three distinct piano recitals in the month of September.  Duncan Cumming and Melinda Cestaro present The Orchestral Piano on September 12 at 8pm; Max Lifchitz performs Tangos & More on September 17 at 7pm and Victoria von Arx takes the stage on September 22 at 7pm.  All three concerts will take place at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center on the uptown campus.

September 12
For almost as long as there have been original works for the piano, there have been transcriptions for the piano. Faculty member Duncan Cumming and UAlbany alum Melinda Cestaro honor this tradition with music for two pianos that was originally composed for other instruments as well as works that were originally for one or two pianos and then transcribed for orchestra and other instruments.  Compositions featured will be by Bach, Brahms, Dvořák, Strauss, Scott Joplin and Robert Burns.

As a soloist, Melinda Cestaro has participated in summer music festivals including the Atlantic Music Festival in Maine and the University of Florida International Piano Festival. She currently works as a music director and organist for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, and has also taught privately in Albany and Westchester as well as Gainesville, FL for many years.

Duncan J. Cumming has performed concertos, recitals and chamber music concerts in Boston, New York, Princeton, Washington DC, Chicago, St. Paul, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Canada, Scotland, England, France, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Russia, and Malawi among other places.  He is the pianist of the Capital Trio, ensemble-in-residence at the University at Albany.

September 17
Marking the commencement of Hispanic Heritage Month, Max Lifchitz’s program will feature music inspired by dance rhythms including works by Astor Piazzolla and Alberto Ginastera (from Argentina); Ernesto Nazareth, Gilberto Mendes and Heitor Villa-Lobos (from Brazil); Manuel Saumell (from Cuba); Raymond Torres-Santos (from Puerto Rico); Teresa Carreňo (from Venezuela); and Louis Moreau Gottschalk (from the US).

Active as pianist and composer, Lifchitz has appeared as soloist with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Clifton Park Chamber Orchestra, México’s National Symphony Orchestra and Neuchatel Orchestra in Switzerland.  A graduate of The Juilliard School and Harvard University, Lifchitz’s concert appearances throughout Latin America have been underwritten by the Fund for US Artists at International Festivals.

September 22
The recital by Victoria von Arx will include Beethoven's masterpiece Sonata in f minor Op. 57 "Appassionata," Un sospiro, Sonetto 104 and Die junge Nonne by Liszt, and a large-scale composition by UAlbany faculty member Albin Zak entitled Three Fantasies for Piano Solo.

A member of the music faculty at UAlbany where she teaches music history, music theory, piano, von Arx also directs chamber music ensembles. She is an active performer of solo and chamber music. Her 2014 book, Piano Lessons With Claudio Arrau, a study of the piano technique and philosophy of the great Chilean master, is available from Oxford University Press.

Advance tickets for each concert are $5 for the general public and $3 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  Tickets purchased on the day of the show are $10 for the general public and $5 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  For reservations and further information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997