Venezuelan Pianist Vanessa Perez Celebrates CD Release              

By Kris Simmons

On May 31, a Chopin and Albéniz performance brought the audience to its feet at Americas Society.

On May 31, pianist Vanessa Perez played a recital of music by Albéniz and Chopin to a packed house at Americas Society. The concert marked the release of Perez’s new CD Chopin: The Complete Preludes, which appeared this month on Telarc.

Perez grew up in a vibrant musical community in Venezuela, where the slogan “There is no culture without musical culture” defines the importance of music. In the birthplace of El Sistema, a publicly financed music education program, Vanessa’s early years were spent with children making music and shaping her identity as a musician. Coming up in El Sistema’s many orchestras, these incubators produced not only a generation of tremendously gifted young conductors—conductor Gustavo Dudamel among others—but also provided abundant concerto opportunities for young soloists. 

Perez has developed an international profile, playing prestigious venues across Latin America, Europe, and the United States. She has performed not only with Dudamel, but also with such top musicians as pianist Ingrid Fliter, cellist Jan Vogler, violinist Colin Jacobsen, and conductors John Axelrod, Enrique Batiz, Eduarto Marturet, and Diego Matheuz.

The program focused on Chopin’s 24 Preludes, Op. 28, a collection of brief pieces of varied length and difficulty. Each piece has its own character, and some have been unofficially named to reflect their unique sentiment. For example, the most famous of the 24 preludes, the No. 15 “Raindrop” prelude, is the longest of the collection and repeats an A-flat, which appears throughout the piece and sounds like raindrops to many listeners.

Due to the collection's fragmented nature and irregular length and difficulty, the Preludes are not seen on the concert stage as frequently as other Chopin pieces. Perez recently remarked: "The way I play this music may not be stereotypically 'beautiful'-it may be more raw than some; I didn't want pretty. I wanted honest." Perez received a standing ovation on Thursday evening and she treated the audience to an encore of Villalobos's O Polichinelo.

Perez will continue her recital tour with concerts in Latin America and the United States. See for more details.

Prelude No. 15, Op.28, "Raindrop Prelude" by Frédéric Chopin

Vanessa Perez, piano

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