Contact: Dr. Gale Odom, Dean, Hurley School of Music, 318-869-5235, or
Lynn Stewart, Centenary News Service, 318-869-5120

Monster Concert Oct. 28 and 29 to
Feature 8 Pianists, 8 Grand Pianos at Once

SHREVEPORT, LA -- Eight pianists and eight grand pianos will be on the stage of the Hurley Auditorium at once on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. in a concert of music especially arranged for eight pianos.
The concert is part of this fall’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Shreveport Symphony Nena Wideman Piano Competition.  Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students.  They are on sale at the music office of the Hurley School of Music at 318-869-5235. 

The program will contain a variety of music designed to fully the exploit the colors and possibilities of eight grand pianos on the stage.  From the opening dramatic opening of Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns through Percy Grainger’s tranquil Country Gardens and the finale The Carnival of the Animals, the eight pianos will interact in many combinations which would be impossible without such a great number of instruments on the stage. Music Dean Gale Odom reports that the difficult synchronization will require hours of prior rehearsal to perfect.

Steinway Hall of Dallas is providing all of the grand pianos for the "Monster Concert," which will also feature the public debut of Centenary College’s own new Steinway Concert Grand piano. 

The fundraiser to buy this piano, called “88 Keys,” is currently running at the Hurley School of Music.  Donors can buy a key on the new piano for $1,000 each.

Six of the pianists in the concert are former winners of the Wideman competition. 

