74.9 F
Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, March 22, 2023


March 5, 2004 – Pianist Kevin Sharpe, who will perform as soloist on Wednesday in the final presentation of this season's Classics in the Garden series, has won critical acclaim for his interpretation of the Old Masters and an appreciative following for his championing of the works of 20th century black composers.
The audience in Tillett Gardens on Wednesday night will experience both, in a program that opens with the music of J.S. Bach and includes a piece by African-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.
Shape has been hailed for his "precise touch" and "strong individual voice" in formal recitals at such venues as the Kennedy Center and Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall. He also has drawn praise for his informal recitals and "informances." His repertoire ranges from Bach, Chopin, Mozart, Schubert and Liszt to George Gershwin and Scott Joplin and his own arrangements of works by Fats Waller.
His performance of Bach's "Goldberg Variations" prompted praise from a New York Times critic who wrote that his "rock-steady progress through this complex music reflected both understanding and command."
Sharpe began studying piano at the age of 12 at the Newark School of the Arts. After graduating from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, he went on to get his master's and doctorate of music degrees at Indiana University, where he studied under Menahem Pressler, distinguished pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio. Pressler has said of Sharpe that "his playing has true brilliance."
In 1991, Sharpe won the top prize at the Johann Sebastian Bach International Piano Competition in Washington, D.C. He also has received the Oberlin Conservatory Rudolph Serkin Prize and first place in the National Association of Negro Musicians Competition and the National Young Artists Piano Competition.
Today, he is associate professor of piano and chamber music at the University of Florida in Gainesville and a member of the Florida Arts Trio, while also maintaining an active schedule as a guest soloist. He performs frequently with orchestras in Florida, Atlanta, the Washington, D.C., area, Chicago, New Jersey and New York. Internationally he has appeared in Mexico, Argentina, Iceland, Finland, the Czech Republic and Hong Kong.
In 2000, he received the University of Florida College of Fine Arts "Teacher of the Year Award."
The first half of Wednesday's program comprises Bach's French Suites in D major and G major, and the Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in D major. Following intermission, Sharpe will perform Coleridge-Taylor's "Scenes from an Imaginary Ballet," Opus 74. He will close out the recital with George Gershwin's beloved "Rhapsody in Blue," transcribed for solo piano by Gershwin himself.
"This program truly has something for everyone," Roger Lakins, Arts Alive executive director, said. He noted that there were no major works by J.S. Bach in the three previous Classics in the Garden programs presented by Arts Alive this season. "Sharpe enjoys an enviable reputation as a Bach performer and scholar," he added.
Lakins also said that Sharpe "is doing a service to the memory of the composer as well as the audience" by giving exposure to the Coleridge-Taylor work. And he opined that the Gershwin classic "could very possibly be the greatest work by an American composer."
Sharpe's solo CD "Introducing Kevin Sharpe, Pianist," released in 2000, features "Scenes from an Imaginary Ballet," along with works by Respighi, Mendelssohn and Ravel.
Concert information
Wednesday's performance in Tillett Gardens will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30, with a limited number of complimentary admissions available to students by advance arrangement. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Tillett Gallery and will be available the night of the performance; they also may be purchased using a charge card by calling 775-1929. Seating is numbered, and reservations — by calling the same number — are recommended.
An optional pre-performance dinner with concert seating at tables is an additional $30 including gratuity but not beverage service. The three-course dinner is catered by Alex Treml of Bella Blu. Reservations — also to 775-1929 — are required.

Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.