By Lawrence A. Johnson
3. Ran Dank. Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated! at Mandel Hall.
When the pianist who was originally scheduled to perform cancelled, one had little hope of finding a replacement. Fortunately, the ever-resourceful Amy Iwano, executive director of University of Chicago Presents, managed to not only find an available pianist who had Fred Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated! in his repertory but one who carried off this tortuously challenging work with dazzling bravura. Ran Dank delivered a tour de force performance of Rzewski’s epic, hour-long work–the greatest set of variations by an American composer—in the Israeli pianist’s spellbinding Chicago debut in April at Mandel Hall.
Best programming play
Executive director Amy Iwano for launching a series devoted to the Hungarian modernist composer György Ligeti this season at University of Chicago Presents.