Donna Lee to play Ohio premiere of ‘Three Waltzes’

Lily Martis

Donna Lee will play the Ohio premiere of “Three Waltzes” by Robert Aldridge at the final performance of the 2013-2014 Kent Keyboard Series.

Lee, co-director of the series and an associate professor, will close the 11th season of the series on Sunday, March 9 at 5 p.m. in the Ludwig Recital Hall.

According to Lee, the California Music Teacher’s Association commissioned Aldridge’s “Three Waltzes” where it first premiered in 2011.

“Each of the three waltzes contain a different characteristic,” Lee said. “One is more rhapsodic, one is more wilting and gentle and the third is much more playful.”

Aldridge is a Grammy Award-winning composer and current Professor and Director of Music at Rutgers University. “I’ve played other works of his before, and they are always very interesting,” Lee said, “so I was excited when he composed a solo piano work.”

Lee comprised the program of solo and chamber music works of composers whose names start with the first three letters of the alphabet, titling the program, “Playing the ABC’s.” The program will feature works such as Benjamin Britten’s “Night Piece – Notturno” and Frederic Chopin’s “Nocturne Op. 62, No. 1,” both for solo piano.

The program will also include a chamber music portion, which will include Daniel Gilbert, an associate professor of clarinet at the University of Michigan, and Keith Robinson, a cellist and artist-in-residence at Kent State University. Gilbert and Robinson will team with Lee in a performance of Beethoven’s “Trio in B-flat major, Op. 11.”

Lee and Gilbert will also collaborate on piano and clarinet in Louis Cahuzac’s “Cantilent.”

“The first is a short concert piece called ‘Cantilent,’ which is very light and shows off the vocal nature of the clarinet,” Gilbert said. “The second is a trio for cello, clarinet and piano by Beethoven, which is a staple in our chamber music literature.”

Additionally, Robinson, who has collaborated with Lee for the past ten years at Kent State, says it is a “natural fit for a string player to partner with a pianist,” and will join Lee in Tomaso Albinoni’s “Adagio in G minor.”

Robinson said this piece is reminiscent of his college years when he would clean his apartment to this tune because it was reminded him of a battle scene.

“Whatever Donna plays, you can expect a beauty of artistry,” Robinson said. “Donna always brings a beauty to her playing that is spread throughout the concert.”

Overall, the program contains “a strong balance of intimate, atmospheric music and dynamic brilliance,” Lee said.

“The audience,” Gilbert said, “can expect first rate chamber music, virtuosic piano playing and interesting programming.”

For more information regarding the Kent Keyboard Series, please visit

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