Wong and van Baars to collaborate at Kent Keyboard Series

Lily Martis

Reminiscent of stories from childhood, the tale of a young boy who manages to capture a vicious wolf will be retold through piano and narration.

“Witty, charming and a little bit ironic at times,” said pianist, co-director and Steinway Artist Jerry Wong about the work of Sergei Prokofiev arranged in the continuation of the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music’s 2013-2014 Kent Keyboard Series.

Wong and associate theater professor and actor Eric van Baars will collaborate on Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” in the Ludwig Recital Hall Sunday, Feb. 2 at 5 p.m.

The Kent Keyboard Series is a piano recital series directed by Wong and Donna Lee, an associate professor and coordinator of the piano division at Kent State. As a co-director, Wong usually performs solo recitals each year. This year, Wong called upon van Baars to narrate the tale of “Peter and the Wolf.”

The first half of the performance will consist of piano compositions by Claude Debussy and Franz Liszt. These solo works are grouped based on the themes of snow, serenade and dance. The last three of these pieces references German composer Richard Wagner.

To close the program, Wong and van Baars will collaborate on “Peter and the Wolf.”

“There aren’t many narrator-piano pieces,” Wong said, but “as a pianist, you have to imitate these other instruments to embody these animals.”

Described as “Wondrously freaky,” van Baars said, “I hear the instruments in my head when Jerry is playing them at the piano creating a double whammy.”

As the narrator, van Baars seeks to add the action points to the plot in order to “give enough information for the audience to listen and close their eyes and drink in the story.”

The audience can “expect a classy and professional atmosphere with familiar faces and the highest quality of music,” Ricardo Sepulveda, School of Music marketing assistant said. In this performance, “the audience will encounter a variety of repertoire that will bring our areas [within the College of the Arts] together to collaborate.”

Tickets are available for purchase weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. at the Performing Arts Box Office, located in the lobby of the Roe Green Center at 1325 Theatre Dr. For walk-up sales, the Ludwig Recital Hall box office will open one hour prior to the performance. Tickets are free for full-time Kent campus undergraduate students.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Kent State’s Hugh A. Glauser School of Music’s website. 

Contact Lily Martis at [email protected].