Programs - Kevin Kenner

The Hero's Journey

A Musical Excursion

The Hero's Journey
  • J.S. Bach  "Capriccio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother", BWV 992
  • Franz Schubert Fantasy in C major "Wanderer", D. 760
  • Franz Liszt  Ballade No.2, S. 171
  • L. van Beethoven Sonata in A-flat, Op.110

From the womb to the tomb, every human being undertakes a journey, a path filled with adventures, perils, ordeals and thresholds.  It is the journey of a hero, and the story of this journey has been continuously retold and preserved in every corner of the world since the beginning of human history in its varied forms: in myths, folklore, religion, literature, theatre and film, the visual arts, dance and music.

According to the late scholar and mythographer Joseph Campbell, there is ultimately just one story, which he coined the “monomyth”, that forms the basis of all other stories. And it is the function of the artist to convey to us the powerful messages of this great story in his/her own particular artistic language.

Even some of music’s most basic structures allude to the hero’s journey.  The classical sonata-allegro form, for instance, is constructed according to the pattern of a journey: When an initial proposition (Theme I) is confronted with a contrasting proposition (Theme II), a journey commences in which materials of both are examined, reshaped, interwoven and developed, often transporting the listener to distant, unstable tonal centers (Development), but inevitably returning to the original propositions in a state of resolution (Recapitulation).

"The Hero’s Journey" program consists of masterworks by the great keyboard composers — Bach, Schubert, Liszt and Beethoven — each exploring the theme in diverse ways: from an actual journey to be embarked upon by Bach’s brother in which both the dangers that commonly plagued long journeys as well as the heartache of separation from loved ones is recounted, to Schubert’s Romantic wanderer confronted by life's hard existential questions, to Liszt’s alleged allusion to the story of the tragic hero Leander who perishes in his quest for love, to the sublimely spiritual odyssey depicted in Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 110 in which the hero, having fathomed the depths, attains transcendent bliss.

Kyung-Wha Chung & Kevin Kenner

Violin & Piano Duo

Kyung-Wha Chung & Kevin Kenner Project

In 2011, Kevin Kenner was invited to join legendary violinist Kyung-Wha Chung in her first duo-recital in nearly 10 years. And shortly the music world will be able to hear the fruits of their new collaboration. This season will include performances of a wide range of repertoire, including major works of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Franck and Prokofieff.

The Historical Chopin

The Historical Chopin Project

In new versions of the Piano Concertos arranged jointly by Kevin Kenner and composer/cellist Krzysztof Dombek, Kenner plunges into the authentic sound world of the early 19th century performing on a period piano together with the Casal Quartet, whose recordings on original instruments have brought them worldwide acclaim. The ensemble is joined by Grzegorz Frankowski on double bass, member of the Capella Cracoviensis and long time collaborator with Kevin Kenner in projects from Bach to Piazzolla.


Kevin Kenner & The Piazzoforte String Quintet

The Piazzoforte Project

The well-known music critic Colin Cooper wrote: "Piazzolla's tangos are like Chopin's Mazurkas. They will live as long as music continues to be appreciated as a means of expressing human emotions: sorrow, nostalgia, depression, passion and the joyous spirit."

Although the roots of Chopin's music are very different from Piazzolla's, the deep emotion, intimacy, and expressiveness both these composers share links them together in a novel way. Both Chopin and Piazzolla looked to their native folk traditions for inspiration. Both were gifted instrumentalists and improvisers whose compositions reflect this ability. And both share an affinity for the nostalgic and melancholic aspects of music, perhaps related to their emigration from their homeland.

In this emotionally charged programme, Kenner joins forces with Piazzolla specialist Grzegorz Frankowski and his quintet to create an unforgettable evening of passion and romance.


The Art of Water

The Hydra Project

The significance of water to humans is boundless. Its presence is ubiquitous. To see a river [is] to be swept up in a great current of myths and memories that [is] strong enough to carry us back to the first watery element of our existence in the womb. As a celebration of water, "Hydra" takes the form of a multi-media piano recital accompanied by prose, poetry, and a digital display of the finest paintings inspired by water throughout history.

The very nature of water, as preserver of as well as destroyer of life, and in its various metaphorical connections to love, fertility, purification, the cycle of life, and the depths of the unconscious, are all alluded to in this richly stimulating encounter which can be enjoyed on many different levels.

The musical selections, which include works by Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Ravel, Szymanowski, Smetana, Janacek, Leschetitsky and Norwegian composer Alf Hurum are interspersed with texts, some of which have provided direct inspiration for the accompanying compositions. The paintings span 500 years of water-related artworks, including a painting specially commissioned for "Hydra" by Polish painter Jakob Bochen

15 Scenes

from the Life of Chopin

The Chopin Project

"15 Scenes from the Life of Chopin" is an entertaining and enlightening journey into the very mind and soul of one of the greatest masters of the piano. This multi-media presentation was created in 1999 to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Chopin's Death. Since its inception it has become one of Kevin Kenner's most popular presentations and has been translated into English, German and Japanese.

The selected scenes revisit all the significant milestones in Chopin's life but also interestingly reveal the less conspicuous aspects of Chopin's character. Paintings exhibited also depict the diverse faces of the master, and the accompanying musical selections draw from both his most popular works to pieces which are rarely ever heard in recitals, including his first known composition written as a seven-year old. As a composer whose music transcends all stylistic classifications and whose character was rarely understood by his contemporaries, this production offers a window into one of the most enigmatic personalities of the 19th century.