Thursday, September 29, 2011

Students, Including Pianist with International Awards, to Perform for Museum’s September 29 Lunchtime Concert

Here's the release for the concert at the museum today. In case you read it somewhere else, Alina Sarkisyan from Columbus State was going to perform today, and I suspect will be here in the near future. Instead, CSU pianist Tzu-yi Chen will play about half of the concert. Others will be the AU Chamber Choir and AU student pianist Julia Tucker. See you there.

AUBURN, Ala. – On Thursday, September 29, the weekly classical music series at The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art will feature, among others, a student pianist with an international reputation. The Columbus State University student will share the program with an Auburn University pianist and the AU Chamber Choir. During the free, informal concert from 12-1 p.m., listeners can join a seated audience, have lunch at the Museum Café and visit the museum’s fine art exhibitions.

The Columbus State performer is Tzu-yi Chen. The Auburn pianist is Julia Tucker. Sponsoring this student recital are Charles and Melanie Wright.

Pianist Tzu-yi Chen studied piano in Germany and Paris before coming to Columbus State University. She has performed recitals throughout Taiwan and has appeared in radio and television broadcasts in Hong Kong and Germany.

Chen has performed with major orchestras such as the Saint Petersburg Symphony Orchestra and has won awards in several international and national piano competitions. Among those are first prize at the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Piano Competition in 2007 and first prize at the International Piano Competition of Mauro Paolo Monopoli in Italy in 2001.

Chen is currently working on her Artist Diploma at Columbus State University where she studies with Alexander.

The Auburn University Chamber Choir was established in fall 2008 as the school’s premiere choral ensemble. Under the direction of William Powell, the group has represented the university at New York's Carnegie Hall, in northern Italy, and as an invited ensemble for the prestigious Alabama Music Educators Conference.

The 40-plus member group consists of students from throughout the university who represent a variety of majors and disciplines. They perform advanced choral literature including Renaissance madrigals, multi-movement masterworks, spirituals, jazz, and works by current composers.

Pianist Julia Tucker is an Auburn native and a junior majoring in economics and piano performance under the study of Dr. Jeremy Samolesky. She is assistant organist and scholarship singer at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church in Auburn and choir accompanist at Trinity Lutheran Church. She also sings renaissance polyphony.

Called “A Little Lunch Music,” the series started its fall season on September 1 with a solo recital by Dr. Josh Pifer, new piano lecturer with Auburn’s music department. Last week, international concert saxophonist James Houlik performed.

Series coordinator Patrick McCurry says that the combination of fine art, gourmet food and classical music creates a unique atmosphere. “One of our sponsors said it was like stepping into another world of high art and culture,” said McCurry. The music and the fine art are free to experience and lunch is priced reasonably.

Since beginning in 2007, the series has grown in popularity. Performers vary. Soloists and small groups are featured. But even large ensembles like the AU chamber winds, roughly a 30-piece band, have played. Students perform, as do local, regional and even international musicians.

Donors give any amount to support the series, but can also sponsor a single performance. McCurry says that people can give $100 for the Student Recital level and up to $1,000 to sponsor a season’s Key Performance. Other sponsorship levels are Local Color, $250; Woodfield Trio, $500; and Chamber Group, $750. Those interested should call Brett Evans, the museum’s Director of Development, at 334-844-7945.

The Café is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Its menu changes weekly and consists of light, freshly prepared salads, Italian Panini sandwiches and seasonal soups and entrees. Menu prices at the Museum Café range from $5 to $9.

Currently, fine art exhibits at the museum include Chinese ceramics from the Silk Road, the ancient trading route that linked East Asia with Southwest Asia and Europe. Also featured is Alabama pottery from the mid-19th and early 20th centuries. Other exhibits include Haitian art from the late 20th century, prints from John James Audubon, and Beleek porcelain pieces from Northern Ireland.

For more information about “A Little Lunch Music,” contact Patrick McCurry at or go online to for a detailed schedule. For more about the Café or the museum’s fine art exhibitions, contact Colleen Bourdeau at, visit the museum online at or call 844-1484.

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