September 2, 2014  

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School of Music Pianist to Perform Selections from new CD on March 20

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Elizabeth Moak

On Tuesday, March 20 at 6 p.m. in Marsh Auditorium, University of Southern Mississippi School of Music faculty pianist Elizabeth Moak will showcase pieces by Judith Lang Zaimont in a recital of music from Moak’s newly released CD, “Art, Fire, Soul: Piano Works of Judith Lang Zaimont.” The recital is free and the public is invited.

Moak is an active proponent of the music of her own time. Along with masterworks of past eras, she searches out music that brings forward the piano’s essential acoustic nature but also appeals to, and challenges, a concert artist’s technique and interpretive abilities.

She finds Zaimont’s music to be fresh and idiomatic in this regard, and programs it regularly across the U.S. and Europe. Moak’s continuing acquaintance with Zaimont’s music led naturally to the design of her début solo recording as a 2-disc survey of this composer’s piano works.

“I was honored when the composer called me and asked if I would be interested in recording a 2-CD set of her piano works under her guidance,” said Moak. “I enjoyed having the opportunity to ask the composer questions about the music and to dialogue with her.”

Moak took sabbatical to focus exclusively on this project with Zaimont, MSR Classics and Grammy Award-winning engineer Richard Price. The recording features works for solo piano including five principal compositions, a sampling of the smaller suites, and several stand-alone pieces.

“This project is important to me because it is my first solo recording and it represents the present day and not just something historical, as wonderful as the piano repertoire is,” she said. “As my concerts are usually a mix of the past and present, this recording project and the concert provide the opportunity to not only focus on the present day, but also on one single composer. It’s a wonderful way to see the breadth of a composer.”

Moak has performed throughout the United States in concert and on television and radio, and internationally in Canada, France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria. Solo appearances with orchestra have included concertos by Mozart, Beethoven, Grieg, Ravel and Gershwin. Winner of the Mu Phi Epsilon International Competition and several national competitions, she holds the Diplôme de Virtuosité with highest honors from the Conservatoire de Musique de Neuchâtel in Switzerland and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from Peabody Conservatory, where she studied with Leon Fleisher, Julian Martin and Ann Schein.

Following an eight-year appointment to the music faculty at Millsaps College where she received the Outstanding Young Faculty Award, she joined the piano division at Southern Miss.

“The completeness of the music offerings - orchestra, band, wind ensemble, chorus, opera, jazz, and the multitude of chamber music possibilities for both students and faculty - is what attracted me to Southern Miss.” She said. “Being here has fostered my creativity in ways I never expected.”

For more information, contact the Southern Miss School of Music at 601.266.5543; online, visit www.usm.edu/music