The commemoration of the centenary of Alicia de Larrocha's is a great opportunity for new generations to learn about who she was and what she represented, in Catalonia, Spain, and abroad.
Alicia de Larrocha was one of the main ambassadors of the music of Catalan and Spanish composers to the world. The works of Antoni Soler, Manuel de Falla, Isaac Albéniz, Enric Granados, Joaquín Turina, Xavier Montsalvatge, Frederic Mompou, and others were a regular part of her performances, but also those of Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, Brahms, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Grieg, Debussy, Ravel, Rakhmàninov, and others. To categorize her, as is often done, as a pianist "specializing in Spanish music" is to ignore her extensive repertoire, which must be extolled as well through this celebration.
A personal reflection from Adam Kent
“When I was 11 years old, my grandparents took me to hear the Catalan pianist Alicia de Larrocha in concert at Avery Fisher Hall. I was looking forward to the first half of the program, which included music by composers familiar to me—Bach, Haydn, and Mendelssohn. The second half looked more daunting—dedicated entirely to works by a Spaniard named Manuel de Falla, whose last name I assumed rhymed with “Paula”. Traffic was heavy coming into Manhattan that afternoon, and we missed the entire first half. It didn’t take more than the first few notes of Falla’s “Danza de la molinera” to make me realize that all was not lost. All at once, I found myself seduced by the robust folkloricism of this music, coupled to the exotic harmonic world and fanciful voicing of so much French Impressionistic music. Ever since then, the music of Spain has been central to my work as a performing artist and educator.”
The two concerts in May are the first ones of a series of events organized by, or supported by the Institut Ramon Llull in New York City in commemoration of the Alicia de Larrocha centennial. They will include works for piano and voice composed by, dedicated to, or disseminated by Alícia de Larrocha, including several New York premieres. It will feature composers Alicia de Larrocha, Frank Marshall (her teacher), Joan Torra (her husband), Carlos Surinach, Joaquin Nin-Culmell, Federico Mompou, Xavier Montsalvatge, Lleonard Balada, Isaac Albeniz, Mateo Albeniz, Enrique Granados, Manuel de Falla, and Antoni Soler.
For the Sunday concert, pianist Adam Kent will be joined by guest artist mezzo-soprano Anna Tonna, recalling Alicia de Larrocha’s numerous collaborations with vocalists including Conxita Badia, Montserrat Caballé, Victoria de los Angels, Josep Carreras, Pilar Lorengar, and her niece Olga Torra.
The Sunday event will be followed by a panel discussion featuring the artistic director of the concert series Sundays at Klavierhaus, Joseph Patrych, classical music broadcaster and live concert host Candice Agree, and both artists.