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Exploring an Iconic Work

Barry Snyder

Barry Snyder

Internationally acclaimed pianist to serve Arts Award residency

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

Dickinson welcomes an internationally acclaimed pianist to campus this week to serve a multifaceted residency centered on a 1939 work that captured the jittery anticipation of war. As recipient of the 2016 Arts Award, celebrated pianist Barry Snyder will perform a concert of Sergei Prokofiev’s War Sonatas (piano sonatas 6, 7, 8), which capture the mood in Russia and Europe at the start of World War II. Snyder’s residency also will include a performance by the Dickinson College Choir, Collegium and Orchestra; public lectures and discussions; a master class, classroom visits and small-group meetings with students and faculty.

Snyder is a pianist and professor of piano who has taught at his alma mater, Eastman School of Music, since 1970. He burst onto the international music scene in 1966, when he seized three major prizes at the Van Cliburn International Competition (silver medal, Pan American Union award and chamber music prize). In the five decades since, he's presented concerts around the world, both as soloist and as member of the Eastman Trio (1976-82) and Meadowmount Trio (1989-90) He has soloed with the Detroit, Houston, Atlanta, National, Montreal, Singapore, Krakow Radio/TV, Nagoya and Japan Philharmonic orchestras, and he has performed in festivals in Seattle, Aspen, Schwetzingen (Germany), Takefu (Japan), Vienna, Bechyne (Czech Republic), and Shenyang (China). His world premieres include works by Sydney Hodkinson, Verne Reynolds, Toshio Hosokawa, David Liptak, Carter Pann, Alec Wilder and John LaMontaine.

In addition to the Van Cliburn prizes, Snyder is the 1987 Mu Phi Epsilon Musician of the Year and recipient of the Diapason d'Or for recordings of the complete cello and piano works by Gabriel Fauré with Steven Doane. He also is a noted educator, having given master classes in Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, China, Australia, Europe, Poland, Russia and South America. Listed in the book The Most Wanted Piano Teachers in the United States, he received Eastman's Edward Peck Curtis Award for Teaching Excellence in 1975.

Snyder will accept the Arts Award during a Nov. 12 ceremony and will perform the Arts Award recital on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m.; he also will perform an open master class and meet with students in and out of the classroom. The Dickinson College Choir and Orchestra also will perform works by Prokofiev during a Friday evening concert at 7 p.m. Joining Snyder on campus are Simon Morrison, a music historian specializing in 20th-century Russian and Soviet music, and Rupert Holmes, a professor of philosophy at the University of Rochester and expert on issues of peace and nonviolence. Morrison and Snyder will co-present a lecture and concert on the War Sonatas, while Holmes will speak to philosophy students about the issue of nonviolence on Thursday, Nov. 10. Dickinson also will present a discussion on the role of the arts in a liberal-arts education.

The schedule of public events is below:

Friday, Nov. 11

Dickinson College Choir/Orchestra concert: Alexander Nevsky / Suite from Lieutenant Kijé – Prokofiev
First Lutheran Church, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 12

Open Master Class with Barry Snyder
Rubendall Recital Hall, 2 - 3:30 p.m.

Presentation of Arts Award and Open Forum
Rubendall Recital Hall, 7 p.m.

Following the official presentation of the Arts Award to Barry Snyder by interim President Neil Weissman, an expert in Russian and Soviet history, Dickinson will host an open-forum discussion on the importance of recognizing the qualities we most value in a liberal-arts community—fine character and good citizenship—as exemplified in one of our leading piano teachers in the nation. Forum participants include: Neil Weissman; Barry Snyder; Simon Morrison; Robert Holmes;  Phil Grier, professor emeritus (philosophy); and Blanka Bednarz, associate professor of music. It will be moderated by music professors Robert Pound and Jennifer Blyth.

Sunday, Nov. 13

Lecture and Performance of Prokofiev’s War Sonatas
Rubendall Recital Hall, 4 p.m.

Simon Morrison will deliver a brief lecture about the War Sonatas immediately preceding Barry Snyder's performance of the iconic work.

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Published November 9, 2016