Celestial Graces: A Remembrance of Nadine Shank
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
On Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 3:00 PM, the UMass Amherst Department of Music and Dance presents a virtual concert featuring beloved long-time piano professor Nadine Shank, who passed away in October. The video, titled Celestial Graces: A Remembrance of Nadine Shank, features new footage of her performing alongside numerous current and former colleagues, as well as a few selections captured during recent concerts with fellow UMass faculty members. The free event will be streamed on a one-time-only basis on the Department’s YouTube channel.
The recent recording sessions were organized at Shank’s request following her diagnosis in the spring of 2020 with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a rare form of progressive dementia. Faced with the rapid onset of this incurable disorder, Shank saw these sessions as her last opportunity to experience the joy of performance while also celebrating the many relationships she developed during her decades-long career. Shank met this challenge with her patented mixture of energy, determination, and grace, and has left behind a moving and inspiring testament to her legacy as a performer, educator, and mentor.
Appropriately, Shank’s work as a consummate collaborative pianist is the primary focus of the video. Featured performances by former UMass faculty members from the 2020 recording sessions include two by Shank and saxophonist Lynn Klock, with whom Shank enjoyed a lengthy musical partnership over many years, and two pieces with close friend and colleague Estela Olevsky (piano). The video also includes footage of Shank performing alongside current UMass professors Edward Arron (cello) and Gilles Vonsattel (piano). Shank took great joy in collaborating with student musicians and therefore invited young musicians Cynthia Tian (violin, age 12), Hannah Berube ’13 (clarinet), and Roxanne Welch (soprano) to take part in the recording sessions.
The virtual concert also includes archival footage of Shank performing alongside current UMass colleagues Jonathan Hulting-Cohen (saxophone), with whom she performed on numerous occaisions in recent years, as well as Jamie-Rose Guarrine (soprano) and Rémy Taghavi (bassoon).
The video concludes with Shank performing solo works by Granados and Liszt, a last poignant reminder of her noteworthy skills as a soloist. Shank performed the Granados on one of her Master’s recitals while at Indiana University, and again at a masterclass given by Alicia de Larrocha, widely considered as one of the greatest interpreters of Granados.
After the full video is presented on January 31, individual selections will remain posted on YouTube for later viewing. The event is free; donations are encouraged to the newly-established Nadine E. Shank Piano Endowment Fund.