Understanding Brahms through his life, words and music.
Using the 1997 biography Johannes Brahms by Ian Swafford, we'll explore Brahms' life and try and understand his persona as expressed through his music. Select pieces will be incorporated in the discussion, both from an emotional standpoint, and also with a pedagogical lesson plan. Much has been written and speculated about Brahms' relationship with the Schumanns and particularly his love for Clara. We'll explore what is real and what is conjecture, and how Brahms' works may be autobiographical.
Vera Parkin is the founding Artistic Director of the Preparatory Program of the Community Music School of Webster University, a pre-college chamber music based program that prepares the region's most advanced high school instrumental students for college and beyond. A former Artist Presentation Society winner, Vera has been a keyboardist with the St. Louis Symphony since 1986. She is known as an active collaborative pianist with many SLSO musicians, has taught at festivals in Michigan, Colorado and Beirut, Lebanon, and worked as a vocal coach for Opera Theatre of St. Louis' AiT program. A staff accompanist at SIUE and the CMS, Vera is particularly known for her work coaching students. A student of Ruth Slenczynska and Seth Carlin, Vera Parkin was named Music Educator of the Year by the St. Louis Symphony in March, 2011. She was an accompanist for legendary Suzuki string pioneer John Kendall for a decade.