Next Installment of the Brahms Project with Wael Farouk
By Madison Kobe ’18
Commemorating the 120th anniversary of Johannes Brahms’ death, The Brahms Project features Carthage’s newest piano faculty member, Wael Farouk, in a recital series highlighting Brahms’ vast output. In 13 recitals over two years, Farouk and the members of the Carthage Faculty Trio will present Brahms’ complete chamber music as well as the composer’s complete solo piano works. Prof. Farouk brings more than a decade of experience teaching undergraduate and graduate-level piano students at institutes such as the Cairo Conservatory, Converse College, Manhattan School of Music, and Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Prof. Farouk was kind enough to answer a few questions I had regarding the Project and the upcoming performance.
How does the fact that this is a two year project affect your approach to the project?
The Brahms cycle is comprised of 13 recitals, and spreading them over two years, actually 15 months, makes it well spread and organized. The project is approximately 30 hours of music in total.
How did you become involved in this project?
The complete composer’s cycle is something I am interested in doing. I have done the complete Rachmaninoff cycle in Chicago two years ago, and it was great experience, for me, for the students, and the public alike. It got the institution at which I was working at the time great publicity since it was the first time in the US programing the complete cycle made the front page of the Chicago Tribune, as well as four other major newspapers. The performance was broadcasted of the main classical station of Chicago WFMT. It is rare to get to hear a whole output of a composer in one place, and Carthage will be the only institution in the world offering such series. And hopefully others will follow. Also, I have formed the Carthage Faculty Trio, which includes cellist Allegra Montanari and violinist Andrew Williams, and we are hoping to give lots of performances on and off campus, as Brahms wrote great music for this instrument combination.
How will you and the rest of the Carthage Faculty Trio work together to perform Brahms’ pieces?
Brahms wrote three trios, two piano and cello sonatas, and three violin sonatas. We will involve other strings, woodwind, and brass faculty, as well as the whole keyboard faculty, plus two of our students will join us on the series, plus one world class violinist in the closing concert.
What has been a highlight of putting this project together?
Of course being involved in this great music by learning it and performing it, and sharing it with my colleagues, our students, and public. But also having it performed at Carthage and making it a first time in North America, and the world.
What challenges have you come across while coordinating this project?
Well, programing something this large is always a challenging. But it is a minor challenge, I would say. Allowing enough time for rehearsals and coordinating schedules is a major obstacle.
Does one need to see all ten recitals to get the full effect of the project?
Actually they are 13 now, and attending all of them would give a richer experience. A closest comparison is Shakespeare. Wouldn’t you appreciate Shakespeare better if you have experienced everything he wrote? Plays tragedies, comedies, sonnets. It is the same with the whole cycle.
Join us at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 in the A. F. Siebert Chapel for the Carthage Faculty Trio featuring violin sonata in a major, cello sonata in f major, piano trio in c minor. For all upcoming dates and times for the Brahms Project Series, please visit us at carthage.edu/music/brahms-project or facebook.com/carthagefinearts. All events in this series is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Fine Arts office at 262-551-5859.