James Staples to Present Retirement Recital

Posted on 4/10/2011 8:22:12 PM
James Staples at Piano

James Staples, a professor of piano in the Department of Music, will present a recital that will celebrate years of teaching at IUP. The program will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, 2011. It will be performed in Gorell Recital Hall, located on the second floor of John Sutton Hall. Admission is free.

Staples will perform a program containing three masterworks of piano literature, including Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 90, a selection of preludes from Books I and II by Debussy, and Schumann’s Carnaval Op. 9. This will be Staples’ final solo recital as an IUP faculty member. He will retire June after fifty years in higher education, forty-four of which have been at IUP.

Each piece is a masterwork of its respective era. The Beethoven Sonata, the last of his middle-period piano works, is a two-movement piece somewhat atypical of the composer, being almost entirely lyrical in nature.

The Debussy preludes are expressive miniatures evoking pomposity, songlike melodies, humor, and sensuous keyboard colaborations. The Schumann Carnaval consists of twenty-one short impressions of a Mardi Gras masked ball, utilizing figures from the Commedia del Arte, characters from the composer’s own life, and representations of events from his own imagination.

Dr. Staples holds degrees in performance from Florida State University and Eastman School of Music. Prior to coming to IUP in 1967, he had taught at SUNY Fredonia for six years. He has appeared frequently over the years as solo pianist, soloist with orchestra, accompanist, and chamber musician.

For a period of nearly eight years, he turned to composing, producing many piano works and choral and wind ensemble pieces. His composing culminated in his Piano Concerto, which he has performed twice with the IUP Symphony Orchestra. Staples’ Mass was taken on tour with the IUP Chorale under the direction of the late James Dearing.