Ciro Fodere performs in Black Box Theatre

Jordan Kirby, Staff Writer

Award-winning pianist, Ciro Fodere, played in the FMU Performing Art Center’s (PAC) Black Box Theatre on Nov. 2 as part of FMU’s Artist Series.

Dr. Paolo Gualdi, associate professor of music at FMU, said the Artist Series strives to bring the best performers to the PAC. Prior to the performance, Gualdi provided context for each piece that Fodere played.

Fodere opened his performance with “Le Baiser d l’Enfant Jésus” by Olivier Messiaen. According to Gualdi, Messiaen’s piece was the hardest to understand. Fodere said Messiaen wrote the piece during the modern music period. During this period, musicians were experimenting with writing music that was more philosophical and mathematical at the expense of beauty, according to Fodere. Messian’s piece had unique harmonies but a recognizable melody, Fodere said.

Fodere began the second half of his performance with Maurice Ravel’s “Oiseaux Tristes” an impressionist piece composed to evoke the image of sad birds chirping, according to Gualdi. Fodere said the impressionists wrote music that sounded beautiful but broke the traditional rules of music writing.

“The harmonies and the colors really became a prominent part of their writing,” Fodere said.

Fodere closed the night with Sergei Rachmainoff’s “Sonata No. 2.” Gualdi said “Sonata No. 2” provided Fodere an opportunity to display the extent of his technical ability.

“It’s a very, very immense piece in the best way possible,” Gualdi said.

FMU music major Blake Avery has been to several pianist performances at the PAC, but said Fodere’s was phenomenal.

Relating to the audience is important when performing, Fodere said.

“If you hear a bunch of notes and you don’t get rhythm, you don’t get harmony or you don’t get a melody, then you are just thrown off,” Fodere said.

This was Fodere’s first performance in the Black Box Theatre. Fodere said he loved playing up close to the audience. According to Fodere, pianists can lose their connection to the audience in larger theaters.

“It was such a beautiful opportunity to play more intimately,” Fodere said.

As a soloist, Fodere has won a number of awards and traveled around the globe with numerous symphonies. However, Fodere said living the life of a soloist left him missing a sense of community.

“I got to taste the true soloist life, and I wasn’t impressed,” Fodere said “As good as the audience can be to you, many of them will just go away and you don’t have any contact.”

Fodere currently teaches at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Fla.

“It’s rewarding to teach, because you know what they are going through, because you went through it, too,” Fodere said.