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Marvelously entertaining, energizing and enlightening piano MUSE/IQUE style

MUSE/IQUE Artistic Director Rachael Worby.
MUSE/IQUE Artistic Director Rachael Worby.Ben Gibbs

MUSE/IQUE's Keys/Unlocked: The Irresistable Power of Piano

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Nowhere but at a MUSE/IQUE concert would audiences be treated to Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Stokovski, Bach, Gershwin, Thelonius Monk and Billy Joel sharing the stage with Charlie Chaplin, Chico Marx and Bugs Bunny. MUSE/IQUE Artistic Director Rachael Worby put these disparate icons into a marvelously entertaining, energizing and enlightening evening devoted to piano music and pianists on Saturday, August 9, 2014.

Caltech’s idyllic Beckman Mall welcomed five remarkable pianists Joanne Pearce Martin and her husband, Gavin Martin, Bryan Pezzone, Alan Steinberger and young prodigy Ray Ushikubo. These 50 fingers demonstrated their virtuosity on two Steinways in an evening of nothing but highlights. They played individually, in duos on two pianos, duos on one piano and in both the opening and closing pieces 20 fingers on one piano and 30 on the other. Wow!

Early in the program a clip from the 1915 Charlie Chaplin short film "A Night in the Show" was shown on two screens, first silently, then twice more with accompaniment by Steinberger, then Pezzione demonstrating the contribution pianists made to and how they enhanced early 1900s silent movie viewing in theaters.

Bugs Bunny was in fine form in his concert cartoon and Chico Marx demonstrated his unique single finger technique in another delightful use of the screens.

In addition to playing, Steinberger composed a stirring homage to Thelonius Monk entitled “Round 11 p.m.” then later in the program performed his classic “Round Midnight.”

Adding 10 more fingers to the invigorating evening piano man Ellis Peters made a surprise appearance getting the audience singing and the musicians dancing to his rendition of Billy Joel's "Piano Man." A grand finale to the splendid, thoroughly satisfying and delightful evening.

Audiences can expect the unexpected at all of MUSE/IQUE’s concerts and events including the final 2014 Summer of Sound offering Earth Quaked: Dance Changes the World featuring the phenomenal tap dancer Savion Glover on Saturday, September 7. Tap requires two instruments: the body and the earth. This simplicity is a mischievous disguise for the whole beauty of human creation. America's genius of dance joins MUSE/IQUE’s counter-culture orchestra to show how it's done. Don’t miss it!

Rusnak Audi Summer of Sound tickets range in price from $20 to $250 with MUSE/IQUE members getting the best seat locations and discounts. Call 626-862-1111 or visit www.muse-ique.org.

Rusnak Audi Summer of Sound is held at Caltech’s Beckman Mall Lawn, located at 332 S. Michigan Avenue.