M State piano student to perform Beethoven [UPDATED]Published 11:08am Wednesday, March 13, 2013 Updated 11:08am Wednesday, March 13, 2013
She sings and plays several instruments, but on April 2, M State- Fergus Falls student Johanna Becker will be featured with her favorite instrument, the piano.
A performance of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy Opus 80 will precede the 21st Annual Bigwood Lecture. The Fantasy composed by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1808 is rich with piano solo, and is accompanied by an orchestra and chorale group.
“The orchestra starts the piece directed by Laurie Strom, then there is a piano solo, and it grows with tension,” said Becker. “The chorus comes in and the theme comes out.”
The chorale sings the Fantasy in German — the language Beethoven wrote it in. It begins:
Graceful, charming and sweet is the sound
Of our life’s harmonies,
and from a sense of beauty arise
Flowers which eternally bloom.
“It is a really an amazingly beautiful piece, though it’s probably one of the more difficult pieces I’ve played,” said Becker.
The M State music major seems up to the challenge. She has been playing piano for nine years, and has already won three music scholarships this year.
“If the song is really hard to play it’s a challenge getting your fingers to move fast,” Becker said. “Mastering a piece is an accomplishment that makes me happy, and I like making a connection with the music.”
Becker shared how she prepares for a big concert.
“I have a theory about being nervous — if you’re not nervous you’re probably too relaxed so it’s better to be a little nervous,” Becker said. “To prepare I warm up my fingers and take deep calming breaths.”
The Long Prairie native will graduate from M State this spring with an AFA in Music. She plans to take a break to consider what she would like to do with her musical talent before continuing on to a four-year university.
The Chamber Chorale is under the direction of M State Choral director Teresa Ashworth and a community chamber orchestra is directed by Laurie Strom.
The Choral Fantasy Opus 80 will start at 7:00 p.m. on April 2 at the M State-Fergus Falls Legacy Hall, preceding the Bigwood Lecture featuring Chris Farrell, senior economics contributor for American Public Media. Farrell will speak on “Work-tirement: How aging boomers will change the way the younger generation thinks about work and the good life.”
The concert and lecture are sponsored by the Fergus Area College Education Foundation and Otter Tail Power Company.