Started by (poco) Sforzando, July 20, 2010, 07:14:41 AM
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Quote from: Sforzando on July 20, 2010, 07:14:41 AMI would like to know who else may have heard of (or better yet, heard) this pianist, who had a promising career in the 1970s-80s, but who has apparently retired from concertizing and now spends his time teaching and performing locally in his home city of Portland, Oregon.When I was starting as a freshman composition major at Oberlin (a course of study I did not complete, as I decided early on I lacked the talent to succeed as a composer), Mark was also a member of the class of 1970 and did a memorable student recital debut playing the Mendelssohn G minor concerto. I only knew him to say hello, but he was considered one of the outstanding piano majors at Oberlin at that time and before graduating placed third in the 1969 Van Cliburn. He also took first prize in the first William Kapell competition, performed the Ravel concerto with the Chicago Symphony, and played well-received recitals in New York and Europe.His career was set back by several cruel personal misfortunes. In the late 1980s, he broke his left arm in numerous places after a fall, requiring major surgery and two years of rehabilitation. Worse, he was diagnosed with a facial skin cancer in the 1990s, and underwent two dozen surgeries and years of facial reconstruction in addition to losing all his teeth from the radiation treatments. If you want to hear his playing, he did a Musical Heritage LP of the Franck Symphonic Variations and Les Djinns, and he has put up some recordings on YouTube as well as two CDs worth of downloadable live recital material in .MP3 format you can buy for $10 each on his website, MarkWestcottPianist.com. I am very impressed by his playing, which adapts well to the nature of any composer he may be performing, and his accounts of Gaspard de la Nuit, the Mephisto Waltz, the Bartok sonata and more are as good as any I've heard. Comments on the Internet from music lovers refer to Westcott as "a brilliant player with the soul of a young, curious and powerful wizard" and "a force of nature." I hope some of you will take the opportunity to learn about this brave and admirable musician.
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