Festivale Opening Concert: Pianist Juana Zayas – FREE

Romanza’ presents

Juana Zayas, classical pianist

St. Augustine’s beautiful Cathedral Basilica

Friday, May 3

7:00 pm.

Havana-Born Pianist Juana Zayas
brings her recent concert
from Milan, Italy to St. Augustine, Florida:
A Classical all F minor program!

Friday May 3
at St. Augustine Cathedral Basilica 
38 Cathedral Pl, 32084

This concert is FREE thanks to generous underwriting by Winter Properties, Robert Silverman and The EMMA Concert Association.

Meet the Artist
A native of Havana, Cuba, Juana Zayas practically grew up around the piano. When, at two years of age, she began spontaneously playing tunes on the piano, her mother (herself a pianist) realized she had a child prodigy living under her roof, and so promptly began to teach Juanita herself. At age of 7 Ms. Zayas gave her first recital and, at age 11, graduated with a Gold Medal from the Peyrellade Conservatory with a performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto. Six years later she entered the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, studying piano with Joseph Benvenuti and chamber music with René Le Roy. Upon receiving First Prize in both fields Ms. Zayas went on to earn a Medal with Distinction at the International Geneva Piano Competition.

In Paris Ms. Zayas met future husband Henri, a budding chemist who also happened to be Le Roy’s private flute student. They married in Versailles and soon afterwards moved to Cambridge, England, where Henri continued his sudies in chemistry. In 1966 they emigrated to the United States of America.

Following their arrival in the United States, Juana studied with Adèle Marcus, David Bar-Illan, and Josef Raieff. Though raising her three children limited her concertizing, it did not prevent her from expanding her repertoire and producing several critically-acclaimed recordings. Having emerged from this self-imposed hiatus from the frenetic music scene, Ms. Zayas has returned to the concert stage to glowing reviews and appreciative audiences the world over.

A Steinway artist, Ms. Zayas has given recitals throughout Europe, South America and the United States. She has performed with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Zeeuws Orchestra in the Netherlands, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Radio Televisión Española in Madrid, the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony and Rochester Philharmonic orchestras, among others.

Wherever she has performed critics have invariably remarked on the depth of Ms. Zayas’s artistry. When, in 1977, she performed both sets of the Chopin Etudes at her Alice Tully Hall debut, Ms. Zayas so charmed the legendary New York Times critic Harold Schonberg that he would later declare, “Ms. Zayas turned out to be a Chopinist to the manner born.” Her 1983 release of these notoriously challenging pieces has entered the canon of twentieth century recordings, driving — in Schonberg’s words — “Chopinophiles mad with ecstasy.” In 2001 the Cuban Cultural Center of New York presented Ms. Zayas with the Ignacio Cervantes Medal, its prestigious lifetime achievement award for excellence in classical music. In 2010, her more recent release of the Chopin Etudes earned her the coveted Diapason d’Or Award from the prestigious French Diapason music journal, hailing her as “Une Grande Pianiste”.

In 2011, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of famous conductor Andrzej Markowski, the Markowski Foundation invited Ms. Zayas to perform in Poland. In Łodz she played the Ravel Concerto in G major with the Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Marcin Niesiolowski. At the Sala Koncertowa Filharmonii in Wroclaw she impressed the audience with the sparkling brilliance of several Scarlatti sonatas, “the subtle painting of figures and moods” of Schumann’s Carnaval, and the unique “breadth and nobility of expression” in Chopin’s Sonata in B minor.

Over the past fifteen years Ms. Zayas has often performed at the Sala Verdi of Milan’s Conservatory of Music at the invitation of the prestigious Serate Musicali. She has recorded one of these successful recitals in her recent Soirée Italienne recording — a 2-CD set featuring numerous Italian-inspired works by Bach, Scarlatti, Clementi, Chopin, and Liszt.

Ms. Zayas and her husband now reside in New Jersey.    

The Program

Haydn                                     Andante Variations in F minor                 

Beethoven                              Sonata in F minor, Op. 57 
                                                  Allegro assai
                                                  Andante con moto
                                                  Allegro ma non troppo

* * *
Chopin                                   Fantasy in F minor, Op. 49 
Chopin                                   Etude Op. 10, No. 9
                                              Etude Op. 25, No. 2
Chopin                                   Ballade in F minor, Op. 52

This is a FREE concert. An opportunity will be available to contribute at the door.