"By the time I was 10, I knew I wanted to be a concert pianist," said musician Elizabeth Joy Roe.
On Friday, Feb. 5, Roe will join the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in MasterWorks III — “Schumann Romance,” presented by Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance.
Romance streams from the music of legendary composers Clara and Robert Schumann, whose work TSO Musical Director George Hanson will conduct at St. Andrew’s Church.
Roe will perform Clara Schumann’s “Piano Trio in G Minor.” Although separated by time, Roe and Clara Schumann share similarities in their musical paths.
Roe, a soloist who “switched from the violin to the piano at age 6 and fell in love,” will have ample opportunity to demonstrate how she “took an instant preference to the keyboard over the fingerboard,” or violin, during her Trio performance.
Pianist-composer Clara Schumann produced the Trio while unable to tour in the winter of 1845 due to her pregnancy with her fourth child. Although her first movement at times could be mistaken for her husband’s work, her later movements were clearly her own. She was at the height of her compositional powers, and the piano had always dominated her life – playing a Mozart concerto at age 8.
Coincidently, Roe’s first classical album was a disc of “Mozart Concerti.” She stated her “musical affinities include Baroque, Classic and Romantic eras.” The latter includes Robert Schumann, whose Piano Concerto will also
be performed during MasterWorks III and is reflective of Roe’s philosophy.
“Music is one of those marvelously all-encompassing things that captures life in all it mundaneness and profundity; it can conjure up very specific images as well as the abstract and ineffable,” Roe said. “For this phenomenon alone I find music endlessly fascinating.”
The third Schumann composition on the program is Robert Schumann’s “Overture, Scherzo and Finale, Op. 52.” Delighted with the success of his First Symphony, in 30 days he wrote this overture which lacks only a third movement to be called a symphony. Clara Schumann greatly encouraged Robert Schumann in much of his composing, and so it is fitting that her own talent is also displayed in this program.
If you go
What: MasterWorks III – Schumann Romance
When: Friday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. with a pre-concert informative chat at 7 p.m.
Where: St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte
Cost: $33 per person