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Release: Oct. 29, 1999

Pianists Fisher, Dorensky, Keene to play free recitals at UI Nov. 14, 17, 20

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- An international roster of concert pianists -- Norma Fisher of England, Sergei Dorensky of Russia, and American Constance Keene -- will present free recitals and master classes on the University of Iowa campus within a single week as part of Piano Festival ‘99-2000, a celebration of piano performance and teaching presented by the UI School of Music.

All three performances will be in Clapp Recital Hall.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14, Norma Fisher will perform music from the Classic era to the early 20th century. She will play Joseph Haydn’s Sonata in E-flat major, No. 52; the capriccios and intermezzos of Johannes Brahms’ Seven Fantasies, op. 116; Three Etudes by Claude Debussy; and two works by Robert Schumann, the complete "Papillons," op. 2, and the "Novelette" in F-sharp minor, op. 21 no. 8.

At 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17, Sergei Dorensky will play an all-Chopin program. For the first half of the program he will play three nocturnes and three polonaises, and after intermission he will play a selection of 10 mazurkas.

At 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, Constance Keene will play the Ten Preludes, op. 23, of Sergei Rachmaninoff, the Sonata in C major, op. 24, of Carl Maria von Weber, and the Ballade, op. 23, of Chopin.

Each recital will be followed the next day by a master class in piano performance that will be open to the public free of charge. The master classes will be held in Clapp Recital Hall: Fisher at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 15; Dorensky at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 18; and Keene at 9 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 21. During each master class, piano students from the UI School of Music will perform music they have prepared, and the guest artists will provide suggestions, comments and insight into the works being presented.

"We feel this series will provide an extraordinary opportunity for both our students and the public," said Carole Thomas, head of the piano area at the School of Music and coordinator of the Piano Festival. "All of our guest artists are distinguished pianists and teachers. In addition to performances at the highest professional level, in their master classes they will give to the students and the public valuable insights into their own performances and their careers as professional musicians."

This is the second year for the School of Music’s Piano Festival. The inaugural 1998-99 season featured recitals and master classes by Joseph Kalichstein, Menahem Pressler, Rebecca Penneys and Gyorgy Sebok. The current festival will continue during the spring semester, when pianist Ann Schein will present a free recital at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 29 in Clapp Recital Hall and a master class for UI students the following day.

Fisher maintains her own teaching studio in London, where she is also director of the London Master Classes. Known around the world as a teacher and performer, she is an associate board member and frequent jury member of the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition. She has been jury chairman of the U.S. Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition and serves regularly on the juries of the Sydney (Australia), Newport (Wales), Czech Republic, and the Vladimir Horowitz (Kiev, Russia) piano competitions.

Hailed in her youth as "the new star of the piano world," Fisher shared the Piano Prize of the Harriet Cohen International Music Awards with Vladimir Ashkenazy. This early success led to concerts throughout Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and the United States and an international reputation as performer and teacher. A preferred recording artist with the BBC, she has been for many years a favorite at the Promenade Concerts ("Proms") at Royal Albert Hall in London.

Dorensky has taught for many years at the Moscow Conservatory, where he was dean of the piano faculty 1978-97. He has been a juror for 47 international piano competitions, including the Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Van Cliburn competitions, and his own students include 45 international competition laureates. He has been honored by the Russian and former Soviet governments, receiving "Honored Artist of the USR" status in 1966 and the Russian Order of Friendship in 1997.

He began piano studies at the age of seven at the Central Music School in Moscow and graduated with honors from the Moscow Conservatory. He was the gold-medal winner of the piano competition at the Fifth World Festival of Youth and Students in Warsaw and won second prize in the First International Piano Competition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He has performed in more than 35 countries around the globe.

Keene has been a distinguished member of the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music since 1969. She taught the children of pianist Artur Rubinstein, who once wrote of her performances of the Rachmaninoff Preludes, "I cannot imagine anyone, including Rachmaninoff himself, playing them more beautifully." A wildly acclaimed concert with violinist Yehudi Menuhin at the Gstaad (Switzerland) Festival led to Menuhin’s request that she play the memorial tribute for his sister Hepzibah in 1981.

Winner of the revered Naumburg Award, Keene has served as a jury member for the Van Cliburn, Concert Artists Guild, Young Concert Artists, Naumburg, Praetoria (South Africa), Scottish, and other international piano competitions. She is featured in Benjamin Saver’s book "The Most Wanted Piano Teachers in the U.S.A."

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at The web page for Piano Festival ‘99-2000 is at

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Carole Thomas, the coordinator of the UI School of Music Piano Festival ‘99-2000, may be reached at (319) 335-1650, or by e-mail at The Piano Festival has a page on the world-wide web, at )