When pianist Nadine Shank learned last year that she had Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, a rapidly-progressive, incurable dementia, she responded with her characteristic courage and brilliance by immediately making as much music as time. allowed it. She passed away six months later, but left a beautiful and touching musical gift for her myriad of admirers to remember her.
“Celestial Graces: A Remembrance of Nadine Shank,” a video featuring some of this musical creation, supplemented by archival footage from many concerts Shank shared with his colleagues and friends at the University of Massachusetts, will be released for free. January 31 at 3 p.m. on the YouTube channel of the UMass College of Humanities and Fine Arts, youtube.com/user/umassmusicdance
Shank taught at UMass for 40 years, developing the collaborative piano master’s program there in 1989. The list of students she taught and performed recitals for would fill volumes, and for many. these students, the recitals were the highlights of their university. careers. His discography is extensive and includes almost all of the music written for the classical saxophone, the instrument played by his father. Shank maintained a long-standing interest in the saxophone repertoire and worked closely with fellow UMass, saxophone teacher (retired) Lynn Klock.
Salvatore Macchia, director of the music and dance department at UMass, remembered Shank as “… loved by her students, admired and respected by her colleagues, and dedicated to her role as a teacher, mentor and teacher. ‘interpreter. The loss of Nadine is a blow to the music and dance department at UMass. She will be sorely missed and we will never fill the void she left.
In addition to her many activities at UMass, Shank served the Springfield Symphony Orchestra as a principal pianist from 1984, and she was also a talented soloist. His solo piano talents were born from recordings by Franz Liszt Sonetto 123 del Petrarca, of his Pilgrimage years, and Enrique Granados Goyesca n ° 4, which are included at the end of the video that airs Sunday.
Collaborations with colleagues and recent alumni make up the lion’s share of the concert. With Lynn Klock, Shank plays Paul Maurice’s third movement Provence paintings, and the second movement by Paul Creston Sonata for alto saxophone and piano, works they recorded for the Open Loop label in 1991. With Klock UMass’ successor, Professor Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, Shank plays Baljinder Singh Sekhon Slope, during a concert recorded in 2019.
With her fellow pianists Estela Olevsky and Gilles Vonsattel, Shank plays two of Dvorak’s brilliants Slavic dances for piano duo and two by Mozkowski Spanish dances. There are musical theater numbers (Sondheim’s I rememberand Harnick’s Will he love me? sung by Roxanne Welch), art songs (Poulenc’s Fresh Air sung by Jamie-Rose Guarrine), two movements by Saint-Saëns Sonata for clarinet played by Hannah Berube, UMass ’13, and more.
Complying with the restrictions placed on participants in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic made the project all the more difficult, but Shank’s wish to quickly create a musical legacy of beauty and joy in the face of his own personal tragedy grew. achieved despite the obstacles, and the virtual concert on January 31 is the result.
Daniel Madsen’s videography and the tireless organizational and post-production work of Shank’s husband David Nielsen and others brought the project to fruition and created a beautiful memory of this vibrant and brilliant musician, which was taken from us far too soon.
The concert broadcast is free and will be a unique event. Some selections will remain posted on the YouTube channel.
Donations are encouraged to the new Nadine E. Shank Piano Endowment Fund.