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A Modernist Romantic Vision: Elliott Carter's Night Fantasies: A Lecture-Recital by Mari Asakawa (pianist) & John Link (theorist)

Event Details
  • Location:
    Eastman East Wing Hatch Recital Hall
  • Date:
    Friday, September 13, 2019
  • Time:
    3:30 PM to 5:00 PM
Event Description

A Modernist Romantic Vision: Elliott Carter's Night Fantasies

A Lecture-Recital by Mari Asakawa & John Link

Elliott Carter's Night Fantasies occupies a special place in the oeuvre of one of the most influential composers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. On the threshold of Carters late style, the piece marks the culmination of harmonic and rhythmic techniques Carter had been developing since the late 1950s. At the same time, it heralds an interest in Nineteenth-century Romanticism that began to occupy artists of all kinds in the early 1980s. In this engaging program, John Link and Mari Asakawa explore the Romantic influences that inspired Night Fantasies, the intricacies of the piece's harmonic and rhythmic language, and the issues of performance practice raised by Carter's remarkable composition. The emphasis throughout is on connecting Carter's aesthetic principles and organizational techniques with the listener's direct experience of the music through Ms. Asakawa's performances of illustrative examples during the lecture, and of the complete Night Fantasies as the second half of the program. 

For composers and theorists, this presentation will be of great interest in elucidating Carter's compositional techniques. For performers, it addresses numerous issues of contemporary performance practice - broadly applicable to a variety of contemporary repertoires - including metrical emphasis and phrasing when the salience of the notated meter is uncertain. For musicologists, the program offers an enlightening perspective on Carter's historical development, and on the rapidly changing aesthetics of the last decades of the twentieth century. And for music lovers of all kinds, the program is an opportunity to hear a rare live performance of a piece that the great pianist and critic Charles Rosen called "the most extraordinary large keyboard work written since the death of Ravel."


Pianist Mari Asakawa has established herself internationally in many notable performances, with a concentration on contemporary music. Her recording The Flow of Music: Piano Works of Carter & Babbitt was recently released on the Centaur label. Her recent activities have included lectures, workshops and recitals focusing on the music of the great American composer, Elliott Carter. In 2012, she gave all-Carter piano recitals at Carnegie Hall, and SUNY Purchase in the presence of the late composer. Currently, she teaches piano performance at the Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music and conducts lectures on contemporary piano music at the Open University in Tokyo. She holds a Bachelor's degree from the Juilliard School, a Master of Music degree from Yale University, and a Diploma cum Laude from Accademia Musicale Pescarese. 

Composer and scholar John Link's music has been performed throughout the United States and in Europe and Japan and is recorded on the New Focus Recordings, Bridge Records, and 60x60 labels. He is the author of Elliott Carter: A Guide to Research (Garland, 2000), co-editor with Nicholas Hopkins of Elliott Carter's Harmony Book (Carl Fischer, 2002), co-editor with Marguerite Boland of Elliott Carter Studies (Cambridge University Press, 2012), and his book Elliott Carter's Late Music is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. His writings on music have appeared in journals in the United States, Italy, Slovenia, and the U.K. including Tempo, Sonus, the Journal of the Society for American Music, The Chicago Review, and Music and Letters.

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