Pianist brings light to KSU with a musical selection in “Religion and Passion”


Pianist Marian Lee performed at the Kent Keyboard series with her compilation “Religion and Passion,” which included works by Bach, Crumb, Ustyolskaya, Beethoven, and Debussy in Ludwig Hall, on Sunday March 10th, 2013. Photo by Emily Lambillotte.

Caitlin Potts

As part of Kent State’s ongoing Keyboard Series, pianist Marian Lee performed a selection of classical music in “Religion and Passion” on Sunday evening in Ludwig Recital Hall in the Music and Speech Building.

After finishing her first piece, “Tocata in E minor,” Marian encouraged the audience to “listen with an open mind and an open heart.”

“I wanted to create a program that paid homage to where I work,” Marian said. “At the same time, I wanted to choose pieces that reflected something about myself as an artist.”

Marian told the audience that she recently became head of the piano department at St. Ambrose University, a Catholic school in Davenport, Iowa. She related her song choices to religion and passion.

“We started off the evening with Bach, the ultimate church musician,” Marian said.

She explained the next piece, “A Little Suite for Christmas” written by George Crumb. Marian said in the first part of the piece, “The Visitation,” an angel comes to Mary and tells Mary she is with child.

“This piece, to me, captures the mysticism of the birth of Jesus Christ,” Marian said. “It uses techniques of the piano, which many of you probably have never heard or actually experienced.”

Audience members listened as Marian leaned over the keys to pluck strings inside the piano. The piece featured loud, low notes, as well as soft, alluring keys.

Donna Lee, professor of piano at Kent State, co-directed Kent’s Keyboard Series this year.

“I think it’s a great experience and opportunity for our students to be exposed to different styles,” Donna said. “I hope they’re open to them and moved by them.”

Marian began playing piano concerts with the Ann Arbor and Flint Symphony Orchestras in Michigan at the age of 15.

Marian attended The Julliard School for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music. She received her doctorate at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. She has performed all over the world in countries such as Italy, Belgium, Brazil, France and Austria.

Contact Caitlin Potts at [email protected].