The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech continues its 2012-13 season with a performance by classical pianist Jeremy Denk at The Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg. The performance happens 8 p.m. March 24 and will include compositions by Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms.
As well as one-man concerts, Denk has performed with chamber music ensembles and as a soloist with orchestras from Los Angeles to London.
His playing racks up rave reviews in The New York Times the way LeBron James racks up slam dunks during a Miami Heat pre-game. (Full disclosure: my thanks to Sports Editor Steve Hemphill for his assistance in the construction of this metaphor.)
Denk’s profile has been raised further by his popular blog, Think Denk (jeremydenk.net/blog/), on which he shares thoughts about music, life and the music life.
Here’s a sample of how a New York Times critic painted him in 2010: “There is nothing generic about this adventurous musician. His vivacious intellect is manifest both in his playing and on his blog, Think Denk, an outlet for astute musical observations and witty musings, whether a lament about inedible meatballs or a spoof interview with Sarah Palin.”
In 2009, when I attended the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera in New York, I had the opportunity to hear Denk perform some of American composer Charles Ives’ incredibly difficult piano compositions during a broadcast by New York Public Radio station WXQR.
Not having a background in music, I lack the vocabulary to articulately describe Denk’s playing other than to say it was an amazing experience. He also had a great rapport with his audience, explaining the pieces to us and helping us to pick out motifs.
Admission is $30 , senior citizens and Virginia Tech faculty and staff $24, and for students and youth 18 and under $10. For more information, call 951-4771 or visit www.thelyric.com/.