OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego pianist and music faculty member Robert Auler will perform at 3 p.m. Nov. 24, in the Sheldon Hall ballroom, playing a repertoire that will include a work by 2007 alumnus and classical composer George N. “Nick” Gianopoulos.
Gianopoulos was an 18-year-old freshman from Baldwinsville when he took an introductory music course and his first-ever piano lessons at SUNY Oswego — events that helped propel him, now at age 28, to a career as a Los Angeles composer and pianist. He is currently composer-in-residence for the LA-based Symbiosis Chamber Ensemble.
Auler will play “Theme and Variations” by Gianopoulos; “Distant Voices,” by Gao Ping, a Chinese composer and friend of Auler’s; a Beethoven piece, “Opus 81A”; and ” Allegro de Concert” by Spanish composer Enrique Granados.
A crescendo for Gianopoulos’ young career came this summer when his “Thirteen Haiku for Singers and Piano” — set to novelist and poet Jack Kerouac’s series of 13 of the vivid, Japanese-style short poems — was commissioned by and performed at a Wolf Trap Opera Company residency program in Vienna, Va., for emerging professionals.
“As a teacher, you hear about a lot about goals and career plans, and you encourage those,” Auler said. “It’s rare to see someone follow through on something so passionately.”
On his professional website, Gianopoulos credits Auler for encouraging him to teach, and by his senior year Gianopoulos had developed a 12-student piano studio and worked as a church pianist and organist. Since graduation, world premieres of his classical works have been performed in Israel and Greece, and the Glendale Philharmonic commissioned his “Sonata for Two Celli.”
Auler said the young composer will be on hand to discuss the work. “It’s really cool to see what Nick has done,” Auler said, citing Liszt and Rachmaninoff as two key influences for the young composer.
“Nick has added some modern sensibilities to it,” Auler said. “He hasn’t copied the past, he has added his own talents and ideas to make people sit up and say, ‘That’s beautiful.'”
Tickets for this and other performances in the SUNY Oswego music department’s Focus on Faculty Series are $8 ($5 for SUNY Oswego students), and are available at the college’s box offices, online at tickets.oswego.edu and by calling 315-312-2141.
Parking is included in the price of the ticket and is available in the faculty and commuter lots adjacent to and across Washington Boulevard from Sheldon Hall. People with disabilities needing assistance should call 315-312-2141 in advance.