From October 16 – 20, the 2012 San Antonio International Piano Competition hosts the first performances of Paul Moravec’s new piano work Upsparkles.
Upsparkles is a five-minute piece which was commissioned by the competition, and serves as this year’s featured new work that will be performed by the contestants. Moravec notes that Upsparkles was inspired by his fascination with “the culture of Occupy Wall Street,” which began one year ago. He continues, “While witnessing a General Assembly in Zucotti Park [in lower Manhattan’s Financial District] in early October 2011, I was charmed at the sight of a particular hand signal used by the participants to indicate approval. [Playwright] Eve Ensler reported in the Huffington Post on October 10, 2011: ‘There are certain hand signals that are used in the group to signify response. My favorite is the signal for agreement, or something you like a lot. People lift their hands and wiggle their fingers. This has come to be called Upsparkles.’ [So,] I applied this finger-wiggling motion to the piano keyboard. The physical gesture naturally results in the rapid four-note motive (ascending for the left hand, descending for the right hand) which yields most of the musical material in this brief, energetic etude.”
For a look at Moravec’s inspiration, the composer has supplied the following visual link – click here to learn more.
More Moravec happenings: On October 2, the newly formed Mannes American Composers Ensemble (MACE) gives its inaugural concert and offers the New York premiere of the composer’s Capitol Unknowns, conducted by music director Lowell Liebermann. On October 14, Moravec’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work Tempest Fantasy will be featured in performance by Music From Copland House, the resident ensemble of Copland House – the national landmarked-home of Aaron Copland. Tempest Fantasy was also recently performed as part of the September 2012 season-opening concert of the Trinity Church (Wall Street) mini-festival of new music. September also brought pianist Anthony de Mare’s continuing tour of Moravec’s I Think About You, which was commissioned as part of de Mare’s “Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim” project; and, Moravec, himself, recently took to the keyboard and joined soprano Carole Farley at the New York Chamber Music Festival in a performance of his Vita Brevis at Symphony Space.