Akina Yura - March 25

individual with long black hair standing in front of bamboo plants

Department Performance - Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 7pm

The guest pianist returns for a recital featuring longtime favorite and rarely heard works.

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  • Advance tickets: $5 general public / $3 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff
  • Day of show tickets: $10 general public / $8 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff
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The Music Program of the University at Albany’s Department of Music and Theatre is pleased to present guest pianist Akina Yura on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 7pm at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center on the uptown University at Albany campus located at 1400 Washington Avenue. The concert will feature Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28, “Pastorale;” Chopin’s four Ballades and two movements from “Hashi [Bridge]” by Somei Satoh.  

Among Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas, No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 is known for its intricacy and beauty. Composed in 1801 when the composer’s hearing was already deteriorating, the work has a serene, peaceful and folklike character. It was nicknamed by the publisher and remains known as the “Pastoral” sonata. Written in four movements, the use of form in this sonata is traditional, however, the musical materials in each movement are unique.

Chopin composed his four ballades between 1831 and 1842 after he left his homeland of Poland. All four are large-scale, individual works, and although each ballade stands on its own, they feature some commonalities: contrasting poetic and dramatic subjects that are developed with daring modulations and variations. Each ballade features classical forms such as sonata, variation and rondo, but in flexible ways. Thought to be inspired by the Ballades of the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz, Chopin established ballades as a character piece genre. Each of his stands on its own as a masterful musical narrative and they remain to be among the most profound compositions of the Romantic era.

Somei Satoh, like many well-known Japanese composers outside Japan today, has reshaped his native heritage through synthesis with Western art music. Deeply influenced by Shintoism, the writings of Zen Buddhism and multimedia art forms of the 1960s, his music reflects minimalism which is an Eastern-derived Western phenomenon born of the sixties. The two movements from “Hashi [Bridge]” reflect two aspects of Satoh’s distinct writing style. The first movement has many prolonged single sounds which create and express the intended soundscape. The other movement is written with the repetitive motions of defined musical patterns, creating sonorities of vibrations and the sensation of being caught in suspended time.  

Yura has been heard throughout the United States, Europe and her native Japan. Passionate in exploring a wide range of repertoire, she continues to present a variety of well-known, new and underrepresented music. This concert marks the fourth time she has been presented by UAlbany’s Department of Music and Theatre. Yura holds piano performance degrees from the University of Maryland (B.M.), Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (M.M.) and the University of Miami Frost School of Music (D.M.A.). Her previous teachers include Santiago Rodriguez, Edward Auer, Shigeo Neriki, Mikhail Volchok and Nathan Buckner. Yura moved to the Capital Region in the summer of 2017. She currently serves on the piano faculty at The College of Saint Rose, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and SUNY Schenectady. She is also a co-founder of, co-director of and frequent performer with Kaleidoscope MusArt, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Miami and dedicated to the promotion of newly composed and rarely heard works alongside standard masterworks of the classical canon.