Performing in Paris has always been a “bucket-list” destination of mine because of the city’s long history and appreciation for art and culture. It was such a surreal experience! I performed a mix of old and new repertory in my fingers: Schubert Klavierstücke in E flat minor, D. 946, Medtner Sonata Triad, Op. 11, Medtner Fairy Tales, Op. 26, selections from Messiaen’s Vingt Regards, and Rzewski’s Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues.
The venue was at The American Church in Paris, the first American church established outside of the United States. The beginnings was traced back to the needs of American Protestants living in France in 1814, who sought a place for worship in their native language. As you can see in the pictures, the stained glass that surrounds the walls of the sanctuary are stunning! I was told that the artwork was made and imported from the U.S. in the early 20th century. Coincidentally, I had a similar idea in presenting a cultural exchange in my programming with the Messiaen, an influential French modern composer, and Rzewski, one of the most important living American composers for the piano. I was pleasantly surprised with the audience's reaction of the Rzewski. It always seems to be a fan-favorite, and I was repeatedly told by audience members afterwards that they never heard or seen a piece like that before! Even though I could not speak any French, I was happy to interact with the audience through the music.
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