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Beethoven concert series set

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro (Photo credit: Performing Arts Photography)

NOTE: This story has been updated with rescheduled date for closing concert.

Oklahoma City University music professor Sergio Monteiro will perform the complete cycle of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas in an eight-concert series beginning Sept. 11 and 12.

The series marks the first time in roughly 60 years that the cycle will be presented in Oklahoma City.

Concerts will begin at 2 p.m. on each performance date in Petree Recital Hall at OCU’s Wanda L. Bass School of Music, NW 25th Street and Blackwelder Avenue. The opening weekend will be followed by concerts on Oct. 23-24, featuring “The Tempest” and “Les Adieux”; Nov. 6-7, featuring “The Hunt,” “Apassionata” and the challenging “Hammerklavier,” a 50-minute work considered one of the most difficult pieces of music ever written. The cycle concludes Feb. 6 with a program including the “Waldstein” and “Pastoral” sonatas. Tickets ($15) are available beginning Sept. 7 at okcu.edu/tickets or by calling 405-208-5227. For more information, call 405-208-5700.

“To be able to present every one of Beethoven’s piano sonatas is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream,” Monteiro said. “Each sonata is a wonder, unique in form and content. The complete cycle is a true encyclopedia of Beethoven’s language, passing through all the three periods of his life and showing us every step of his artistic growth.”

Monteiro will open the series with concerts exploring four Beethoven sonatas including the No. 8 in C minor, nicknamed “Pathétique,” on Sept. 11, followed by No. 14 in C-sharp minor, popularly known as the “Moonlight Sonata” on Sept. 12.

“This is one of those musical once-in-a-lifetime concert series,” said Mark Parker, dean of OCU’s Bass School of Music. “This rare opportunity to hear a great pianist perform all 32 sonatas of Beethoven should not be missed.”

Originally scheduled for last year in celebration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, Monteiro said the sonatas are more relevant than ever in challenging times. The 2021-22 series, encompassing 12 hours of music, will mark the first time the cycle has been presented in Oklahoma City since OCU hosted Stefan Bardas’ performances in the 1960s.

“Beethoven’s music shines as an ideal of resilience, self-determination and healing,” Monteiro said. “An artist who struggled all his career against the adversities of life, Beethoven overcame his physical limitations to create an innovative body of work, in which the human spirit and its power to surpass obstacles is one of the most fundamental elements. With him, our souls reached new heights.”

The cycle features several of the most famous piano pieces of all time. Many are best known by nicknames - the “Moonlight,” the “Pathétique” and the “Apassionata” – coined by editors to reinforce the music’s romantic character. Each recital will feature at least one of the named sonatas.

The Brazilian-born Monteiro moved to Oklahoma in 2009 to accept an appointment as director of piano at the Bass School of Music. A winner of the Martha Argerich International Piano Competition, Argerich lauded Monteiro as “an artist with extraordinary creativity and energy. When he starts playing, music comes to life. His love for music is very strong and passionate; music loves him in return.”

He is a frequent soloist with ensembles including the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and the Buenos Aires Philharmonic and has presented recitals in venues including Rome’s Palestrina Hall, Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and the Steinway Halls of New York and Beijing.

“Beethoven wrote his sonatas through his entire career, and they foreshadow all his stylistic and harmonic innovations,” Monteiro said. “A brilliant pianist himself, the piano was at the core of his musical mind and his sonatas are the starting point of all the elements that would be developed in his future compositions.”

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