A Patriotic Classic Reimagined: Pianist Min Kwon’s America/Beautiful Project Comes to Kent
Kent, Ohio — The Kent Keyboard Series continues its 2021-2022 season presenting Min Kwon’s America/Beautiful project, a collaboration with 75 American composers to write variations on “America The Beautiful,” performed by Kwon. A selection of the variations will be presented in Kent State’s Ludwig Recital Hall on March 20 at 7:30 p.m. This will be Kwon’s only Ohio performance of this internationally touring program. Tickets are $10 for adults and free for those 18 and under with a ticket reservation.
The America/Beautiful project was Kwon’s response to the COVID 19 pandemic, working to do something “positive and uplifting” in face of feelings of paralysis and powerlessness. It reimagines the quintessential patriotic piece with influence from a multitude of styles, drawing on ragtime, jazz, tango, Persian, Syrian, Indian, Jewish, and other musical genres and styles to form a unique collection of compositions reflective of the diversity of America. In a July 2021 CNet interview, Kwon said, “I wanted [my daughters] to be able to look back on this time, and not just read about what happened in the White House, or what happened in Minneapolis, or what happened in the courtrooms or in hospital beds. I wanted them to see this, this amazing compendium of American creativity that is so rich in diversity.”
Kwon’s stop in Ohio is the result of her connection to Kent State faculty member Donna Lee. They were in the same master’s program at Juilliard. Kwon says, “Donna was such a lovely human being, friend and colleague. So decades later, when I was planning a tour to introduce my project America/Beautiful, and with whom I wanted to share it first, I thought of Donna and her fine reputation as a teacher and mentor to many young pianists at Kent.”
Part of the trip includes a masterclass featuring Kent State piano students working with Kwon on Monday, March 21 in Ludwig Recital Hall from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. This class is free and open to the public.
Acclaimed pianist Min Kwon is a leading artist, pedagogue, arts advocate and administrator. She is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and holds M.M. and D.M.A. degrees from The Juilliard School. She has won numerous competitions, including Juilliard’s prestigious Gina Bachauer International Piano Award, and collected accolades all over the world. Her varied career has encompassed concerti, solo recitals, and chamber music as well as extensive pedagogy. She has performed in Carnegie Hall as well as Paris, Rome, Vienna, Prague, Madrid, Copenhagen, Seoul, Singapore, Sidney, and numerous other venues. She has held professional engagements in over 60 countries on seven continents and all 50 U.S. states.
Min Kwon is currently Professor of Piano at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, and is founder and director of the Center for Musical Excellence (CME), a nonprofit committed to supporting and cultivating talented young musicians.
Advance single-ticket and subscription orders can be done online, by phone or in person through the Performing Arts Box Office, open Monday through Friday from 12 to 5 p.m. in the Kent State University Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets will also be available one hour before the performance begins. To learn more about purchasing tickets, visit www.kent.edu/music/buy-tickets.
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