NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Award-winning pianist Dr. Martin Kesuma will perform works by Nikolai Kapustin, Alberto Ginastera, Manuel de Falla and other varied composers when he presents a solo recital at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, in Cole Concert Hall on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus.
A native of Jakarta, Indonesia, Kesuma has performed as a solo pianist and chamber musician throughout Indonesia, Canada and the United States. Prior to his recent move back to Texas, he worked as a collaborative pianist and a chamber music instructor at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada. He is currently pursuing a performance certificate degree at Texas State University.
For this recital, Kesuma said he chose pieces “from many different styles that are not performed too often, despite how effective or beautiful they are.”
“Several years ago, when I received an invitation to record a solo album, I started thinking about how I wanted to play pieces by more diverse composers,” he said. “‘Detours’ was released by Centaur Records in 2021, and it features pieces by composers from Spain, Russia, Argentina, Japan, Indonesia, Australia and the U.S. In some ways, this recital is a continuation of my previous album, showcasing pieces by composers of different backgrounds.”
Among the works are Kapustin’s Variations, Op. 41, which Kesuma describes as “a fun piece that sounds like a jazz improvisation that you would hear in a café – highly virtuosic. A lot of scholars believe that the theme comes from Stravinsky’s opening of ‘The Rite of Spring.’”
Ginastera’s Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 22 is a four-movement piece, written by a prominent Argentinian composer. It incorporates many different Argentinian dances in the piece. “It is a highly challenging piece with lots of fast octaves,” Kesuma said,
Although de Falla’s “Fantasía Bética” is considered one of the Spanish masterpieces, it is not played very often. “A lot of the techniques used in this piece are quite unusual in piano playing,” Kesuma said, “and this is due to the use of the piano to imitate Southern Spanish folk styles, such as the use of castanets, guitars, heel stampings and cante jondo.”
Kesuma has won prizes in competitions including the Dickinson Piano Competition, PianoHouse International Piano Competition, New York International Music Concours, Canadian International Music Competition, the ASEAN International Concerto Competition and the Texas State International Piano Festival Concerto Competition.
Admission is free. Cole Concert Hall is located in Wright Music Building. For more information, contact the School of Music at (936) 468-4602 or visit sfasu.edu/music.