News & Reviews


CONTACT: Matthew Bengtson, 215-704-4600;
Publicist, Trish Doll, Publicity Works, 717-445-6377

Philadelphia Pianist to Play Philadelphians’ Music

Upcoming Local Piano Concerts to Feature Local Composers’ Works!

Philadelphia, PA - (February 8, 2005) -- Pianist Matthew Bengtson will be performing piano music of recent vintage in the Arts Bank, University of the Arts, Broad and South Streets, on Tuesday, February 15 at 7 pm and in Marshall Auditorium at Roberts Hall, Haverford College on Sunday, February 20, at 4 pm. This program, ranging in styles from post-Romanticism to jazz to serialism and beyond, exhibits the diversity of compositional activity in our time.

The program includes three short “dedication pieces” and Klavierstück by Curt Cacioppo, Sonata One (Matt Monticchio), Six pieces for Piano (Ron Thomas), Piano Sonata no. 2 (David Thomas), and Tony said he saw birds flying (Aaron Berkowitz). Rounding out the program are selections from the more standard contemporary literature: selections from Encores (Luciano Berio) and Etudes (Gyorgy Ligeti). Admission is free to both events.

What gives these concerts much more than passing interest is the Philadelphia link Bengtson has deliberately chosen for his program. Cacioppo is a professor of music at Haverford College and has gained widespread recognition for his work as both pianist and composer, including an Academy Award for exceptional achievement in music in 1997 by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Ron Thomas, a one-time classical pianist, avant-garde composer and student of Karlheinz Stockhausen, saw his compositional outlook transformed radically by his encounter with American jazz music. He now performs and composes in both jazz and Classical idioms, and is a prolific recording artist.

David Thomas is a graduate of Peabody Conservatory and West Chester University and a protégé of the renowned Lukas Foss; he teaches theory, composition and jazz at The University of the Arts.

Monticchio is another local composer and Peabody graduate. He composes in an unmistakable American idiom inspired by Ives, Copland and Carter. Also a jazz pianist, he teaches theory and composition at Lancaster Bible College.

Berkowitz draws his influences from a variety of sources including the music of Gyorgy Ligeti and classical music of India. A native of Philadelphia and a pianist in his own right, he has given recitals in Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore and Paris, France.

Bengtson is a concert pianist, fortepianist and harpsichordist who teaches privately at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges, the University of Pennsylvania, and Settlement Music School, and serves on the piano staff of the Curtis Institute of Music. He has performed with the Reading, Pottstown and Ridgefield Symphony Orchestras and is an advocate of contemporary and rarely performed music such as that found on this program. He has recorded and given the premieres of several of the works on this program.

Bengtson has taken special interest in the music of the Polish composer Karol Szymanowski. In 2002 he recorded Szymanowski’s Mazurkas, and was recently awarded a Wilk Prize for Research in Polish Music. Another Bengtson CD entitled “B! Music of Bach, Bartok and Brahms” was recorded last year. A recent CD of six Sonatas by Alexander Scriabin is pending release on the Roméo Records label.

Critically acclaimed as a “musician’s pianist,” Bengtson is in demand as both soloist and collaborator. In 1998 he won the La Gesse Fellowship, sponsored by the Princess Cecilia di Medici; and went on to be presented in concerts in France and Italy, at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., the Thomas Jefferson home of Monticello, and in solo recitals at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in New York City.

For performance inquiries or CD purchases, please contact Matthew Bengtson at 215-704-4600; Publicist, Trish Doll, Publicity Works, 717-445-6377 - or visit the musician’s website at
Reviews are welcomed.

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