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Grammy-nominated pianist Petronel Malan to kick-off artist series

August 25, 2005

The first performance of the Guest Artist Series, sponsored by the Department of Music at Abilene Christian University, will feature Grammy-nominated pianist Petronel Malan of South Africa on Thursday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. in the Williams Performing Arts Center Recital Hall. The performance is free and open to all.

South African pianist Petronel Malan is an exclusive recording artist for the internationally recognized Hänssler Classic label. Her debut disc "Transfigured Bach: The Complete Bach Transcriptions of Bartok, Lipatti and Friedman," was nominated for three Grammy awards, including "Best Instrumental Solo Album 2004."

"She is one of a handful of young virtuosos who command an international presence," said Dr. Greg Straughn, chair of the Department of Music.

Malan will also hold a master class for pianists on Fri., Sept. 2 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the WPAC Recital Hall.  This special session is open to the public, and Malan will be sharing her thoughts on piano technique, interpretation and pedagogy.  

The performance will be the first of five in this year's Guest Artist Series.

"In addition to introducing our music majors to top performers, the series allows the department to involve and interest the music-loving community of Abilene who might not get a chance to hear this music in other venues in town," Straughn said. "Audiences can look forward to inspiring performances by world-class musicians."

All performances will be held in the Williams Performing Arts Center Recital

Hall on the ACU campus.  Tickets to all performances are free, but must be reserved in advance by calling 325-674 2199.

Other artists that will be featured in the 2005-2006 series include Helen Tintes-Scheurmann, a mezzo soprano from North Carolina performing  Sept. 26 at 8 p.m.; the, husband/wife piano duo of Du Huang and Xiao Hu performing  Jan. 26, and the So Percussion ensemble performing  Feb. 24. Also part of the series is a music department alumni concert on Nov. 7 featuring ACU's alumni musicians.

About Petronel Malan
Born into a political family in South Africa, Malan inherited her musical gifts from her mother, an opera singer, with whom she began piano lessons at age four.  Considered the "last prodigy" of the late Adolph Hallis, Malan debuted with the Johannesburg Symphony at the age of ten, won her first national gold medal at age twelve and the first international gold at age fourteen in the Third International Piano Competition in Marsala, Sicily. At seventeen, she was the youngest musician ever to be awarded the SABC Music Prize in South Africa, the country's most prestigious competition; and she eventually immigrated to the United States for further studies under Joseph Stanford, Steven de Groote and Ralph Votapek.

Malan now makes her home in the United States and appears both in recital and with orchestras on a regular basis.  She continues to make orchestral, recital and chamber music appearances on four continents with upcoming appearances in Japan, Canada, the Czech Republic, Great Britain and an extended tour of South Africa.

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