William and Mary concert series presents acclaimed duo

sbirkenmeyer@vagazette.com

Each year, the Ewell Concert Series at the College of William and Mary celebrates a variety of musical styles spanning centuries. Its latest concert mixes things up with a song recital featuring the duo of baritone Thomas Meglioranza and pianist Reiko Uchida.

“We try and present a true variety of music and musicians from around the world and multiple eras,” said Christopher DeLaurenti, assistant professor of music at William and Mary and director of the Ewell Concert Series’ current season. “The Meglioranza-Uchida concert fulfills an important and remarkable niche in our concert series.”

The event features compositions from Hugo Wolf, Gabriel Fauré and Charles Ives alongside 19th-century parlor songs.

“What’s remarkable about the program is it’s not just a generic classical song recital,” DeLaurenti said.

Although Meglioranza and Uchida will perform Beethoven arrangements, the selections gravitate to his lesser-known English and Irish folk compositions.

“This is a side of Beethoven that people aren't going to know or expect to hear,” he said.

The performers released three albums together, covering Franz Schubert songs and French melodies. Traditionally, the singer is the star in such situations, but Meglioranza insists on equal billing for his pianist.

“They are true collaborators in every sense of the word,” DeLaurenti said, lauding the way in which Uchida’s instrumental melodies play off of Meglioranza’s baritone expressions. “She is as probing and sensitive an accompanist as you will find anywhere.”

The committee behind the concert series eyed the duo for some time before the stars and busy schedules aligned.

“With any concert, my hope is that they hear a trove of songs that they had not heard before; that they hear the side of a familiar composer that turns out to be really unfamiliar and yet interesting,” DeLaurenti said. “And I hope that as always, there’s something to talk about.”

Want to go?

The Ewell Concert Series presents Thomas Meglioranza and Reiko Uchida 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Ewell Hall, 221 Jamestown Road. Admission is $5 or free with William and Mary ID. No advance tickets.

Birkenmeyer can be reached by phone at 757-790-3029.

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