Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mohamed Shams In Recital at New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, Bruno Walter Auditorium, 2:30 pm Saturday, November 22, Free

Mohamed Shams

YouTube: the artist with the orchestra of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto #2 (third movement), Glasgow, 2012 (7:54)

New York, NY, November 10, 2014 – In a one-time only free public event, acclaimed Egyptian pianist Mohamed Shams returns to present works by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Debussy and Liszt on Saturday, November 22 at 2:30 pm at the Bruno Walter Auditorium, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, 111 Amsterdam Avenue. Admission is on a first-come first served basis.

The pre-Thanksgiving performance will be Shams’ third appearance at the Library. The program, featuring masterpieces from 19th and 20th century composers, comes on the heels of his noteworthy October S&R Foundation recital in Washington, D.C. and his critically praised appearances since the age of 16 with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra. He also appeared with the Royal National Orchestra of Scotland and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Orchestra (2012). The November 22 New York Public Library performance will offer a sneak preview to what lies in store for Shams’ upcoming April 15, 2015 Carnegie Hall/Weill Recital Hall solo debut.

Heralded as a “world class pianist” by Philippe Entremont, the celebrated pianist and conductor, and dubbed “brilliant” by host Bob Sherman of WQXR-NY McGraw-Hill Young Artists Showcase, Shams is an exceptionally gifted Middle Eastern musician steeped in Western European classical tradition.

“I am an Egyptian classical pianist,” he says. “To many, this may appear anomalous; I suspect that for most of the worldwide audience for this art form, Egyptian classical artists are a well-kept secret. However, Egypt was the first, and remains the most cosmopolitan of the nations in this region. In fact, The Khedivial Opera house in Cairo, for over a century the only opera house in the Middle East, was built in 1869 to celebrate the inauguration of the Suez Canal. Verdi’s opera ‘Aida’ received its premiere there.”

“A year ago in Cairo,” he continued, “a young girl was returning home from class at the at the Academy of the Arts Conservatory of Music when she was suddenly confronted by extremist Islamist enforcers who snatched her instrument and smashed it. Today, the government that embraced these people has been driven from power, but my country remains in the throes of an upheaval that in the past three years has also convulsed other nations of the Middle East. In the midst of this turmoil, the Cairo Opera House remains open, and defiant creativity flourishes in the formal venues and thrives in the most unlikely places.”

ADMISSION FREE on a first-come, first-served basis.


F. Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Songs Without Words Op. 67
Allegro leggiero
Allegretto non troppo
Andante tranquillo

R. Schumann: Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 14 "Concerto without orchestra"
Quasi Variazioni: Andantino di Clara Wieck
Prestissimo possibile

C. Debussy: Preludes (selection)

Ce qu'a vu le vent d'ouest (Book I)-La fille aux cheveux de lin (Book I)
Général Lavine – eccentric: Dans le style et le mouvement d'un Cakewalk (Book II)

F. Liszt: Mephisto-waltz No.1



Mohamed Shams began his piano studies at the Conservatoire of Music at the Academy of the Arts in Cairo, Egypt, at the age of seven, graduating with distinction in 2004. In 2000 and 2002 he won first prize at the Brevard Music Festival competition (USA), which led to an invitation to play with their orchestra, the Transylvania Symphony, in 2003, and a Fulbright grant to study for one year in Washington DC with Marilyn Neeley.

In 2008, he enrolled on full scholarship in the Master’s Program at the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Dr. Marc Silverman, Lawrence Dutton (Emerson Quartet) and Sylvia Rosenberg (MSM, Juilliard School). In April 2011, he won first prize in the School’s Mieczyslaw Munz scholarship competition, and in May, the School’s Harold Bauer Award for a graduating student in recognition of outstanding accomplishment, cooperation and promise.

