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Sacramento State News - California State University, Sacramento February 6, 2007

Department of Music presents spring Piano Series

Jacques Després
Jacques Després

Three highly acclaimed pianists and a group of talented newcomers will take the stage at Sacramento State for this spring’s Piano Series.

The series begins with the inauguration of the Valencia Young Pianist Competition. Pianists will perform in master classes to be given by Richard Cionco, Natsuki Fukasawa and Kristen Smith on Feb. 18 at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Finalists will give a public performance on Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall. Both the master classes and final round are free and open to the public.
Guest pianist Jacques Després will be performing on Feb. 18, 7:30 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall. Després has dazzled audiences for nearly two decades in his native Canada and the United States with his sensitive yet powerful style and sympathetic interpretations of a broad range of composers. His prestigious awards include: the Frank Kopp Memorial Prize at the University of Maryland International Piano Competition; first prize at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Competition; the Musical Academy of Quebec "prix d' Europe" competition and the doctoral concerto competition at SUNY, Stony Brook. He will be performing works by Kraus, Beethoven and Schumann. Després will also give a free master class on Feb. 19, 2 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall.

Faina Lushtak will be performing works by Mozart, Chopin, Prokofiev, Liszt and Rachmaninoff, as well as some of her own compositions, on March 17, 7:30 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall. Born in the Soviet Union, Lushtak began studying piano and composition at the age of six. She graduated from the Stoliarsky School for Musically Gifted Children in Odessa, Ukraine and later earned degrees in piano performance and composition from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. As a composer, Lushtak has written works for chamber groups, voice and violin, but her main focus has been on music for her first love, the piano. She has performed throughout the United States, Russia, Canada and Western Europe.

On April 21, guest pianist Norman Krieger will be performing in the Music Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. The program will include works by Berg, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and Chopin. A native of Los Angeles, Krieger is one of the most acclaimed pianists of his generation, highly regarded as an artist of depth, sensitivity and virtuosic flair. He regularly appears with the major orchestras of North America, including the New York, Los Angeles and Buffalo Philharmonics, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Boston Pops Orchestra. In 1987, Krieger was named the Gold Medal Winner of the first Palm Beach Invitational Piano Competition. At the age of 15, Krieger became a full scholarship student of Adele Marcus at the famed Juilliard School, from which he received both Bachelor's and Master's degrees. Subsequently, he studied with Alfred Brendel and Maria Curcio in London, and was awarded an Artist’s Diploma from the New England Conservatory, where he worked with Russell Sherman.

Tickets for performances are $10 general and $8 for students and seniors, and may be purchased in advance at the Sacramento State Ticket Office, (916) 278-4323, online at, or at the door one hour prior to performance (subject to availability). For more information about the series, contact the Department of Music at (916) 278-5155 or visit For media assistance, contact the Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.




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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •