Pianist performs seldom-heard contemporary gem

Pianist John Kramer ’95 performs Frederic Rzewski’s “The People United Will Never Be Defeated!”, a 1978 composition based on a Chilean protest song at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9 in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St. The concert is free and open to the public.

Nearly an hour long, “The People United” is the best-known composition by Rzewski, a Massachusetts native now residing in Belgium. The piece consists of 36 variations on a song of the same title based on a popular chant by Sergio Ortega.

Kramer explains that despite its length and the composer’s avant-garde credentials, the piece is highly accessible — passionate, well-constructed and embracing a striking range of musical styles. That stylistic variety sends a political message too, Kramer adds, symbolizing a diverse humanity whose ultimate unity is represented by a final return to Ortega’s memorable tune.

A member of the Bates class of 1995, Kramer lives in Quincy, Mass. In addition to performing, he teaches music at the South Shore Conservancy of Music and is music director for the Lexington United Methodist Church. He holds advanced degrees in music from the University of Iowa.

For more information about the concert, please call 207-786-6135.

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