For the past 76 years, the annual Gratwick Concert has brought to campus the most renowned classical musicians. The 76th concert, on Sunday afternoon, April 23, featured pianist Peter Serkin. One of the greatest pianists of his generation, Mr. Serkin actually made his second appearance of the Gratwick series at this most recent concert. He appeared as a member of the chamber music group, Tashi, in 1978. His father, the great pianist, Rudolf Serkin, performed in 1941.
The Gratwick Concert foundation was established by Dr. Mitchell Gratwick, a master at the school, in memory of his wife, Katharine Perkins Gratwick, who was a graduate of the Girls School of 1924. As the program indicates: “Great music greatly rendered in surroundings so beautiful is expressive of Katharine. She loved beautiful things and brought beauty into all that she touched.”
Peter Serkin’s program was a polyphonic masterpiece. He opened with four keyboard pieces from the Renaissiance, the golden age of musical polyphony. Following that he performed two works of Johann Sebastian Bach, concluding with the remarkably difficult Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in D minor. After intermission, the polyphonic theme was heard in one of Beethoven’s last sonatas, and perhaps his most difficult, the Hammerklavier, written toward the end of his life.