Sunday Salon Mini-Series, Part I: “Small Pieces | Big Statements” — Exploring Chopin’s Nationalistic Piano Works

Sunday, March 5, 2023 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Congregational Church on Mercer Island
4545 Island Crest Way
Mercer Island
WA 98040
$10 for Members / $30 General Admission

Small Pieces | Big Statements: Exploring Chopin’s Nationalistic Piano Works

Portrait of Chopin

The music of Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) has captured the hearts, ears, and emotions of music lovers across generations and geographies. Though many of his works are familiar to broad audiences, Chopin’s mastery and volume of music present even the most avid Chopin enthusiast with beautifully-bottomless intrigue. In part 1 of our 2-part Chopin Sunday Salon Series, Dr. Larry Starr, UW Professor Emeritus of Music History, explores some of Chopin’s nationalistic piano works, illuminating how Chopin’s music was simultaneously a response to his time, ahead of his time, and timeless. LMC pianist Diana Gao will play illustrative musical highlights throughout the talk, followed by a full performance of two sets of Mazurkas — Op. 17 and 24 — and Chopin’s “Heroic” Polonaise No. 6 in A-flat Major, and a Q&A with both Larry and Diana.

Purchase Tickets

Tickets and more event details are found HERE. Tickets are $10 for LMC Members and $30 for General Admission. Part II will be held on Sunday, May 7th and will feature Chopin’s Fantaisie in F minor and Ballade No. 2 in F Major.

Concert Program for the March 5th event can be found here.

About the Presenters

Dr. Larry Starr
Photo: Steve Korn / UW School of Music

Larry Starr holds the title Professor Emeritus of American Music Studies at the University of Washington School of Music, where he taught for more than four decades. He retired from university teaching in 2018, but he continues to speak on music at the Seattle Symphony (pre-concert talks), the Women’s University Club (Seattle), and now the Ladies’ Musical Club. He has written books on Charles Ives’s music, Aaron Copland’s songs, George Gershwin’s Broadway musicals, and most recently Listening to Bob Dylan, and is the coauthor of a textbook on American popular music. Larry’s advisees have gone on to distinguished careers in teaching, research, and arts administration—a noteworthy recent example being Whitney Henderson, LMC’s own Executive Director.

Diana Gao began studying the piano at age 4. She received a bachelor’s degree in International Broadcasting Journalism and a Graduate Diploma in Finance and Investment from top universities in China. Then she moved to the US in 2013 and earned her MBA degree at the University of Washington (UW). She’s now a Senior Marketing Manager at Microsoft. Although she has pursued a career outside of music, the piano has remained aDiana Gao significant mainstay in her life. For years, she has consistently cultivated her passion through regular lessons and performances. She is currently studying with Dr. Robin McCabe from the UW, and she’s a prizewinner in many competitions, including Gold Medalist of the Seattle International Piano Competition, and First Prize in the “Golden Classical Music Awards” International Competition, which earned her a solo performance at the Carnegie Hall. She has also performed at the prestigious Piano Texas International Festival. Since 2020, she has presented annual fundraising recitals through the Microsoft Give campaign, raising thousands of dollars in support of local non-profit organizations. Those events reinforced her belief that music has the power to inspire change and make the world a better place.

2023 Sunday Salon Poster