The Bob Cole Conservatory of Music hosted pianist and composer Michael Mizrahi at the Daniel Recital Hall for a night of contemporary music, Wednesday.
Prior to his performance at the Daniel Recital Hall, Mizrahi spent time with music students as part of a free composer workshop which took place at the same venue. Many of the students that attended the workshop were also at the recital.
Mizrahi played by himself, absent of even a page-turner. His program featured six pieces of new music by emerging composers. Each was lively and melodic, filled with breathy overtones and complex and percussive rhythms.
After his first piece, Mizrahi spoke briefly to the students and faculty who attended his performance. He took the opportunity to share his program notes about the next piece on the program, “Threaded Spaces.”
“This piece is a study of the piano as a harmonic instrument,” he said. “The virtuosity of this piece is in balancing all of the different layers with the clarity of the individual lines. The artistry lies in how the player navigates these passages; how tone, dynamics, articulation keep the harmonies continually blooming, guiding the ear to hear what has been sustained in the listener’s imagination.”
An award-winning performer, Mizrahi has been featured as a soloist with major orchestras, including the Houston Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra. He has filled seats in world-famous concert halls like New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
In addition to his lauded performance chops, Mizrahi is an enthusiastic and devoted supporter of music across the United States. He taught piano in New York public schools and is a founding member of NOW Ensemble, a small musical collective dedicated to making new chamber music for the 21st century. Mizrahi has released three critically acclaimed albums with the group: “NOW,” “Awake,” and “D R E A M F A L L.”
Alongside his work with NOW Ensemble, Mizrahi is first and foremost an advocate for commissioning music by new composers. Of the six pieces Mizrahi performed, three of them were commissioned by him and the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association, of which he is a member. Only one of the evening’s compositions, “Fall Down Five Times Get Up Six,” was written more than three years ago.
The evening’s performance ended with a standing ovation from the audience. Mizrahi took time after the performance to talk and take pictures with adoring students.