Mason Gross piano students to play New York City’s Carnegie Hall Dec. 19

Seventeen Mason Gross School of the Arts pianists are set to perform a 150th-birthday celebration to honor French composer Claude Debussy at Weill Recital Hall in New York City’s Carnegie Hall. The concert, which will feature Debussy’s complete piano preludes, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 19, 2012. Associate professor of music Min Kwon directs the group.

The pianists also will perform a preview concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 13, 2012, at Schare Recital Hall, 81 George St., on the Douglass Campus in New Brunswick, N.J. The New Brunswick Debussy preview is free.

Kwon acknowledges that Debussy’s music “is not music you can sit back and relax to.” But she says that his music “captures our senses. We can almost smell or taste it. Debussy was an extraordinary composer. He was able to create an entirely new sound world from the piano, like nobody else before him had done.”

Students will play all 24 preludes chronologically. Kwon says the program is especially interesting because Debussy assigned titles to all of the preludes but listed the titles at the conclusion of the score, not at the beginning.

“The titles are unusual,” she says. “The music isn’t just abstract. The titles, being at the end, are inspired by the music instead of the other way around. It’s as if he wants us to experience the pieces that way, without any preconception—to simply hear, feel and imagine and then see if their fantasies match up with the titles that the composer attached to them. It’s an interesting game for listeners.” Some of the evocative prelude titles are: Girl with the Flaxen Hair, The Sound and Fragrances Swirl through the Evening Air and Footsteps in the Snow.

Kwon says she is eager for the piano students to take the stage in Manhattan.

“It’s important that the students are seen and heard by New Yorkers,” she says, adding that their past performances in the city have put the Rutgers Piano Program “on the map. There’s a reason why they say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.”

Carnegie Hall is at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue in New York City. Tickets to the Claude Debussy 150th Anniversary Gala are $25, $15 for alumni and students. Tickets are available by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting For more information about any Mason Gross event, visit, or call the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center ticket office at 732-932-7511.

Media inquiries: Laurie Granieri, 848-932-5239

Posted: November 2012