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Eric Nyland, piano

18 Oct Posted by in Schedule | Comments
Eric Nyland, piano

Eric Nyland is a pianist (ARCT, LRCM) and actor (BFA, CAEA). For twenty years, Eric has worked professionally in theatre, film, voiceover, music, and music pedagogy throughout Canada. He runs a private teaching studio in Calgary and is a member of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators’ association. He serves as the provincial piano competition convenor for the Alberta Registered Music Teachers’ association, and works as an active festival adjudicator at all levels. Eric developed and taught two courses for Mount Royal University (Introductory Keyboard for Adults – Learn to Read, and Play by Ear/improvisation), and served as the musical director for the long-form theatre improvisation duo One Lions (winner, Best Show at Vancouver international Improv festival, 2016). He has served as the piano program coordinator, vocal coach, and pianist at Cassa Musical Arts. In 2015, Eric appeared as soloist in Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto for the inaugural concert of the Calgary Arts Orchestra, and in 2016 he served as composer, music director, and lead actor in Armin Wiebe’s The Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven Blatz for the station Arts Centre. He has studied with Linda Kundert, Dr. Lillian Upright, and Dr. Irena Kofman, and has taken masterclasses from Dr. Jennifer Snow, Dr. Jacques Despres, and Dr. Ludmilla Lazar. 

I am looking forward to sharing with you two works that I love and admire. I admire Bach’s G major Toccata for its brilliance and charm, and cascading celebration, interrupted by and then overcoming a grieving middle movement. I love Franck’s Prelude, Choral, et Fugue for its inevitability, complexity, and its meditation on its own confusion and pain (so often away from the beat), which intensifies throughout the work, until it melts into wonder. There are structural similarities between the works that I think are fun, for those who might be interested: Franck’s Prelude, Choral, et Fugue was inspired by Bach. I feel that the parallels between Franck’s work and Toccata form are striking: Franck apparently only inserted the middle Choral movement after an initial effort to write a striaght-up prelude and fugue. And as a result today’s two works display nearly parallel movement styles, textures, and tempi with one another (even if the moods could not be more different at their beginnings!).

Both compositions also employ material and motives taken from the first movements in the creation of their final movement fugues, which makes them each in some sense cyclical: The Bach pulls its cascading scales from its prelude to form part of the subject of its fugue, and the Franck uses the same rhythmic and melodic ideas found in both the prelude and the choral for the countersubjects (if you will) of its fugue. This helps lend unity and direction to these adventurous works: if you find yourself moving along in the program thinking “something sounds familiar,” you are correct. Further, if you care to think of the program as an inverted pyramid, expanding in harmonic and rhythmic scope as it returns to forms offered earlier, you’re hearing something that I feel is on offer today. -Eric Nyland

This concert is the fourth in a Series of five Piano Concerts during 2023 generously sponsored by: