ROCHESTER, NY – Distinguished alumni from the studio of Rebecca Penneys, longtime professor of piano at the Eastman School of Music, will gather in Rochester this month for a reunion weekend of performance-based enrichment and exploration. The weekend’s activities will include a series of brief lecture-demonstrations followed by a piano four-hands concert featuring the waltzes of Brahms and Debussy’s Petit Suite. The event is scheduled for 2 p.m., Saturday, October 13, at the Rochester Academy of Medicine (1441 East Ave.) and is free and open to the public.
The 20 returning alumni hold prominent teaching positions at colleges and universities nationwide and perform extensively, both nationally and internationally. Seventeen current students of Penneys also will play an active role in the weekend’s events. “This is a wonderful opportunity for many of my former and current students to gather, reminisce, and network,” said Penneys. “In light of the recent national tragedy, their coming together says a lot about their strong ties and the power of music.”
Penneys enjoys a distinguished career as a recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestra soloist. She has been a professor of piano at the Eastman School since 1980, and presently chairs the piano department at the Chautauqua (NY) Institution. As the founder of the renowned New Arts Trio, she has toured throughout the United States, East Asia, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia, and has garnered two of the prestigious Naumburg Awards for chamber music. Penneys, who made her New York debut at Alice Tully Hall in 1972, has carved a unique niche for herself in the piano world with her “Motion and Emotion” seminars – focusing on maximum expression of emotion while preventing muscular and neurological injuries. She was winner of the unprecedented Special Critics’ Prize for performances at the Seventh International Chopin Piano Competition (1965) in Warsaw, Poland. Her recording of the complete Chopin Etudes is featured on the Centaur label. (All of her recordings are available locally in the Eastman School Bookstore, 25 Gibbs St.) Penneys also is featured in the October 2001 issue of the noted piano magazine, Clavier.
“From a pianistic perspective, Ms. Penneys is beyond reproach, with a sound that makes the piano a living, breathing, and singing instrument,” said Kris Bezuidenhout, a current graduate student of Penneys who won a rare first prize in the 38th Festival of Flanders International Fortepiano Competition this past summer. “She is a pedagogue of rare insight and understanding.”
Note to editors: Interviews with Rebecca Penneys are available upon request. For information about her upcoming concert engagements, visit www.rebeccapenneys.com