  • Yi Fan Liu is a native of China who graduated from both the Mannes College of Music and the University of North Texas, where he studied with Joseph Banowitz.  A past winner of the Nena Wideman Competition, he won the 10th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1980, as well as the First Chinese National Piano Competition in Beijing.  Yi Fan Liu was featured in the Shreveport Symphony’s Sept. 9, 2000 concert.
  • American pianist William Bloomquist has performed in many of the nation’s major concert halls, including the Kennedy Center, Boston’s Jordan Hall and Merkin Hall in New York City.  He has won first prize in competitions sponsored by the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. and the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra.  Now teaching privately in Sandy Spring, Maryland and working as Minister of Music at Riva Trace Baptist Church in Annapolis, Md., Bloomquist is one of two competition accompanists for current Nena Wideman competitions.
  • Professor of Piano at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, Elizabeth Pridonoff has appeared with orchestras and on recital series throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia.  She has performed and taught at the major conservatories in China, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Taiwan.  A graduate of the Juilliard School, she holds master's degrees in both piano and voice, studying piano with Sasha Gorodnitsky and Adele Marcus, and voice with Hans Heinz and Anna Kaskas.  Her students have been first-prize winners in competitions such as the Horowitz, Missouri Southern, American Pianists Association Biennial Fellowship Auditions, Shreveport Wideman, and Midland-Odessa.
  • Originally from Baton Rouge, Domonique Launey has performed throughout the Southwest United States and in Europe.  Performances with orchestras include the San Antonio Symphony, Shreveport Symphony, Oklahoma Symphony, University of Texas at Austin Symphony, as well as L’Orchestre de Chapelle Minimes in Brussels, Belgium.  In Brussels, she was awarded the Gold Medal at L’Academie de Musique.  Besides winning the Wideman Competition, she won the University of Texas Symphony Concerto Competition and competed in the preliminaries of the Van Cliburn Piano Competition.  A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, she studied with David Renner and Nancy Garrett. 
  •  Jon Hynes is a native of Arkansas who has performed around the world, from the Baccarelli Auditorium in Sao Paulo, Brazil to London’s St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the International Musicora Festival in Paris and the Gnessin School of Music in Moscow.  He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Vitaly Margulis and Natalya Antonova.  While at Eastman, he won the Eastman Concerto Competition and was the recipient of the Max Landow Memorial Scholarship for outstanding achievement in the doctoral program.
  • Catharine Lysinger recently completed her DMA in piano performance at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, studying with Nancy Weems and Horacio Gutiérrez.  She has performed with such groups as the Filarmónico de Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico and the Houston Civic Symphony.  Among her numerous awards and honors are first prize in the Nena Wideman Competition and the 1995 National First Prize in the Music Teachers National Association.  She is founder and director of the Moores School of Music’s Preparatory and Continuing Studies program.
  • Pianist Gay Grosz is a former student of Nena Wideman.  She was herself a finalist in the competition, and is now one of two competition accompanists for the Wideman.  A graduate of Centenary College and Louisiana State University, where she studied with Constance Knox Carroll, she is on the faculty of Centenary’s Hurley School of Music.  She recently received the Ronald Brothers Outstanding Accompanist award for the Southern Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.  Grosz is coach/accompanist for the Shreveport Opera and Longview Opera companies.  She has performed with the Marshall Symphony Orchestra, Shreveport Symphony, Baroque Artists of Shreveport, New Friends Chamber Players, and the Evangeline Trio.
  • Richard Cass has been a frequent judge of the Nena Wideman Piano Competition.  A graduate of Furman University, he studied in Paris at the Ecole Normale de Musique and privately with Nadia Boulanger and Jules Gentil.  After winning the Young Artist Auditions of the National Federation of Music Clubs, he launched his concert career with Columbia Artist Management.  He is now Distinguished Teaching Professor of Music of the University of Missouri.
Four conductors will take the podium to lead the eight pianists in the Monster Concert.  
  • Francisco Orozco is conductor of the Guadalajara Symphony Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the Filarmónico de Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico.  He studied both at the University of Guadalajara and the Musikhochschule in Munich.  Now very active in conducting operas as well as symphonic works, he is the founder of a new youth orchestra at the University of Guadalajara, where he is professor of music.
  • Philip Pletcher directs the St. Cecilia Music Society in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he founded the eight-piano concert concept at their concert series.  A graduate of Michigan State University, he studied piano there with Ralph Votapek.  A multi-faceted musician, Philip accompanies, teaches, and hosts a weekly radio show “Guest Conductor” on WFGR 98.7 FM.
  • James Setapen has been conductor of the Amarillo Symphony since 1988.  He has conducted many orchestras throughout this country and abroad, including those of Baltimore, Indianapolis, Denver, Honolulu, Orlando, and Tulsa, as well as the Bochum and Hagen Philharmonics (Germany) and the Florence Sinfonietta.  Also maintaining an active career as an opera conductor, he has led the Birmingham Civic Opera, the Cleveland Opera Theater, the Des Moines Metro Opera, the Mississippi and the Amarillo Operas.  Former associate conductor of the Denver Symphony and the Omaha Symphony, Setapen won first prize in the Oakland Symphony’s American Conductors Competition.  A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music, he served this summer on the faculty of the Conductors' Institute at Bard College in New York.
  • Well-known and beloved by Shreveport audiences, John Shenaut is conductor emeritus of the Shreveport Symphony.  He studied in the U.S. with Pierre Monteux and Rudolph Ganz, and abroad with Rafael Kubelik in Lucerne, Nadia Boulanger and Eugene Bigot in Paris, Bernard Paumgartner at Salzburg’s Mozarteum, Sergiu Celibidache in Prague, and Herbert Ahlendorf at the Academy of Music in Berlin.  He has been guest conductor with numerous orchestras, both in the United States, Mexico and in Europe.  In his three decades with the Shreveport Symphony, Shenaut also conducted 200 performances of operas, including the first U.S. performances of Donizetti’s Tudor Trilogy (Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereaux) all as a dramatic unity in festival context.
Lester Senter Wilson, executive director of the Shreveport Symphony Nena Wideman Piano Competition, will narrate The Carnival of the Animals.  She has sung with opera companies and symphonies across the nation in Dallas, New Orleans, Orlando, Knoxville, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Cedar Rapids, Amarillo, Denver and Shreveport. 

She has participated in music festivals with the Des Moines Metro Opera, Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C., and the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, N.Y.  She has appeared on television in two specials:  Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Carlisle Floyd’s Flower and Hawk.  She has just completed an appearance with the Mobile Opera in Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land. 

For further information about the Monster Concert, contact Dr. Gale Odom, dean of the Hurley School of Music at Centenary, at 318-869-5235.

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