By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
Professor of Music Susan Grace recently released her new album, “Music by Stefan Wolpe for Two Pianos,” and performed the pieces at Steinway Hall in New York City on April 29. Steven Beck also performed with Grace; the performance was sponsored by Wolpe Society, Bridge Records, and Steinway.
The album received a wonderful review from the London Times, as Paul Driver wrote, “This impressive eighth volume in Bridge’s Wolpe edition brings the premiere recordings of his 1933 March and Variations and 1936 Two Studies on Basic Rows… The style here, as in the first item, is a muscular neoclassicism with agitprop leanings, but the Studies epitomize Wolpe’s wonderful reimagining of Schoenberg’s 12-tone technique: a bracing, masterly diptych.”
Grace says recording the album was grueling, “but being introduced to the music of Stefan Wolpe by our management was a great find. Preparing this music for the recording was the delight.” She adds that she appreciated “the opportunity to play Wolpe’s music for people who understand and promote his music and to celebrate the release of our Wolpe CD.”
In addition to making her music and teaching at CC, Grace is also the director of the CC Summer Music Festival, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this summer. The music this year spans from “traditional classical to contemporary to an all women composer concert including music from 1800’s to present, a multi-media presentation in Cornerstone main space featuring video, digital sound, movement, and the festival fellows, and a concert featuring dancers from the Carolina Ballet with solo piano music,” Grace explains. Faculty and student performers “provide first-rate performances both in chamber ensembles and orchestra” and “the excitement generated by our musicians provides some of the best music making in the country,” she adds. This year’s festival will take place on CC’s campus from June 2-22.