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New Philharmonic to Present Pianist Wael Farouk on April 17

Mike Lawson • News • March 2, 2021

 

Internationally acclaimed pianist Wael Farouk joins New Philharmonic, the professional orchestra in residence at the McAninch Arts Center (MAC) in Glen Ellyn, IL for “Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos.” Conducted by Maestro Kirk Muspratt and recorded at the MAC’s Belushi Performance Hall stage, this performance will premiere at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 17, then be available on demand through June 15. 

The concert will include Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in F-sharp minor, Concerto No. 2 in C minor and Concerto No. 3 in D minor. Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor is respected, even feared, by many pianists. It has been called “daunting” (Wall Street Journal), “a classical war horse” (New York Times) and “one of the most technically challenging concertos in the classical repertoire” (CMUSE). Piano Concerto No. 1, actually Rachmaninoff’s second attempt at a piano concerto, is very different from his later works. Piano Concerto No. 2, one of Rachmaninoff’s most enduring works, has been hailed as “an unassailably epic work of genius” (Classic FM).  

Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 3 is extremely important to Farouk who was born with shortened ligaments in his hands. His doctor suggested to his parents that he study the piano to help exercise his fingers. Farouk heard Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 when he was 12 and it fueled his continuing interest in the piano. When he was 13, he mentioned his interest in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 to his piano teacher, who discouraged his interest in the work, citing that even the best of pianists with large hands found it a challenge so with Farouk’s small hands it was impossible. Farouk took it upon himself to prove the teacher wrong and, at age 19, played Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Cairo Symphony, as the first Egyptian to ever perform this concerto.  

Farouk’s theme for this concert is “Climbing Beyond Everest: 3 Musical Mountains and 3 Systemic Injustices: Discrimination, Oppression, and Persecution.” Farouk sees the upcoming concert as a testament to the enduring strength of the human spirit and ability to overcome what appear to be insurmountable challenges. To prepare for this challenging concert, Farouk will build his stamina by playing the program three times a day leading up to the New Philharmonic concert. Herculean accomplishments are nothing new to Farouk, who was last seen at the MAC performing all five of Beethoven’s concertos in a single program, “Beethoven: Five Piano Concertos | One Pianist” (2018). 

Farouk has garnered international acclaim as a concert pianist, performing on five continents in such venues as the White Hall in St. Petersburg, Schumann’s house in Leipzig, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, where his solo debut performance in 2013 was described as “absolutely masterful” (New York Concert Review). Farouk is the Director of the Keyboard Studies Program of Wisconsin’s Carthage College and Piano Faculty at Chicago’s Roosevelt University. Using virtual technology, he instructs students as far away as China and Nigeria, Ukraine and Egypt. He also conducts international virtual lectures seen around the world. 

Tickets 

New Philharmonic: “Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos” premieres 7:30 p.m., April 17, and is the available on demand through June 15. Tickets are $40 per household. Special $10 tickets available for students with discount code TENTIX. For tickets visit AtTheMAC.org, email themac@cod.edu or call 630.942.4000. The McAninch Box Office is open remotely Monday – Saturday, noon – 5 p.m. 

The MAC encourages everyone enjoying New Philharmonic: “Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos” to consider making a donation to support the MAC’s ongoing ability to continue to provide fun, creative and thought-provoking programming. For more information visit AtTheMAC.org or call 630.942.4000. 

About New Philharmonic 

New Philharmonic, the only professional orchestra based in DuPage County, Ill., has inspired classical music enthusiasts in Chicago and the suburbs for more than 40 years. It continues to thrive with the goal to give innovative treatment to both classic compositions and modern works while striving to make the music accessible to new audiences and youth through a variety of educational efforts. Today, under the direction of Kirk Muspratt, named 2018 Conductor of the Year (Professional Orchestra) by Illinois Council of Orchestras, New Philharmonic consists of more than 60 professional musicians and performs more than a dozen concerts a year, reaching more than 7,500 from the greater Chicago area annually. New Philharmonic was recently honored with the Illinois Council of Orchestras’ 2020 ICO Award in the category Programming of the Year.

 About the MAC 

McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPage is located 25 miles west of Chicago near I-88 and I-355 at 425 Fawell Blvd. It houses three indoor performance spaces (the 780-seat proscenium Belushi Performance Hall; the 236-seat soft-thrust Playhouse Theatre; and the versatile black box Studio Theatre), an outdoor venue, the Lakeside Pavilion, plus the Cleve Carney Museum of Art and classrooms for the college’s academic programming. The MAC has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 2 million people since its opening in 1986 and typically welcomes more than 100,000 patrons from the greater Chicago area to more than 230 performances each season.

The mission of the MAC is to foster enlightened educational and performance opportunities, which encourage artistic expression, establish a lasting relationship between people and art, and enrich the cultural vitality of the community. For more information about the MAC, visit AtTheMAC.org, facebook.com/AtTheMAC or twitter.com/AtTheMAC.

Support for New Philharmonic is provided in part by the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation; Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C.; the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; WFMT 98.7 FM, WDCB 90.9 FM and the College of DuPage Foundation.

 Established as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable organization in 1967, the College of DuPage Foundation raises monetary and in-kind gifts to increase access to education and to enhance cultural opportunities for the surrounding community. For more information about the College of DuPage Foundation, visit foundation.cod.edu or call 630.942.2462.

 Programs at the MAC are partially supported through a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. 

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