Music Matters: Homage to Bach Piano Duos at La Grua Center

Music Matters YouTube: Homage to Bach
Saturday, July 31 at 5pm

Jiayan Sun & Judith Gordon
piano four-hands and two pianos

J. S. Bach  Concerto in C for two solo keyboards, BWV 1061
Bach-Kurtág  Six chorale transcriptions
       for piano duet & piano duo
Ferruccio Busoni Fantasia contrappuntistica, for two pianos

Our end-of-July duo recital by Smith College pianists Jiayan Sun and Judith Gordon will be this year's first (of three!) concerts with both of La Grua's exceptional grands. Judith and Jiayan will be playing four-hands on either instrument and duo on both. The gloriously evocative common thread of Johann Sebastian Bach – as composer, as brilliantly transcribed, and as honored in a titanic, compelling two-piano fantasy – unites the afternoon in rare focus and uncommon beauty.

Sun and Gordon play with deep lyricism and remarkable understanding of these extraordinary scores. The fabled La Grua acoustic will do its part, as well. At long last, we'll hear the 1886 Chickering concert grand – fully restored after four years of careful research and attentive voicing – and the 1930 Mason & Hamlin – with new hammers in M&H's lyrical original style – sounding forth together.

Tickets $20. Visit to purchase. 
Please note: you must register in advance; no walk-ins or ticket sales at the door. Registration ends approximately one hour prior to the start of the event. 

Praised for his “revelatory” (New York Times) and “technically flawless, poetically inspired and immensely assured playing” (Toronto Star), pianist Jiayan Sun performs extensively in North America, Europe and Asia. He has performed frequently with The Cleveland Orchestra, The Hallé, Chinese and RTÉ (Ireland) National Symphony orchestras, Fort Worth and Toledo Symphony orchestras, Toronto and Aspen Concert orchestras and the Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra, among others, and he has conducted Meininger Hofkapelle from the keyboard. He has collaborated with prominent conductors such as Sir Mark Elder, Michail Jurowski, Stefan Sanderling, Leon Fleisher, David Hayes, Thomas Crawford, Daejin Kim, Kerry Stratton and Xincao Li. He has performed concerts at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Severance Hall in Cleveland, Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, National Concert Hall in Dublin, Leeds Town Hall, Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall in Toronto, Beijing Concert Hall and Taipei National Concert Hall, among many others. His performances have been broadcast on BBC, RTÉ, China Central Television and classical music radio stations in North America.

Sun has been awarded many major prizes in international piano competitions, including the third prize in Leeds International Piano Competition, the second prize in Dublin International Piano Competition, the fourth and audience prize in Cleveland International Piano Competition, the first prize in the inaugural CCC Toronto International Piano Competition, among others. He was named a Sylff Fellow by The Tokyo Foundation. Under the mentorship of Sir András Schiff, he has been invited to give multiple recitals in Europe as part of Schiff’s “Building Bridges” project in the 2017–2018 season.

Playing early keyboard instruments and studies on historical performance practice play a significant role in Sun's musical activities. Important engagements include critically acclaimed appearances with the American Classical Orchestra and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and recitals at the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies at Cornell University and at Juilliard. In 2014, Sun performed a series of recitals commemorating the tricentennial of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's birth on clavichord, harpsichord and fortepiano. He has studied harpsichord with Lionel Party and fortepiano with Malcolm Bilson and Audrey Axinn.

Born in Yantai, Shandong Province, China, in 1990, Sun studied in the Central Conservatory in Beijing with Jin Zhang before moving to the United States in 2006 to study at The Juilliard School Pre-college Division with Victoria Mushkatkol, and he graduated with the achievement award in 2008. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Juilliard in 2012 and 2014, respectively. He continues his studies at Juilliard as a doctoral candidate under the tutelage of Yoheved Kaplinsky and Stephen Hough, with additional studies with Richard Goode and Robert Levin. He performs frequently at Juilliard and has participated in the annual ChamberFest and Focus! Festival. He has performed and participated in Verbier Festival, Gstaad Menuhin Festival, Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Aspen Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival and PianoTexas. His devotion to the art of composition led him to study with the composer Philip Lasser, and his works have been performed in concerts at Juilliard.

Judith Gordon gave her debut recital in New York, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in 1990. She has performed concertos by Mozart, Saint-Saëns, and Ravel with the Boston Pops Orchestra, and works by Bach, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Hindemith, Berg, and Boulez with such ensembles as the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra. She has worked with a wide range of living composers, among them Martin Brody, Peter Child, Alan Fletcher, John Harbison, Lee Hyla, Peter Lieberson, and Donald Wheelock, almost all of whom have written works specifically for her. In 1997 she was selected by the Boston Globe as “Musician of the Year.” Judith has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Music at Smith College since 2006.