Abraham Stokman, world renown pianist, is a Chicago treasure. He is offering a piano recital without charge at the Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, IL on April 14th at 7:30. (See poster below) Attendees are sure to enjoy a musical treat. And be sure to enjoy the wonderful spontaneous improvisations that are a “Stokman specialty”.
Stokman began teaching at the Music Institute of Chicago in 1991 and is currently teaching piano and improvisation. During his time at the Institute, he founded the contemporary music series, “Music for a While”. This series has featured contemporary composers and their music, presented in a format which made their music more accessible to the audience.
Mr. Stokman attended the Julliard School in New York City on scholarship where he obtained his Master’s Degree and his Bachelor’s Degree in Music.
Remaining at Julliard following graduation, Mr. Stokman served as a vocal coach in Julliard’s opera department for five years until proceeding to give solo and chamber concerts in the United States and Canada. He then moved to Chicago and became the artist-in-residence and assistant professor at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University, while also serving as chairman of the piano department at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. Stokman has had countless successes in solo recitals at the Alice Tully Hall, the Town Hall in New York City, the Gardner Museum in Boston, the Phillips Gallery in Washington, and Mandel Hall in Chicago. He was also featured as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Stokman has recorded Ramon Zupko’s music for CRI, as well as a CD of twentieth century American piano music for Centaur records. He also recorded “Hyperbolea” on a CD of Music by Shulamit Ran. Over the years, Mr. Stokman has also participated in a series of chamber music concerts with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, given throughout the Chicagoland area.
Mr. Stokman generously agreed to answer a few questions about the upcoming event. Read on:
You have taught at the Music Institute of Chicago for many years. Can you share a moment that was especially pleasurable?
A few years back about three when I was coaching the piano trio at the Academy of Aaron Copland with three students—-their performance of that difficult work was amazing. Given their unfamiliarity with the work and their rigorous preparation of it, made me very proud of their performance.
As you prepare for a recital, what are the elements you consider when choosing the music you will perform?
Usually the music I choose to perform is music I particularly love. In the current program of all Schubert, I chose the two sonatas that I studied earlier on with Edward Steuermann, my teacher at The Juilliard School, which have a particularly spiritual appeal to me. I am very fond of Schubert anyway. I also love to play and listen to chamber music. So, I always try to include a chamber work on any program.
In recent years, you have developed a great deal of skill as a painter. Can you share a bit about this experience? Do you see a connection between your skills as a musician and a painter?
I find painting and playing have certain similarities. They both demand a great deal of patience in carrying out whatever problems occur in the execution in preparation. Both processes take a certain amount of time in mapping out the procedure. One needs to be aware of colors both in tone quality in the music and of course a sensitivity to color used in the palette. In the preparation of both one has to be willing to not accept anything but the best of effort. Both require great imagination. I started to paint late in my life——at 65. So I have a lot to learn every day. I am y nature not a very patient person. Painting has forced me to become more patient. I realized when I started to paint that I loved the process and got a huge amount of pleasure from it
Do you have any future plans that you would like to share?
My future plan is to survive these terrible times as best I can and stay healthy. I am working on becoming more compassionate as a human being. That’s an area worth exploring.
Photos are courtesy of Mr. Stokman and Mike Canale for Music Institute of Chicago