Alcalay teaches and performs in India

February 3, 2015

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Dr. Eugene Alcalay, professor of music at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, recently traveled to India to teach piano master classes and perform recitals at music centers in Delhi, Pune, Goa, Bangalore and Chennai (formerly Madras). From Jan. 6-24, Alcalay provided master classes – one-to-one public lessons with an audience – to 11 students, pre-college to graduate levels, ages 14 to 22.

“During master classes, students in the audience learn a lot from watching and then, hopefully, can apply the concepts and instruction to their own playing,” said Alcalay. “When I was a student, I sometimes learned more by watching someone’s lesson than when I played myself, because I was not nervous. For me, giving master classes is a great educational tool, and it provides me with continued teaching experience, which I can use in my teaching at UW-Platteville.”

In addition to teaching master classes, Alcalay performed recitals in a variety of locations in Delhi, Pune, Goa, Bangalore and Chennai. He performed a keyboard suite by George Frideric Handel; sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert; a transcription of Franz Liszt’s Symphonic Poem “Les Preludes,” done by Liszt’s student August Stradal; as well as a number of encores by Edvard Grieg, Frédéric Chopin and Dmitri Shostakovich.

About 550 people were in attendance at Alcalay’s final concert at the Museum Theatre in Chennai, eliciting two encores.

“I appreciated having the opportunity to experience a totally new, wonderful culture and interact with Indian students and audiences,” said Alcalay. “I was also impressed to see initiatives such as Child’s Play India Foundation, which seeks to introduce Classical Western music to underprivileged children.”

The Indian tour was sponsored by the European Piano Teachers’ Association India Associates, an affiliate of the EPTA, in conjunction with the following organizations: The Delhi Music Society, Delhi; The Poona Music Society, Pune; Pro Musica, Goa, Panjim; Art Chamber at Calangute, Goa; The Bangalore School of Music, Bangalore; and The Chennai Western Music Association, a subsidiary branch of the all-India EPTA India Associates.

Alcalay’s tour was organized by Prabhudhas Ivanson, who is most noted for his pedagogical contribution to the piano through his publications in Piano Journal, Acoustics Letters and Music Teacher of London. He is a noted pianist, teacher and scholar as well as a well-known music critic and national organizer of western music concerts. Ivanson is founder-director of EPTA India Associates and the Chennai Western Music Association. In addition, he is the editor of “The Classical Piano,” an English-language Indian scholarly journal.

“Eugene Alcalay’s ‘Handel Suite in G minor,’ the opening piece, was brilliant, with lively movements 1, 2 and 4, and a lengthy Sarabande played with feeling,” said Ivanson. “The highlight of the concerts was the final piece, Liszt’s ‘Les Preludes, no. 3,’ arr. Stradal, which was absolutely fantastic. As far as his teaching was concerned, he had some useful pointers for the students in the master classes.”

“Alcalay’s playing stood out for the refinement and variety of his tonal palette, the suppleness of his rhythm, the far-reaching structural grasp, the razor-sharp articulation, and the sophistication of his phrasing,” said Dr. Luis Dias, a physician, musician, music journalist, writer and photographer in Goa.

A Steinway Artist, Alcalay’s performance career has taken him to four continents and United States venues such as Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium. Through his American Liszt Society connections, Alcalay has been booked to play a recital at the Liszt Museum and Research Center of the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary, on May 16. He has also been hired as piano faculty at the Crescendo Summer Institute in Sarospatak, Hungary, later in the summer.

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

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