Chamber concert will pay tribute to late UK professor Lucien Stark

The Chamber Players of Central Kentucky’s concert on Sunday will pay tribute to a revered University of Kentucky music professor who died late last year.

University of Kentucky music professor emeritus Lucien Stark, photographed in 1984. Stark died Dec. 2, 2012, at the age of 83. © Photo from the University of Kentucky Portrait Print Collection.

Lucien Stark, who died Dec. 2 at the age of 83, joined the UK music faculty in 1976, after 15 years on the piano faculty at the George Peabody College in Nashville — now part of Vanderbilt University. He studied at numerous institutions including the Paris Conservatory, the Juilliard School of Music, and the University of Michigan, where he earned a Ph.D. in musical arts. After his retirement in 1994, he wrote two revered books on the music of Johannes Brahms that were published by Indiana University Press: A Guide to the Solo Songs of Johannes Brahms (1995) and Brahms’s Vocal Duets and Quartets with Piano: A Guide with Full Texts and Translations (1998).

“He wrote the books on Brahms’ vocal music with piano and, in retirement, added more than 60 transcriptions to the repertoire for two pianos, eight hands,” UK violin professor and Chamber Players member Daniel Mason wrote. “Lexington will have a chance to hear some of these Sunday.”

Mason and most of the musicians on Sunday’s concert were professional colleagues of Stark.

“I played with him in the Concord Trio for the first fifteen years I was here and it was my ‘finishing school,'” Mason wrote. “Impeccable musicianship, formidable intellect, and elegant taste are the descriptors that come to mind with Lucien.”

Musicians slated for Sunday’s concert, presented by the Chamber Music Society of Central Kentucky, include Mason, pianists Cliff Jackson and Irina Voro, cellist Benjamin Karp, soprano Catherine Clarke Nardolillo, and tenor Gregory Turay.

Also performing will be the Alabama-based Davis Piano Quartet, with which Stark collaborated to create transcriptions of dozens of works for two pianos and eight hands.

Quartet member Sandra Nelson is quoted in the concert program as writing that the group had difficulty finding repertoire to play until Stark, “turned his impeccable musicianship, formidable intellect, and elegant taste to arranging orchestral works for piano eight hands. We are now indebted to him for more than 60 arrangements of the great masters.” The Quartet will play six pieces at the 3 p.m. concert Sunday in the Singletary Center for the Arts Recital Hall.

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