The Virginia Tech Department of Music, of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences presents "A Musical Odyssey: Piano Music by Kent Holliday," a faculty recital featuring the compositions of Kent Holliday on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. in the Squires Recital Salon.

This musical travelogue features piano music inspired by many of the composer's travels over the past thirty years, performed by pianists Nicholas Ross, chairman of the Sweetbriar College Music Department, and Emily Chua, chair of the Piano Department Randolph College.

The compositions will include "Four Evocations" from 1983, "Tango Exotico" from 1995, "Recuerdos Peruanos" from 1999, "Sonata for Piano" from 2004, "Milongalgusto" from 2006, and "Hawaiiana" from 2000. The "Recuerdos Peruanos" and "Hawaiiana" are suites of five and six movements portraying specific sites in Peru and Hawaii.

Nicholas Ross teaches music theory and applied piano at Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, Va. He earned his doctor of musical arts degree in piano performance from Rice University in Houston, Texas. Ross is active as a solo pianist and chamber musician. Recent concerts included solo recitals at Mary Baldwin College, Virginia Tech, and Sweet Briar College as well as concerto performances with the Blue Ridge Chamber Orchestra and New River Valley Orchestra. Ross is pianist of the James Piano Quartet.

Ross has made two recordings to date: American Impressions: Music from the Whalehead Club, recorded on a historic 1907 Steinway, was released on the Soundside label in 2003. His latest recording, John Powell: Early Piano Music, Centaur Records, 2007, was described as "both surprising and highly enjoyable" by critic Dave Lewis of Ross's performance itself was praised as "dedicated, clean and forthright, no small feat as some of the music [...] is written at a treacherously difficult level."

Emily Yap Chua is associate professor of music at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Va., where she teaches piano, accompanying, music theory lab, Women in Music, and chamber ensembles. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in music with minors in mathematics and dance from Florida State University. She continued graduate study at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, where she earned the master of music and the doctor of musical arts degrees in piano performance. Chua recently made her international solo debut at The Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, where she was described as "a remarkably passionate piano soloist . . . vividly enchanting."

Her collaborations include performances with musicians of orchestras and institutions around the world, including recitals with members of the Cincinnati; San Francisco; Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain; Granada, Spain; Charlotte; and Nashville Symphony Orchestras, as well as faculty from the College-Conservatory of Music, The Juilliard School, University of Virginia, and Florida State University, among others.

Holliday studied composition with Paul Fetler and Dominick Argento at the University of Minnesota, where he received the Ph.D. in music theory and composition in 1968. He subsequently did postgraduate work in Paris, France, and at Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire. In 1969, he worked with Pietro Grossi on computer music in the Studio di Fonologia S2FM in Florence, Italy, and in 1988, studied composition with Witold Szalonek of the Hochschule der Kunst in Berlin, Germany.

Holliday has taught music composition, theory, history, piano, and selected courses in the humanities at Virginia Tech since 1974. He won four Virginia Music Teachers Association Composition Competitions, the New Music Delaware contest in 1996, and the Alienor International Harpsichord Competition in 2000. His book, Reproducing Pianos Past and Present, was published by Mellen Press in 1989.

Tickets are $5 for general admission and $3 for students and seniors and will be available at the door one hour prior to performance time.

The Squires Recital Salon is in the Squires Student Center located on College Avenue adjacent to downtown Blacksburg. Convenient, free parking is available in nearby Squires and Shultz Hall parking lots.

Share this story