Marian Miner Cook

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Athenaeum Concert Series: Renewal from Ashes (Peace)

Thu, February 29, 2024
Dinner Program
Logan Skelton

Join the final concert of of the Athenaeum Concert Series, Renewal from Ashes – War, Destruction, Remembrance, Peace. in its inaugural 2023-24 season, the Athenaeum Concert Series invited five celebrated guest artists to speak about and perform music composed at times of war.

For this finale concert, "Peace," internationally acclaimed pianist Logan Skelton considers the connections between Hungarian composer Béla Bartók and American composer George Gershwin. Both lived and worked in the early part of the 20th century. They both looked to the people for artistic and musical inspiration, Bartók finding his compositional voice through the study of East European folk music, and Gershwin through assimilating American popular music of the time. Both were pianists who combined their work as composers with great skill as performers, the piano being absolutely central to their music. And like so much of the world in the early 20th century, war was an ever-present background to their lives. 

Having lived through World War I, Bartók again experienced war through the beginnings of World War II. He eventually emigrated to America in 1940, settling in New York. Gershwin was a New Yorker through and through, born and raised in the city. In many ways, Gershwin’s music represents an outpouring of energy and American optimism in the period immediately following World War I. Bartók, too, had a period of great productivity between the wars, though his final years were a profound expression of uncertainty during World War II. As such, both artists gave voice to their times. While Gershwin’s music is a kind of celebration of joy during peacetime between wars, Bartók’s music often anxiously, even desperately longs for peace.

Logan Skelton is a much sought-after pianist, teacher and composer whose work has received international critical acclaim. Skelton has concertized widely in the United States, Europe and Asia and appeared on many national public radio and television stations, as well as on radio in China and national television in Romania. He has recorded numerous discs for Centaur, Albany, Crystal, Blue Griffin, Equilibrium, Supertrain and Naxos Records, the latter two consisting of collaborations with fellow composer-pianist William Bolcom. He has been a juror for prominent piano competitions and regularly appears in international festival settings. As a composer and arranger his work is published by Muse Press. He has creatively reimagined various piano works of Liszt, Mozart, Bartók, and contributed substantially to the upcoming Gershwin complete edition. Skelton has a special affinity for art song, having composed nearly two hundred songs, including numerous song cycles. A devoted teacher, Skelton has been repeatedly honored by the University of Michigan including the Arthur F. Thurnau professorship, among the highest honors given to faculty members at the university. Skelton’s own piano students have won awards in many national and international competitions. He has served on the faculties of Manhattan School of Music, Missouri State University, and the University of Michigan.

For part of his performance, Skelton will be joined by Athenaeum Concert Series founder and director Sheena Hui '19 on piano.

The 2023-2024 Athenaeum Concert Series is funded in part by the generous donation of Frank Hobbs ’74 and Victoria Shevlin Hobbs.

Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

Claremont McKenna College
385 E. Eighth Street
Claremont, CA 91711


Phone: (909) 621-8244 
Fax: (909) 621-8579