Schober to perform original compositions, along with works by Mussorgsky, Mendelssohn

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Houston pianist Mary Katherine Schober will present the concert program “Images,” featuring works by Modest Mussorgsky, Felix Mendelssohn and her own original compositions, at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, in Cole Concert Hall on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.

The inspiration for the title is Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.” “The program is essentially organized to showcase this work, as well as my own compositions,” Schober said. “Every part of the program is evocative of various images, whether literal or abstract.”

She describes Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” as one of the first and very few compositions of its kind. “Each movement is written to showcase an actual painting by Mussorgsky’s artist friend, Viktor Hartmann,” she said. “While not all the paintings still exist today, we can easily fill in the blanks with the evocative writing of this huge work. Images abound that blur the lines between fantastical and real life, from witches, to chicks hatching, to an old castle, to a gigantic gate of an ancient city.”

The program also includes Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words,” which have long been a choice staple of the pianist’s repertoire. “They tend to evoke clear themes and tropes, and the two on this program are no exception,” Schober said. Op. 38, No. 6, in A-Flat major is commonly known as “Duetto,” or “Duet,” and the nickname comes from two different melodies having a conversation throughout the piece. Op. 19, No. 6 is titled “Venetian Boat Song,” imitating the beloved songs of Venetian gondoliers in a rocking, emotional style.

Schober’s “Vignettes,” Op. 2, is a new work written  in 2022. While the four-movement structure is reminiscent of a classical sonata, the piece is exploratory and modern, she explains, where modes are used more than traditional major and minor in the piece.

Schober enjoys a varied career of teaching, collaborating, creating and performing in the greater Houston area. Schober’s piano students have participated and earned honors in both regional and state events. She holds an adjunct faculty position at Lone Star College-University Park. At LSC, she has taught private lessons and group piano classes, performs regularly at collegiate events, and received an Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award in the spring of 2023. She also serves as organist and pianist at First United Methodist Church, Pearland. She performs regularly with singer-songwriter Catterina, touring in Texas and New York City.

Concert tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. To purchase tickets, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit finearts.sfasu.edu. For additional information, contact the SFA School of Music at (936) 468-4602.