As promised, the Arizona Senior Academy will see the return of violinist Steven Moeckel and pianist Paula Fan to preview Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto, which Moeckel will be playing with the Phoenix Symphony in November. The ASA recital will be presented on Tuesday (Oct. 2) at 11:30 a.m., featuring, along with the concerto, music of Aaron Copland as well as English folk song arrangements made by Britten for tenor Peter Pears.
Tuesday’s program has an interesting backstory, in that it was inspired by a photo of Britten, Copland and Pears, which accompanied an announcement for a 2011 lecture entitled “Britten in America 1939-1942.”
The announcement read in part: “In the spring of 1939, with the threat of war on the horizon, Britten and Pears boarded a boat from England bound for North America. Intended originally as a short visit, their trip was extended to three years through a combination of Britten and Pears’ noted pacifism, various visa problems, and Britten’s blossoming career in the U.S. During this time in America, Britten would become close friends with composer Aaron Copland and conductor Serge Koussevitzky as well as other luminaries, including Salvador Dali.”
Moeckel and Fan are well-known and beloved performers at the ASA. Formerly concertmaster of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Moeckel has maintained ties to Tucson and the Academy since becoming concertmaster of the Phoenix Symphony and pursuing his international career.
Fan has continued to fit the ASA into her world-wide performance schedule since retiring from the University of Arizona’s Fred Fox School of Music and the TSO. Among her many interests and activities, she is a Senior Fellow of the UA Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry, and is a founding member of the solar powered piano trio Solar Storytellers.
Written by Leslie Nitzberg, Academy Village Volunteer