Whimsical Birdsong

Stacks Image 2279


Whimsical Birdsong is a self-curated concert series presenting the complete works of Ravel that include piano. I had wanted to play the complete solo piano works by Ravel for a long time—I’ve always felt drawn to the beauty of Ravel’s works and the precision placed into each note. He was a huge perfectionist—he believed that there was a perfect state of each work he wrote, and he did not want to publish a piece unless he believed it had reached that state. For this reason, his catalog of works is not enormous in comparison to composers like Beethoven or Chopin. This was another draw for me to want to play all his works—it wouldn’t take me a lifetime!

When I decided to attend graduate school at the Mannes School of Music, I was discussing some of my future goals and ideas for creative recitals with my teacher, Simone Dinnerstein. I mentioned wanting to play all of Ravel’s solo piano works and she said that was admirable, but it had been done before, so she suggested taking it a step further and not just playing his solo piano works, but playing
everything he wrote for and with piano, including chamber music and art songs. No pianist has ever undertaken a project like this with Ravel, so if I pulled it off it would be something incredible and unique to me.

Thus the project began. I set the goal for myself to learn and perform
everything Ravel wrote including piano over the course of five years. However, the project wasn’t just for me, it was also for the classical music community. I wanted people to be able to come to the concerts and understand Ravel better. To help achieve this, I don’t just program Ravel at each concert, I also program other works by other composers that are able to be compared and contrasted to see those who had influence on him, those he influenced, those who had similar or different upbringings, etc. so we can gain a deeper understanding of how his and others’ music is shaped by culture, experience, and history.

Ultimately I hope to present the concerts of this series all over the country and perhaps the world, and perhaps to even find a venue to perform the entire series in just one year. Sign up for my
email list to stay in the loop!



Whimsical Birdsong Concerts

Beyond France
5:30pm, April 15th, 2019
Stiefel Hall, Mannes School of Music
55 W 13th Street, New York, NY 10011


Program
Ravel — Chansons Madécasses
Kessa Mefford, piano
Cloe SanAntonio, mezzo-soprano
Luisa Mei Bressan, flute
Jihwon Na, cello


Lasser — 12 Variations on a Chorale by J.S. Bach
Kessa Mefford, piano

Ravel — Piano Trio in A minor
Kessa Mefford, piano
Laura Pereira del Rio, violin
Jihwon Na, cello
Stacks Image 2298

Luisa Mei Bressan, Kessa Mefford, Cloe SanAntonio, and Jihwon Na after the performance of Beyond France

Stacks Image 2302

Laura Pereira del Rio, Kessa Mefford, and Jihwon Na in a still from a recording session of Ravel's Piano Trio



Stars of Tomorrow
3:00pm, December 7th, 2019
Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco
605 Millwood Road, Mount Kisco, NY 10549


Program
Montez — Red Sea Trio
Kessa Mefford, piano
Laura Pereira del Rio, violin
Michelle Hromin, clarinet

Couperin — Les folies Françaises
Kessa Mefford, piano

Ravel — Le tombeau de Couperin
Kessa Mefford, piano

Ravel — Shéhérazade
Kessa Mefford, piano
Kristina Cook, soprano

Ravel — Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano
Kessa Mefford, piano
Laura Pereira del Rio, violin

Stacks Image 2316

Laura Pereira del Rio, Kessa Mefford, and Michelle Hromin in a still from the live recording of the Red Sea Trio



Masters of Impression
1:00pm, May 15th, 2021
Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco
605 Millwood Road, