Duquesne professors bring the classics to university's PNC Recital Hall
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Adam Liu and David Allen Wehr were discussing what to wear tonight. You know how it is when you want to make a good impression.
They settled on tuxedos with tails.
You, on the other hand, are free to wear whatever you want to tonight's performance of these two classical music professors at Duquesne University's PNC Recital Hall on the Bluff.
"I do this once a semester with David," said Mr. Liu, who has been assistant principal cellist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since 2003. "He is a fantastic musician, a wonderful pianist, and each year he has his own music series. The purpose is to let the music students see world-class classical musicians.
"You have to set examples, set models, so the students can see what they can accomplish in a short period of time. We can also put it on YouTube and put Duquesne University on the world map. There are people all over the world who now know of Duquesne University because of these performances."
Mr. Liu came to the United States from China in 1986. He joined the Duquesne faculty in 2006.
Mr. Wehr came to the university as a professor in 2001.
"One of the luxuries for me, as a faculty member in Pittsburgh, is that I have a hundred or so musicians who are members of the Pittsburgh Symphony -- each one of which is an incredible, fabulous performer -- who enjoy stepping out and doing chamber music, which is a very different experience."
Tonight at 8, they'll be stepping out -- Mr. Liu with his cello and Mr. Wehr with his piano -- at 600 Forbes Ave. A donation of $10 gets you a great seat among the students who are there to learn.
"The faculty recitals are basically whenever we want to perform. It's our option," Mr. Wehr said. "We're performers. This is what we do. But part of it is modeling a professional performing experience for our students."
Steve Groves, manager of musical events for Duquesne University, said the lineup will include works by Bach, Schubert, Beethoven, Astor Piazzolla and David Popper.
"The repertoire we are playing is very standard," Mr. Liu said, "and some of [the pieces] are works that my students are working on."
Mr. Liu said his teaching gig at Duquesne is a perfect complement to his full-time job with the symphony.
"Ever since I was attending university myself, my teachers were doing the same things -- simultaneously performing, traveling and teaching," he said. "It's part of our payback. I learned so much from my teachers, and this is one of the ways that I pay back the debt I owe.
"It's very rewarding. While teaching, of course, I learn from students. Some of them have stronger emotional talent, and some have more technical and mechanical facility with their hand shape and bow speed.
"The main thing is to see them grow. I've seen several students turn pro. That's a reward. You really enjoy seeing them grow into their own career."
The professors will be wearing tails tonight because the recital is being recorded and will be posted on the Internet.
"These performances are seen by tens of thousands of people all over the world, so it's a way Duquesne faculty can get our brand out there, and it's one of the ways that we attract students to come here," Mr. Wehr said.
The audience, of course, can opt for more casual attire.
"The classical music world is slowly, gradually changing," Mr. Liu said. "Fifty, 60 years ago, people were very serious. If you didn't dress up, even in the audience, people would look around and wonder, 'What are you doing here?' Now, no matter where we play, Heinz Hall or Berlin or New York, you see the audience changing. And sometimes the performers are changing.
"The old-time artists would come on stage without a smile and everything was done that way. Now, you see Yo Yo Ma and others and their hair is different, they're smiling."
Expect these two men to be smiling.
"I get to play fantastic music that I really love with a collaborator that I really enjoy working with," Mr. Wehr said. "And as an artist, that's a huge thing right there. To be able to share your art with someone else on stage."
Get a preview of tonight's event!
Adam Liu performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9cJl2XMVQ0
If you have a suggestion for something to do some evening, let us know about it and we'll see if we can get some of our friends to join you. Contact Dan Majors at email@example.com or 412-263-1456.
First Published October 2, 2012 3:28 pm