This Friday’s piano concert is going to include a lot of firsts.
It will be the first time Ioanna Nikou, who is from Greece and is currently studying at Bowling Green State University, plays in Juneau and the first time she will publicly perform selections by Bach, Haydn, Brahms and Bacewicz.
“It’s one of my favorite, favorite compositions, and I’ve always wanted to perform it, and I’m going to perform it for the first time in Juneau” Nikou said of the Bach piece “Chromatique Fantasie und Fugue.”
“Normally, we know Bach as very strict. This piece, I think gives us the freedom to be more emotional. It has a very improvising character, so you hear different interpretation from every pianist. It’s very melodic. It’s very lyrical. It’s also very demanding.”
The reason for all of the first-time pieces is a chance for Nikou to play through compositions that will be part of her graduation recital for her master’s degree in April, she said.
Nikou’s concert is the latest installment in an ongoing Juneau Piano Series organized by Jon Hays and sponsored by the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council. The series showcases both the baby grand piano at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center and the music it can produce.
The Haydn piece that Nikou will perform, a sonata in B-flat major, is also lighthearted, she said.
“It’s a very funny piece that describes all the comic parts of Haydn,” Nikou said. “He has a lot of contrast in dynamics and moods. From sad moods, he’ll do something really funny and somebody may describe it as somebody’s laugh.”
There will be one contemporary piece during Nikou’s performance by Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz.
“It’s a bit challenging for me because I’m just now starting to get into the whole contemporary world,” Nikou said.
But she said the piece is evocative of classical-era compositions and has a link to one of her favorites.
“She has a lot of elements. Even her piece that I’m playing that remind me of fugue, so I wanted to have a piece by Bach and a piece by her because there’s some connection there,” Nikou said.
Know & Go
What: Juneau Piano Series: Ioanna Nikou
When: 7 p.m., Friday, March 22
Where: Juneau Arts & Culture Center, 350 Whittier St.
Admission: $20 general admission or $5 for seniors, students and youths
• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.