Pianist José Ramón Mendez to perform Oct. 29 for UAB Piano Series

Described as “the Spanish pianist of his generation,” Mendez will perform works by Chopin, then dedicate the second half to music by Spanish composers Soler, Granados and Albeniz.

Jose Ramon Mendez StreamThe University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Piano Series will present José Ramón Mendez on Sunday, Oct. 29.

Described as “an artist with a polished sound and tremendous constructive power” and hailed by the Hoja del Lunes de Madrid as “the Spanish pianist of his generation,” Mendez is one of the most exciting Spanish pianists of today, according to his artist’s statement. 

The UAB Piano Series brings the world’s finest pianists to Birmingham. The series, presented by the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Music, is directed by Distinguished Professor of Piano and Artist-in-Residence Yakov Kasman, DMA, a Van Cliburn medalist.

The 4 p.m. performance will be in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, Reynolds-Kirschbaum Concert Hall. Tickets are $15, $5 for students through grade 12 and UAB employees, and free to UAB students. Purchase tickets now; call 205-975-2787 or visit AlysStephens.org.

On the program are:

  • Prelude in C-sharp minor Op. 45, three mazurkas, Nocturne in D-flat major Op. 27, No. 2 and Barcarolle in F-sharp major Op. 60 by Chopin
  • Soler’s Sonata No. 84 in D major and Sonata No. 88 in D-flat major
  • Works by Albeniz, “El Puerto,” “Evocacion” and “Triana” from “Iberia”
  • And from “Goyescas” by Granados, “El Amor y la Muerte” and “El Pelele”

Mendez received his first music instruction from his father and by age 7 was performing on Spanish television and radio stations. He made his solo debut at the age of 11 at the Oviedo Philharmonic Society in Oviedo, Spain — the youngest performer ever to do so in the history of the society, according to his biography.

He gained international recognition when he performed Liszt’s first piano concerto under the direction of Sergiu Comissiona at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Since then, he has performed extensively in his native Spain, the United States, Italy, England, Portugal, the Netherlands and Japan to great acclaim. His poetry, intellect and masterful technique have been praised by critics and celebrated by audiences around the world.

Mendez is a Yamaha Artist. He is assistant professor of piano at the University of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, after serving on the piano faculty at University of Texas at Austin, New York University, Pennsylvania State University and Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. In the summers, Mendez is the artistic director and on the faculty of the Gijon International Piano Festival in Gijon, Spain, as well as frequently being invited to perform and teach at many music festivals.

He has been featured on WQXR’s “Performance Today” and on Classical KMFA. As a chamber musician, Mendez has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Karl Leister, Itzhak Perlman, Michael Tree and Pinchas Zukerman. Recent performances include Chopin’s first piano concerto with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra and Manuel de Falla’s “Nights in the Gardens of Spain” with the Nittany Valley Symphony, and solo and chamber music performances in the United States, Europe and Asia.