Pianist, Dramatic Narrator to Team for ‘1920s Paris’ Performance

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

OSWEGO — The evocative tones of Robert Auler, SUNY Oswego pianist and associate professor of music, and the dramatic narration of theatre professor Mark Cole will make Paris in the 1920s come alive in a Faculty Artist Series performance on Sunday, Feb. 6.

“1920s Paris,” a presentation highlighting a time of great creativity and new artistic movements, will begin at 3 p.m. in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre on the SUNY Oswego campus.

Robert Auler, award-winning concert pianist and associate professor of music at SUNY Oswego.
Robert Auler, award-winning concert pianist and associate professor of music at SUNY Oswego.

Auler, an award-winning concert pianist, and Cole, who frequently directs campus plays and has written some of his own, last teamed in 2008-09 for Cole’s play “An Evening with Alan and Lawrence” for performances in Oswego and Syracuse.

“In our latest collaboration,” Cole said, “we explore the exhilarating and groundbreaking work of such composers as Igor Stravinsky, Francis Poulenc, Sergei Prokofiev and Maurice Ravel, among others.

“Paris, during the decade following World War I, not only played host to what seemed like one long party, but also embraced the experimentation and creativity of musicians, artists and writers who were determined to challenge traditional forms and develop new ways of interpreting the world around them.”

Spanning neo-classicism to emotionalism to mysticism, the program will include the first movement of Stravinsky’s “Sonata for Piano,” Poulenc’s “Toccata,” the third movement of Prokofiev’s “Piano Sonata No. 5,” a prelude by George Gershwin and a prelude by Olivier Messiaen. Setting the stage for these modernists will be Claude Debussy’s “La Puerta del Vino” from his “Preludes Book Two” and one of Erik Satie’s “Gymnopedies.”

The concluding piece will be Maurice Ravel’s “La Valse.” The orchestral version of the piece premiered in 1920, and many audience members heard in it a post-war revelation of cruelty and madness just under its glittering surface.

Mark Cole, playwright, director and professor of theatre at SUNY Oswego.
Mark Cole, playwright, director and professor of theatre at SUNY Oswego.

Cole’s narration will evoke the personalities and artistic movements that fueled the creative environment of Paris in the 1920s. The studio of Nadia Boulanger, a champion of Stravinsky, was the place to study advanced composition; influential women like Misia Sert, Coco Chanel and the Princess de Polignac promoted the work of modernist composers through performances and commissions; the famous cafe Le Boeuf Sur le Toit was the gathering place for society’s elite, tourists, artists, musicians and writers to experience the trends of the moment, such as dadaism and surrealism.

Auler, winner of the Young Keyboard Artists’ Association Piano Prize, has presented concerts throughout Germany, France, the Netherlands and Denmark. He has appeared in concert in cities such as New York, Detroit, Dallas, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville, Santa Barbara, Rochester and Chicago.

To obtain tickets priced at $7 for the general public ($6 for faculty, staff, non-SUNY Oswego students and seniors ages 60 and over; $5 for SUNY Oswego students), stop by any SUNY Oswego ticket outlet, call 312-2141 or visit www.oswego.edu/arts. Sales at the door are cash only.

Parking in campus lots is free on weekends and evenings. Persons with disabilities should contact the Tyler Box Office, 312-2141, ahead of time.