EAU CLAIRE — A UW-Eau Claire pianist who often includes pieces written by underrepresented composers is playing two virtual recitals in the coming weeks that celebrate equity, diversity and inclusion.
Dr. Nicholas Phillips, professor of music-piano, is playing a February recital that honors Black History Month and another in March in celebration of Women’s History Month.
“Playing these recitals during months that tie into Black History Month and Women’s History Month is a way that I can contribute to an awareness of the great piano music that exists by women and African American composers,” Phillips says in a news release from UW-Eau Claire.
In his recital at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, as a guest artist at the University of Nebraska Omaha, Phillips is featuring works by African American composer Florence Price, including her miniatures, a suite and her Sonata.
Price, who was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, but spent her professional years in Chicago, was the first African American woman to gain national status as a symphonic composer. She became the first Black female composer to have a symphony performed by a major American orchestra when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra played the world premiere of her Symphony No. 1 in E minor in 1933.
Phillips’ recital featuring Price’s work is free and open to anyone; it can be found at tinyurl.com/3v84hncb.
In March, Phillips will play for the “Piano Stories on Stage” series hosted by the Francis Clark Center, a nonprofit institution dedicated to music education.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Phillips’ recital program will include a prelude and fugue, classical sonata, Romantic set, contemporary work and a big, virtuosic sonata, all by female composers.
“This recital is particularly interesting because it takes what we have come to expect from a traditional piano recital, in terms of types of repertoire, but doesn’t include any works from the male composers who have dominated the canon for centuries,” Phillips says in the release.
During the virtual event, Phillips will perform works by Clara Schumann, Marianne von Mertinez, Fanny Mednelssohn-Hensel, Mary Kouyoumdjian and Florence Price.
The recital will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, March 26. Information about attending the virtual event can be found at tinyurl.com/hp83vibf
Described by the New York Times as a “talented and entrepreneurial pianist” and an “able and persuasive advocate” of new music, Phillips is active as a soloist and collaborative artist who has performed across the U.S. as well as in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa.
Given COIVD-19, Phillips recorded the two upcoming recitals at Pablo Center at the Confluence in downtown Eau Claire, a venue he says that makes quality virtual performances possible.
Pablo Center’s talented staff and state-of-the-art technologies help create “a recital video of extremely high audio and video quality, with camera angles you don’t get when sitting in the hall,” Phillips says in the release.