Program for Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, April 13, 2015, with commentary

CHOPIN Etude in F Minor, Op. 25, No. 2
CHOPIN Etude in E Minor, Op. 25, No. 5

Chopin is the quintessential salon composer. Almost every concert on the tour has some of his music.

BARTÓK Out of Doors

Bartok incorporated the sounds of his surroundings, whether folk music or sounds of nature, into his music. Rustic and tough minded. He was the first to transcribe many folk melodies from Transylvania.

LISZT Piano Sonata in B Minor

An epic masterpiece and one of the greatest pieces ever written for the piano.

MICHAEL HARRISON Jaunpuri (World Premiere)
With Mashkoor Ali Khan, Vocals (He is flying from Kolkata, India)
Nitin Mitta, Tabla
Michael Harrison, Tambura

Jaunpuri is a work that places the piano in an Indian music context. This performance will feature voice, table, and tambura. Michael Harrison is an important composer today. Mashkoor Ali Khan is a celebrated Indian vocalist flying in from Kolkata, India and I’m honored he will join us for this performance. Nitin Mitta is one of the most in demand tabla players on the east coast and Michael Harrison, himself, will join the group on tambura. I performed this piece also as part of the India tour in 2012. Michael had composed the piece for that particular tour and it’s one of most effective fusions between western classical and indian classical music.

KIMBALL GALLAGHER 4 Preludes from 88 Preludes

For many of the concerts on the tour I’ve composed a piece for concert hosts or honored guests of the concert.  Each composition uses musical notes that are generated by taking the name of the host or hosts or of honored guests and then spelling the names in musical notes. This idea is from Bach, who frequently used the notes generated by his name in his compositions. There are different ways to general musical notes from letters. The letter ‘A’ found in a name would translate to the note ‘A’ on the piano and the same is true for letters B through G. For H through Z, the cycle is repeated so an ‘H’ would translate to an ‘A’ on the piano, an ‘I’ would translate to a ‘B’ on the piano and so forth.

Prelude for Victor and Sono—Victor Elmaleh was an arts patron, a real estate developer, a national squash doubles champion, a water colorist and a friend to many. He died this past November at 95 years. The concert is dedicated to him in appreciation for his long time support.

Prelude for Aung San Suu Kyi—Noble peace prize winner and host of a private concert in Myanmar as part of the Myanmar Music Festival which I co-founded with pianist Kaiyin Huang in 2014.

Prelude for ANIM—given as a gift to the Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul, Afghanistan

Prelude for Aida—An elegy prelude for a young girl who died in an accident. Was premiered at her families home in Tunisia. The family has become close friends in Tunisia and have been involved in organizing several concerts.


A gifted student from the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, this was his first composition which I’ve now performed in 20 countries. In a concert in Dubai, a concert goer, inspired by Elham’s piece, decided to send him a piano to his home in Kabul.


In addition to being a composer, Jaloul was the finance minister of Tunisia after the revolution and now is a candidate for the head of the African Development Bank. Jasmin is the official flower of Tunisia and the revolution is often called the Jasmin revolution.

PEIXUN CHEN Autumn Moon Over the Calm Lake

This work is chosen for it’s distinctive Chinese flavor. China is one of the countries where there has been special concerts in smaller, lesser known cities, as well as private concerts.