Pianists Close Tcca's Silver Anniversary Season

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The 25th anniversary season of Tonto Community Concerts will close with a performance by award-winning pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi and his wife, Emanuela Friscioni. The performance will be at 7 p.m. Friday, April 2 at the Payson High School auditorium.

Praised as a "pianistic messiah," by the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Pompa-Baldi emerged from the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition with a coveted silver medal as well as the Phyllis Jones Tilley Memorial Award for the Best Performance of a New Work.

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Antonio Pompa-Baldi and his wife, Emanuela Friscioni, will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, April 2 in the Payson High School auditorium.

First-prize winner at the 1999 Cleveland Competition and a top prize winner at the 1998 Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition, Pompa-Baldi has toured extensively in the United States and Europe.

He has brought his assured touch on the keyboard to some of the world's major concert venues including Cleveland's Severance Hall, Milan's Sala Verdi, Naples' Teatro Diana, New York's Lincoln Center, and Paris' Salle Cortot, Salle Gaveau, Salle Pleyel, Theatre des Champs-Elysees and Théâtre du Châtelet, performing more than 70 engagements per season.

Recent orchestral appearances have included the Fort Worth Symphony, Syracuse Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Peoria Symphony, Rockford Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Savannah Symphony, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, Southwest Florida Symphony, Spokane Symphony, as well as the Orchestre Philarmonique de Metz (France), Orchestre National de Paris-Radio France, Symphony Orchestra of Sicily (Italy) and National Orchestra of Santo Domingo.

His recent recital engagements include Paris (Théâtre du Châtelet), Bologna, Boston, Cleveland, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, Hartford, Miami and San Juan.

He often performs chamber music, collaborating with ensembles such as the Avalon String Quartet, the Takacs String Quartet, and violinist, Elmar Oliveira, to name a few.

His next recordings featuring music of Edward Grieg will soon be released by Centaur Records.

Pompa-Baldi served as an assistant professor of piano at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, is currently on the Faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and teaches master classes around the world.

Joining Pompa-Baldi in his Payson performance will be his wife, pianist Emanuela Friscioni.

Dividing her time between piano study, performing and teaching as guest artist-in-residence at Cuyahoga Community College, Friscioni was born in Cantu, Italy and began her piano studies at the age of 5.

Since her debut at age 9, she has played solo recitals as well as concerts throughout Italy. After earning her diploma with full marks in 1997 from the Guiseppe Verdi Conservatory in Como, she went on to study with Annamaria Pennella, Paul Badura-Skoda, Aldo Ciccolini, and Bruno Canino. In 1996, Friscioni appeared as soloist with the Orchestra del Conservatorio di Como, performing the world premiere of the contemporary work "Come ti chiami?" for piano, orchestra and chorus, composed by Alberto Maria Azmburlini.

Her awards include winning firsts at the Tortono, Moneglia, Carmaiore and Chieti piano competitions, as well as the Kawai competition held in Como, Italy.

Four-hand performances with Pompa-Baldi have gained the couple many prizes and wonderful reviews.

In addition to her performing career, Friscioni is an accomplished professor of piano and is teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

The duet's April 2 performance is the final presentation in a season that featured a wide variety of music from the likes of The Wood's Tea Company; Orange Kellin's New Orleans Blue Serenaders; the Phoenix Boys Choir; I Get a Kick Out of Cole; and Paul McDermand.

The piano concert may be the last performance of the TCCA Silver Anniversary Season, but it is not the last concert.

As a thank-you to all the Rim country residents who have supported the TCCA and its programs, a free concert is planned at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 25.

All season ticket holders will be given free tickets to the special performance at the April 2 program with Pompa-Baldi and Friscioni. An additional 200 tickets will be available to the general public at the Payson Public Library, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 7. The tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis, with a limit of free four tickets per person. If any tickets remain, they will be offered between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 14 at the library. Call Eloise Jones, (928) 478-4363 for availability.

In addition to offering the free concert to celebrate the silver season of TCCA, the new membership campaign is under way.

The more season subscribers the TCCA has, the lower the ticket prices will be. Currently the season ticket is $60 for adults and it buys six to seven concert performances.

The TCCA brings professional artists from all over the country to perform in Payson. The new season, 2004-2005, will feature two Broadway stars, along with a number of other first-class musicians and groups.

For information about purchasing a season ticket for the next TCCA concert series, contact Eloise Jones, (928) 478-4363; Marilyn Wolfe, (928) 474-6115; or Steve Solcz, (928) 474-6723. Additional information about performances, tickets and the TCCA can be found on the website, www.tccarim.org.

Concerts Under the Stars

Once the TCCA Silver Anniversary season concludes, the Rim country will not fall silent. During the summer the Payson Parks and Recreation Department will present its free Concert Under the Stars series at the Green Valley Park amphitheater. All the concerts, except the one on July 4, are on Saturday, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The July 4 concert will be on the Fourth of July.

Michelle Beach with the parks department said all the performances, except the last one, have been booked. The 2004 Concert Under the Stars series will feature: Vance Haines with country music, June 12; Common Ground Blues, June 19; the Terry McFee Orchestra with big band music, June 26; Young Country with country music and variety, July 7; Soul Solution with classic rock and Motown music, July 10; T.A.T.E. with classic rock, July 17; and July 24 the final concert will be presented, but arrangements are pending.

The Concert Under the Stars series is open to all. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets, but don't bring alcohol. For more information, contact Beach at (928) 474-5242.

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