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News from the Hilltop

May 2, 2011

Birmingham-Southern artist-in-residence William DeVan to present retirement recital May 5

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Longtime Birmingham-Southern College Professor of Music and Artist-in-Residence William DeVan will mark his upcoming retirement with a “Celebrating the Beauty of Piano and Music” recital and presentation Thursday, May 5, at 2 p.m. in Hill Recital Hall on campus.Birmingham-Southern artist-in-residence William DeVan

The performance is open to the public, and admission is free.

DeVan is retiring this month after 31 years on the BSC faculty. He will continue to teach individual piano students at the college next academic year.

His final performance as a member of the Birmingham-Southern faculty will include works by J.S. Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt, Maurice Ravel, and Samuel Barber.

“I will talk a little about each work before I play it; I will explain why each piece is important to me,” said DeVan.

DeVan’s retirement recital will include these selections: Prelude and Fugue in C Major, and BWV 870, from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book One, by Bach; first movement of the Sonata in C Major, Opus 2 No. 3, by Beethoven; Capriccio in F-Sharp Minor, Opus 76 No. 1, by Brahms; Etude in A Minor, Opus 25, No. 11, by Chopin; Transcendental Etude “Chasse-neige” by Liszt; Ondine, from the Suite “Gaspard de la Nuit,” by Ravel; and Fugue from the Sonata, Opus 26, by Barber.

An internationally acclaimed pianist, DeVan has toured, appeared in numerous concerts, performed recitals, and presented master classes all over the world, including in the United States, Australia, Croatia, France, Germany, Israel, Canada, China, and Taiwan, among other locations. Just this year, he has played concerts in Paris, Tulsa, Augusta, Ga., and New York City, and given workshops in New York City at the Third Street Music Settlement. He will play in Winston-Salem, N.C., in May, and will be recognized as the Convention Artist at the Georgia Music Teachers annual convention in Columbus, Ga., in November.

DeVan also been invited to return to China this year for the sixth time. He first performed and taught master classes in 2005 in Chengdu, Shen Yang, and Ziamen, China. Each trip to the country has resulted in an invitation to return to perform and lecture. He also has an annual standing invitation to perform and lecture in Paris.

In 2000, DeVan began his “Classics for Children” concert series aimed at introducing youth to the piano and classics. He began the concerts for children in the local Birmingham area, and gradually expanded the performances to locations across the United States.

“One of my favorite things to do is play for children,” DeVan said. “I remember how exciting—and life-changing—it was for me to hear classical music as a child.”

In addition to playing the piano, DeVan discusses the music he’s playing and explains the musical concepts.

A native of Pine Hill, Ala., DeVan received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School. He also studied piano in Germany, receiving the Konzertexamen Diploma in 1979 from the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Theatre in Hannover.

In 1975, he became the only American pianist ever to win the “Vianna da Motta” competition in Libson, Portugal.

A recipient of two Mellon Foundation grants, DeVan is co-author of “Schumann: Solo Piano Literature,” a comprehensive guide to the piano works of Robert Schumann.

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