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Feb. 15-18: 22nd Annual Bunny Just Piano Festival
Event features performances by professional and amateur pianists.
Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Music News Release, 1-30-2018
MANKATO, Minn. – The 22nd Annual Bunny Just Piano Festival will highlight performances by professional and amateur pianists Thursday, Feb. 15 through Sunday, Feb. 18 at the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.
Piano festival events are sponsored by the Bunny Just Piano Festival Endowment.
On Feb. 15, Mr. B, Mark Lincoln Braun (pictured at right), will perform at 7:30 p.m. in Halling Recital Hall. Blues and boogie-woogie pianist Mr. B has become one of the premiere purveyors of a vanishing art. Downbeat Magazine writes, “Mr. B knows the complete legacy of blues piano. Not many pianists in this style today play with more conviction.”
Having learned his craft first-hand from the early masters, he is a rare living link to the first generation of blues and boogie pianists. Steeped in the rich legacy of this tremendously exciting music, Mr. B learned directly from blues and boogie legends like Little Brother Montgomery, Boogie Woogie Red, and Blind John Davis. In demand for both educational programs and concert performances, he has performed coast to coast and throughout Europe, Canada, Mexico, and South America. In 2002, he was a guest artist at the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. He is also the organizer of the annual Mr. Bʼs Blues and Boogie Piano Celebration that attracts major figures in the blues and jazz piano world to Ann Arbor, Mich., for collaborative performances with Mr. B.
On Feb. 18, classical pianist Adam Clark (pictured at left) will perform a recital at 7:30 p.m. in Halling Recital Hall. Clark has been heard as a soloist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist throughout the United States, as well as in Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Australia, and South Korea. His performances have been broadcast on WPLN in Nashville, WMUK in Michigan, and MBC National Television in Korea. Of his playing, New York Concert Review Magazine wrote, “Clark brought out much beauty in Chopin’s soulfully embroidered melodies. He played with thoughtful expressiveness” and “achieved an excellent blend [with the orchestra].”
Other festival events include college master class sessions on Feb. 16 at 1 p.m. in Halling Recital Hall with participants from Minnesota State Mankato, Gustavus Adolphus, and Bethany Lutheran colleges, and a competition and master class sessions for junior and senior high school students Feb. 17 from 2-5:30 p.m. Master class sessions are free and open to the public.
Beneta Just initiated the Bunny Just Piano Festival at Minnesota State Mankato in 1996. In 2004 her estate created an endowment to fund the annual festival. Just was a promoter, volunteer and financial supporter of many local social concerns, including special education and human rights. A University scholarship in special education remains in her name today.
Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to www.mnsu.edu/music/. Those who want concert information should call the Performance Series office, (507)-389-5549.