Chopin and His Parisian Friends

Lucienne Davidson

Thursdays, April 19 - May 17 (not April 26) 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. 4 sessions
Harvard Musical Association, 57A Chestnut Street

Year after year, Chopin’s music appears in more piano recitals than any other composer. We will try to find out why he is still so popular. The man and his music is our project, including his short, but exciting life. He was a complex person, outwardly very sociable, intelligent, cultivated, and with exquisite taste, but also arrogant, intolerant, egocentric – a veritable snob. He was, in addition, the best and most sought-after piano teacher in Paris – patient, understanding, and affectionate. From the 1820s to the1840s, the city attracted some of our greatest artists and intellectuals, all bumping into each other at the same dinner parties. There was  (and the list is incomplete) Victor Hugo, Franz Liszt, Balzac, Alfred de Musset, Lamartine, Delacroix, and Chopin’s muse and lover, George Sand. The composer was closest to the last two and they both exerted a major influence on his thinking and artistic development. Their lives and work will be examined as a counterpoint to that of their great friend. 

Our guide to Chopin’s music will be the mazurka, that emblematic Polish dance form. A dozen or so will be performed and anatomized. (Vodka will be passed around at the end – JUST KIDDING!)

Teaching Style: Lecture with discussion     Weekly Preparation: None


    Lucienne Davidson

    Pianist Lucienne Davidson was born in Paris and raised in NYC. She entered Juilliard at age nine, and continued musical studies at Yale, Bennington College, and NEC. She made her piano recital debut at Weill Recital Hall in 1989, and has performed in Europe and the U.S.  as a soloist, chamber musician, and with orchestra. Additionally, she served for two years as Chamber Music Assistant to the eminent pianist and teacher, Leonard Shure; was Chamber Music Co-coordinator at NEC; and was Founder and Artistic Director of Musique à Midi at the French Library and Cultural Center.