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Bethlehem, Pa., June 5, 2007— Robert and Jo Pearce will open their Emmaus, Pa. home for the third concert of Moravian College’s At-Home Steinway Series, which will feature their daughter, pianist Joanne Pearce Martin of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The Pearce family will be joined by co-hosts George and Susan Boyer on Friday, June 22 to present the program titled, “A Steinway Story.” After a guest reception, soprano Susan Boyer will perform with Martin during the program that will begin at 7 p.m. The At-Home Steinway Series was initiated in 2005 to assist the Moravian College Music Department to develop into an all-Steinway piano facility.
Martin, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s principal keyboardist, performs with the orchestra on numerous keyboard instruments, including the celesta and Macintosh computer, in addition to the piano. She performs all over the world as soloist, chamber musician, and recording artist. She has made numerous solo appearances with the L.A. Philharmonic on piano, harpsichord, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ—appearing as a soloist in the last three Hollywood Bowl seasons.
A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Martin has appeared in recitals with world renowned artists, such as violinists Joshua Bell and Joseph Silverstein, pianists Emmanuel Ax, Yfim Bronfman, and cellist Lynn Harrell.
Martin has performed at many summer music festivals, including those in Aspen and Sarasota, and on concert series spanning four continents. Numerous Southern California appearances include those on the L.A. Philharmonic's Green Umbrella and Chamber Music Society series, with Camerata Pacifica, Pacific Serenades, and the South Bay Chamber Music Society, and at the Ojai, Mainly Mozart, and San Louis Obispo Mozart Festivals.
This season, Joanne and her husband Gavin Martin continue to perform the two-piano repertoire in concert. Her playing has been described by the Los Angeles Times as possessing "unusual fervor and fluency." She has performed on all the major U.S. television networks and recorded commercially for Centaur, Summit, and Albany records, as well as the Yamaha Disklavier Piano. Martin has been featured on National Public Radio and has made appearances on a variety of U.S. television networks including a half-hour feature on The Learning Channel.
Born in Allentown, Pa., Martin has performed locally with the Allentown Symphony, the Allentown Band, the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra, and the Pennsylvania Sinfonia. Her connection with Moravian College stems from her first concerto performance when at age 13 she played a Beethoven Piano Concerto with the Moravian College Community Orchestra (Donald Speith conducting). At the tender age of 8, Joanne flew to England to play a solo program of Bach and Chopin in the magnificent Huddersfield Town Hall, home of the “The Pearce Prize” established by Joanne’s great uncle, a nationally known organist and composer.
Dr. Allan Birney, of Allentown, was her first piano teacher. Eleanor and Vladimir Sokoloff of Philadelphia trained her during the 5-year scholarship at The Curtis Institute of Music
The At-Home Steinway Series was established by the Moravian College Music Alliance, a support group for the College’s music programs, to raise funds for the music department to purchase new pianos and to further Moravian’s effort to become an all-Steinway campus. The series features `historic and concert instruments in some of the Lehigh Valley’s most beautiful homes.
Last year, Richard Groman ’78 hosted Moravian College’s At-Home Steinway Series. The program, titled “The Age of Mechanical Music,” showcased Groman’s antique 1910 Technola Player Piano and 1929 Knabe Ampico Reproducing Piano. Sharing the spotlight was a 2006 Steinway & Sons Opus piano provided by Jacobs Music Company of Philadelphia and its local store in Whitehall, Pa., which has worked closely with the College in pursuit of Moravian’s all-Steinway campus project. Jane Schultz hosted the first At-Home Steinway Series in 2005 that featured a performance by Moravian music alumni, and a garden reception at her home in Center Valley. Her piano is a 1901 Steinway grand with an apple-green French rococo case designed by J.B. Tiffany. The finish is enhanced by gilt scrollwork and faux-18th-century scenes of nymphs and shepherds in the manner of French painters Watteau and Fragonard.
The reason for the all-Steinway campus project is explained by Dr. Paula Ring Zerkle, chair of Moravian’s Music Department. “Piano proficiency is required of music majors, and the pianos in our studios and practice rooms are in constant heavy use. For more than 150 years, Steinway & Sons pianos have been appreciated by musicians for their tone and evenness of action, while their workmanship and longevity have been valued by owners and caretakers.”
“Through the generosity of individuals, foundations, corporations, and the Moravian College Music Alliance, eleven new Steinway pianos grace the stages of Foy Hall and Peter Hall, faculty studios, and practice rooms. Proceeds from the At-Home Steinway Series will be used for matching funds, allowing Moravian College to provide first-class instruments for practice and performance. It also opens some of the Lehigh Valley’s finest homes to showcase their heirloom pianos and concert instruments.”
In addition to Jacobs Music Company, the At-Home Steinway Series is sponsored by Rob-Win Press Inc. of Allentown, Jacobs Music Company, Allen Organ Company, and Nazareth Music Center.
Invitations to Music Alliance members went out in April. Tickets for the event are $150 each or $250 per couple. Others interested in attending should request an invitation from 610 861-1371.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.