University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

ARCHIVE: World-Renowned Pianist Showcased at the Hillman Series

November 14, 2007

Anton NelBelton, Texas - The Department of Music at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor continues its stellar season of the Hillman Visiting Artist Series with world-renowned pianist, Anton Nel, in Hughes Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 29. Nel will perform works from the great virtuoso tradition including Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy, for which he won the highly coveted Naumburg Award, Granados' Allegro de Concierto, Schumann's Carnival from Vienna, Beethoven's E Minor Sonata, and selections from Debussy's breathtaking Preludes.

Anton Nel, winner of the first prize in the 1987 Naumburg International Piano Competition enjoys a remarkable and multifaceted career that has taken him throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, and South Africa. Recent highlights in the US include performances with the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Symphonies of San Francisco, Boston, and Detroit. He has an active repertoire of more than 100 works for piano and orchestra, including the newly discovered Third Concerto by Felix Mendelssohn of which he gave the North American premiere in November of 1997.

His coast-to-coast recital appearances have included numerous performances on the Great Performers at Lincoln Center series in New York, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, as well as the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena. A favorite at summer festivals he has performed with the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival, at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, as well as at the Aspen and Blossom Music Festivals (where he is on the artist-faculties), among many others. Over the years he has regularly collaborated with some of the world's foremost artists including members of the Juilliard and Cleveland Quartets, and cellist Zara Nelsova. With acclaimed violinist Sarah Chang he recently completed a highly successful tour of Japan as well as appearing at a special benefit concert for Live Music Now in London, hosted by HRH the Prince of Wales.

In addition to concerts throughout North America and his sixteenth tour of South Africa (where he will perform the Beethoven Concerto cycle in Cape Town), he will be making return visits to Japan and France as well as undertake his debut tour of Korea during the 2002-3 season. Stephen Paulus has recently completed a new Piano Concerto for Mr. Nel, and the world premiere will take place in New York in March. He has three solo CDs (including a recital disc for EMI) as well as several chamber music recordings to his credit.

Following an auspicious debut at the age of twelve with Beethoven's C Major Concerto after only two years of study, the Johannesburg native captured first prizes in all the major South African competitions while still in his teens, toured his native country extensively and became a well-known radio and television personality. A student of Adolph Hallis, he made his European debut in France in 1982, and in the same year graduated with highest distinction from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He came to the United States in 1983 attending the University of Cincinnati, where he pursued his Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees under Bela Siki and Frank Weinstock. In addition to garnering many awards from his alma mater during this three-year period he was also a top prizewinner at the 1984 Leeds International Piano Competition in England and won several first prizes at the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition in Palm Desert in 1986.

Eager to pursue dual careers in teaching and performing he was appointed to the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin at the age of 23, followed by professorships at the Eastman School of Music, and the University of Michigan, where he was chairman of the piano department. In September 2000, Anton Nel was appointed as the Priscilla Pond Flawn Regents Distinguished Professor of Piano and Chamber music at the University of Texas at Austin. Since his return he has been the recipient of both the Austin-American Statesman's Critics Circle Award for his performance of the Rachmaninov Second Concerto, as well as the University Cooperative Society/College of Fine Arts award for extra-curricular achievement. He was also recently appointed Visiting "Extraordinary" Professor at the University of Stellenbosch, and continues to teach master classes worldwide.

This concert is made possible through the generous support of the Helen Frances Hillman Fund for Scholarly Exchange. The Hillman Visiting Artist Recital Series is underwritten by The Helen Frances Hillman Fund for Scholarly Exchange. The fund was established in 1999 by Dr. Jimmye S. Hillman in honor of his wife, Helen Frances Smith Hillman, Mary Hardin-Baylor Class of 1946. The fund was designed to foster scholarly exchange at UMHB, particularly in the area of fine arts, music and languages.

All performances in the Hillman Visiting Artist Series are free and open to the public. For more information please call the College of Visual and Performing Arts at 254- 295-4678.