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What began 125 years ago as a group of young ladies getting together on Tuesdays to sing and play for one another has turned into a classical paradise of international performers and exquisite artists that is Tuesday Musical, a Knight Arts grantee.

According to executive director Barbara Feld, this year’s opener is a multi-layered event — a milestone in the long 125-year tradition to be sure, but also a tribute to the Knight family in the person of Clara I. Knight, who had been a stalwart supporter of Tuesday Musical throughout her life, and the unveiling of a brand-new, nine-foot long Steinway piano, “lovingly called the ‘Three Graces Piano,’” Feld has said.

To tie the whole event together, the upcoming performance on Tuesday, September 25, will be the seventh piano concert named in honor of Akron’s well-known and respected pianist Margaret Baxtresser, with a special performance by much-lauded Emanuel Ax.

Emanuel Ax, pianist. Photo courtesy of Tuesday Musical

Born in Lvov, Poland, Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. His studies at the Julliard School were supported by the sponsorship of the Epstein Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America, and he subsequently won the Young Concert Artists Award. He also attended Columbia University, where he majored in French. Ax captured public attention in 1974, when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists followed four years later by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize.

Emanuel Ax in concert. Photo from www.charlestontoday.net

For the Tuesday Musical performance, Ax will play Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Piano Sonata Op. 2, No. 2 in A Major” and his “Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13 (Pathetique)”. He’ll also play the “Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960″ by Franz Schubert.

Interestingly, in his blog, Ax comments that he sees no reason why audiences can’t applaud between movements of a work. That practice is so frowned on in classical music circles. In fact, there have been articles written over the years about how one should behave during classical performances. It seems like Ax wouldn’t mind leaving politeness behind and inserting some  liveliness instead.

The 62-year-old Ax is a Grammy Award-winning musical artist who is now on the faculty at the Juilliard School, located in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. He is hailed as one of the best concert pianists of this century. It’s a good idea to take in his performance.

Emanuel Ax will perform on Tuesday, September 25, at 7:30p.m. for Tuesday Musical in the E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall at The University of Akron, 198 Hill St., Akron; 330-761-3460; www.tuesdaymusical.org. Tickets range in price from $25-$45.

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