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Angela Hewitt
Angela Hewitt

Preview: Angela Hewitt in Gananoque

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Internationally renowned Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt gives a recital of music by Brahms, Beethoven and Couperin on Monday night along the St. Lawrence River. It's the first in a series of Monday evening recitals at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque, Ontario. The Studio "S" Series is hosted by CBC Radio personality Eric Friesen and will include virtuoso performers from around the world this summer.

Todd Moe has more on Angela Hewitt's recital.

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Todd Moe
Morning Host and Producer

Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt is currently on a tour that includes the Midwest and Ontario. She will be performing at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque, Ontario on Monday, July 16, at 7:30 p.m. She will be performing music by Brahms, Beethoven and Couperin.

“Before I come to Gananoque, I’m in the Beethoven festival in Minnesota, so I have to play Beethoven there, but this particular sonata that I’ve chosen, the Opus 22, is still a relatively early work. It’s sort of on the cusp of his middle period,” said Hewitt. “It’s not very often played; I don’t know why, because it’s a wonderful piece and it has the most gorgeous slow movement which I love. It really takes you into the world of opera; it’s for a singer.”

Hewitt will also be playing Beethoven’s Opus 101, which is one of the composer’s latest works. According to Hewitt, it was written for a female pianist. She said, “It’s a very sensitive piece. It takes also great power as well as the sensitivity. It has a fugue in the final movement, which of course with my Bach training I like.”

The Couperin that Hewitt will play was not written for piano, and instead was originally written for harpsichord. However, Hewitt has recorded three volumes of Couperin and said, “It’s music that’s not often played, but people love it and it makes a great opener for a recital.”

Hewitt will play three pieces by Brahms as well. She described them as “very romantic” and melancholy. Brahms composed the pieces shortly after losing both his sister and a close friend. “I like to have contrasting things in the program, so I think it will be a nice choice,” said Hewitt. She plans to introduce the works to the audience as the recital progresses.

Hewitt recently visited Ottawa during what the mayor called Angela Hewitt Week. “It’s unusual to have a week named after you,” said Hewitt, who also has a studio at the University of Ottawa’s department of music named after her. The week featured several events, including a concert for school children. “I showed a film of when I won the Bach competition in Toronto in 1985 and we had a display of my gowns. It was great fun and, of course, a great honor. I felt very honored, and nice to be remembered in my hometown which of course still means a lot to me,” said Hewitt.

However, being in her hometown doesn’t affect her performance. Hewitt says that each performance is just as important as any other. “I work just as hard for a performance in Ottawa as I would for one in Carnegie Hall in New York,” said Hewitt. “I always want to do my best. But I know, of course, I’ll have a very wonderful audience in my hometown who will really appreciate it. But I get that elsewhere too. In a way, it’s almost even more of a strain because they are expecting so much of you. I’m looking forward to this concert.”

Hewitt says that she enjoys seeing young people at her concerts. Audiences tend to be older at the festivals she performs at, due to the limited space and higher ticket prices. However, in Asia, the majority of concert-goers are under 25 years of age. “The future of classical music, in a way, seems at the moment to be over there,” said Hewitt. “It is a shame when you see an audience that is only an older crowd, although I’m delighted that they’re there too. But that’s why I do make a point of playing for young kids as much as I can.”

Hewitt says that she plays for kids around the world when she has time, and she wishes that governments would realize the importance of exposure to classical music and include it in school curriculums.

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