Enrolled in 2011 on full scholarship in the Master of Music program at the Royal Conservatoire of Music, Glasgow, Scotland, Shams studied with professors Aaron Shorr and Steven Osborne. He graduated from the Conservatoire in 2013. At the RCS, he won the Jock Holden Memorial Mozart Prize, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Competition, the Bamber/Galloway Competition and the Tony and Tania Webster Prize for Russian Music. He was the recipient of the Governor’s Prize, and the David Knox Memorial prize for outstanding achievement at RCS. 

Shams is currently enrolled in the Artist Diploma program at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut, studying with professor David Westfall.

As a soloist, Shams has performed with a number of orchestras, among which the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, the Egyptian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, the London Chamber Players, and the Repertory Symphony (USA). At the Beethoven Festival in Bonn, August 2007, he performed the composer’s Concerto no. 3 in the Beethovensaal under the baton of Peter Gulke. In March 2008, he performed the Mozart piano Concerto no. 9 at the Cairo Opera House with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Enrique Batiz. In March 2011 he played Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony no. 2, “The Age of Anxiety” with the Manhattan School of Music Symphony, Philippe Entremont conducting, and in November 2011 he gave the opening recital celebrating the 200th anniversary of Franz Liszt for the International Music Center at the historic Manasterly Palace, Cairo. While in Scotland, he played the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto no. 2 with the RCS Orchestra in 2012, and the same year made a guest appearance, on a Scottish tour - Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow - (playing Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”) with the Royal National Scottish Orchestra. In December 2013, he performed the Prokofiev Concerto # 3 with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Nader Abbassi, at the New Cairo Opera House., In October 2014, Shams gave a recital in Washington D.C. at the invitation of the S&R Foundation. In January 2015, he is scheduled to appear with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, playing Beethoven’s 4th piano concerto.

In 2010 Shams was a semi-finalist at the Scottish International Piano Competition in Glasgow, winning the prestigious Bryden Thomson prize and a one-year scholarship – extended to two – at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Glasgow, Scotland. In July 2011, he joined the faculty of the International Music Academy in Pilzen, the Czech Republic. He has participated in master classes by world-famous pianists including Sergie Dorensky, Nikolai Petrov, Idil  Biret, Ramzi Yassa, Gyorgy Sandor and Nikolay Demidenko. In June 2013, he was chosen to participate in the select Hamptons Pianofest, directed by pianist Paul Schenly.

Shams was the featured artist on New York’s classical music radio station, WQXR, on the McGraw-Hill Companies Young Artists Showcase, hosted by Robert (Bob) Sherman in September 2012, and twice again in October 2014.

Upon the nomination of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Scotland, Shams was awarded the Silver Medal by the Worshipful Company of Musicians.

In addition to his performances as a solo recitalist, Shams has participated in numerous chamber music concerts in Europe and the USA. He is a member of Chamber Music America. He is also an accomplished accompanist.

Mohamed Shams will make his Carnegie Hall debut on April 15 2015, with a solo recital in Weill Recital Hall.

“…World-class pianist…” (Philippe Entremont, on conducting Mohamed Shams and the Manhattan School of Music orchestra in Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony no. 2, the “Age of Anxiety”)

“…Exceptional pianist…” “…Brilliant…” (Host Bob Sherman, on featuring Shams on his program, the McGraw-Hill Young Artists Showcase, WQXR New York)

…Amazing Egyptian…play(ed) an unbelievably high-speed piece by Elliott Carter… …deeply impressive pianist (gave) a performance of tremendous flair and intellectual strength… Tchaikovsky’s 2nd piano concerto with spectacular Egyptian soloist Mohamed Shams… (Michael Tumelty, music critic, Herald-Scotland).

“…Shams has what it takes to meet the technical demands involved, but more importantly he is a passionate performer (Ati Metwali, Al-Ahram Weekly)

Comment by email:
Hi Bill,  Thank you so much for this! I hope you will consider including Mohamed again down the road, for his April Carnegie Hall concert (press release to be sent). Maybe you can join us at one of these events? Please let us know! Best wishes, Adria:) Adria Rolnik

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