Bach Virtuosi Festival: Share with us details about upcoming performances and tours in 2018.
Henry Kramer: I am very excited to be performing piano with the Portland Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Robert Moody on January 30. I will also be making my Philadelphia recital debut through Astral Artists in March, an appearance on Yale’s Horowitz Piano Series in a performance honoring my teacher Boris Berman, and a repeat recital tour of Belgium with a performance that will include spoken poetry. I will also perform Ravel’s G Major Concerto at the Lakes Area Music Festival and Prokofiev 2nd with Symphony Tacoma.
BVF: Please tell us more about your upcoming performance of Mozart Concerto No. 20 with PSO on January 30? Have you worked with Robert Moody previously?
HK: I have previously worked with Robert twice, once on Mozart No. 21 and another time on Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. I love coming “home” to perform for the enthusiastic Portland audience and working with Bob is always so fun and alive.
BVF: What is it about Bach that you enjoy most? Do you have a favorite piece to hear and/or perform?
HK: Bach’s name in German means brook or stream, and I feel that his music comes closest to representing the divine perfection of nature. His counterpoint never ceases to stun me when I explore the beauty of how the voices interact with one another. In a way, his music follows all the rules of counterpoint and harmony (he practically invented these rules and was the model for nearly every composer of the common practice after him), but it is never lacking in emotional potency.
My favorite piece to listen to by Bach is the Mass in B Minor. The Kyrie Eleison is so somber and majestic and grips me every time I hear it. While I do not publicly perform Bach as much as I would like, I always enjoy playing the Italian Concerto and Partitas.
BVF: As a native of Maine, please elaborate on what it means to you to perform at a Maine festival where you will know many people in the audience? What are some of your favorite things to do in Maine?
HK: I relish the opportunity to return to my home state and perform. Growing up, I remember going to all different parts of the state to perform and to play in competitions. When I return, I get to see and perform for the teachers and friends who helped support me in those formative years. I also have enjoyed watching Portland grow into a really hip city with great restaurants. When I return, I always go to Tandem Coffee, Eventide Oyster Co for a lobster roll, Yosaku for lunch, and if I can get in, Street and Co for dinner. And I never forget to pick up some aged balsamic from Le Roux Kitchen. It will be something to look forward to this June performing in the festival!