Internationally acclaimed pianist Paul-André Bempéchat will honor the birthday of Ludwig Van Beethoven with a performance of three of the composer’s most beloved piano sonatas. The concert will take place on Friday evening, Dec. 16 at First Parish on the Common at 7:30 p.m. with an in-person audience. It will also be available via Zoom.
On the program are the Piano Sonata No. 21 in C Major, “Waldstein”, Op. 53 (1804), Piano Sonata No. 23 in f minor, Op. 57, “Appassionata” (1804-1805), and Piano Sonata No. 27 in e minor, Op. 90 (1814).
The concert is a benefit for First Parish music and for The Shelf, a service that offers free food to students at MassArt (Massachusetts College of Arts and Design) where Bempéchat teaches. The artist noted his distress at learning of food insecurity among students at the college and offered to do a benefit performance. Tickets are $20 and $15 for seniors and students; they will be available at the door or can be ordered at https://app.onechurchsoftware.com/uubedford/forms/31.
Beethoven’s birthday (1770) is a hallowed day on the musical calendar and many area musical groups will pay tribute on Dec. 16. For the Bedford audience, the concert will be an opportunity to hear beautiful music presented by a distinguished artist who is a recent Bedford resident. Bempéchat moved to town in August with his wife, Emmanuelle Goulon, who is a music teacher at the International School of Boston.
Bempéchat is currently a Visiting Lecturer in the Musical Arts Department of MassArts (Massachusetts School of Arts and Design.) Among his many academic appointments here and abroad, he has held lectureships at both Harvard and Harvard Divinity School.
For three years he was Artist in Residence at Leverett House, Harvard. Beginning in January, he will be in Uppsala, Sweden for six months, where he has been awarded a major fellowship to the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Studies. Upon returning to Bedford, he plans to open a piano studio in September.
More About the Artist
Bempéchat’s personal history begins in Egypt where he was born to a family with French/Italian ancestry. With a regime change, the family lost their business and landholdings. Because they were multi-lingual, they were welcome in Canada, where the artist grew up from the age of five. At age 16, he came to the U.S. for undergraduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music (Bachelor of Music) and then received a Master’s degree in Music from The Julliard School.
In 2000, he was awarded the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Boston University. Bempéchat is also a noted musicologist with many publications in scholarly journals. In speaking with The Citizen recently.
Bempéchat said that although he doesn’t intend to give up his academic career, he will be “upping the ante” on performance. Since 1980, he has been soloist and chamber musician here and in Europe, with performances at major concert halls, including Boston’s Jordan Hall and Sanders Theater at Harvard, and Berlin’s Konzerthaus and Stockholm’s Konserthus.
In the coming months, he has two tours planned – one in Canada and one in the U.S. He is also a recording artist and will begin recording Beethoven’s 32 sonatas for Danacord Records, Copenhagen, in the spring.
Bempéchat has a long association with France, where he received his first doctorate. He has been decorated as Chevalier de Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. And it was at a lecture at the Sorbonne where he first met his wife in 2009. At the time, she was a professor at the University of Orleans. A courtship followed, including a time when Emma, as he calls her, helped nurse him back to health after he suffered a devastating fall. Emma gave up her position in Orleans and joined him in the U.S. The two were married In Watertown in 2015.
Beethoven Birthday Celebration!
Friday, December 16, 2022 @ 7:00 p.m.
Suggested donations (collected at the door) or https://app.onechurchsoftware.com/uubedford/forms/31:
Seniors & Students $15
Paul-André Bempéchat, piano
- Piano Sonata No. 21 in C Major, “Waldstein”, Op. 53 (1804)
- Piano Sonata No. 23 in f minor, Op. 57, “Appassionata” (1804-1805)
- Piano Sonata No. 27 in e minor, Op. 90 (1814)
For online streaming, pay via this link: https://app.onechurchsoftware.com/uubedford/forms/31
Net proceeds to benefit First Parish in Bedford & The Shelf
First Parish in Bedford is wheelchair accessible. For the performance in the Sanctuary, masks are required.