Local pianist performs Beethoven sonatas at Sweet Briar’s Gager Concert

March 24, 2017 | Janika Carey

Sweet Briar’s final Gager Concert of the semester will feature four Beethoven piano sonatas performed by Lexington-based pianist, composer, organist and teacher Jonathan Cook. The free event takes place at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 2, in Memorial Chapel.

Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook

The first half of the program will consist of two early Beethoven sonatas written in immediate succession: the stormy “Pathétique” Sonata in C minor, Op. 13, will be followed by the light and whimsical Sonata in E, Op. 14. The second half of the program will feature the expansive, four-movement Sonata in A-flat, Op. 26, which opens with a theme and variations and includes a funeral march. The program will conclude with the iconic “Farewell” Sonata in E-flat, Op. 81a.

Cook first learned and performed the sonatas in his formative teenage years. A classical pianist, he was recently featured as a guest artist at the University of Michigan, Washington and Lee University, Garth Newel Music Center, and in the Distinguished Alumni Recital Series at Western Michigan University. He also performed Manuel de Falla’s “Noches en los jardines de España” with the Rockbridge Symphony under the baton of Mark Taylor.

Along with his love of the great classical composers, Cook is an avid proponent of contemporary music. He enjoys improvising and composing, especially electronic music. Cook received his Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance and music composition from Western Michigan University in 2009, and his Master of Music in piano performance from the University of Michigan in 2011.

For more information, email Anna Billias at abillias@sbc.edu.

The Janet Lowrey Gager Community Concert Series is made possible by the support of Forrest Gager, in memory of his wife, Janet, who served as Sweet Briar’s director of public relations. The series features classical music from around the world performed by Sweet Briar College faculty and students, as well as guest artists.

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