New Year's celebration brings back Chang Performer: The renowned pianist will make her fourth consecutive appearance at the annual festival of the arts

December 22, 1996|By Pat Hook | Pat Hook,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Of the hundreds of performers who have appeared at First Night Annapolis, Angelin Chang is one who has been consistently invited back. And she will return again for this year's New Year's Eve celebration of the arts.

Chang will perform the music of Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky at St. Mary's Catholic Church on Duke of Gloucester Street.

It will be her fourth consecutive appearance at First Night.

"She's great. She's terrific," gushed Elizabeth Welch, executive producer of the show, which takes over the city's downtown Historic District. "She represents what our family-oriented evening is all about."

Chang, who has performed in concert halls from London to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, calls her First Night performances "a unique opportunity to get closer to audiences" and a chance to draw people who might not otherwise attend concerts.

She tries to mix works "most people are familiar with, things they might be familiar with and things even connoisseurs wouldn't be familiar with," she said in a telephone interview.

In addition to the familiar piano pieces, Chang is planning works by Messiaen, a 20th-century composer she knew and whose music she is studying for her doctoral dissertation at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.

"His work is very modern and extremely important in our modern time," she said.

Chang was introduced to the piano at age 4, when she got rambunctious at a dinner party in her hometown of Muncie, Ind.

"I was running around, snooping around the house," she recalled.

"The lady of the house was a composer and a music teacher, and I guess I wandered into the music room, and she started playing something for me.

"I was so taken with it. I was mesmerized."

She made her debut at 12, performing with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, graduated from Ball State University with degrees in music and French, and received advanced degrees from the Paris Conservatory and Indiana University.

Music is something that "has to be shared," she says. "Otherwise, it's as if it never happened."

She shares her knowledge by discussing the pieces she is about to play before each performance, briefly explaining the work and background of the composer.

Chang will perform at 7 p.m., 8: 15 p.m., 9: 30 p.m. and 10: 45 p.m.

While Chang is part of the regular program, First Night organizers have also planned performances for children, beginning at 3: 30 p.m., with magicians, clowns and jugglers.

For information, call First Nightline, (410) 787-2717.

Pub Date: 12/22/96

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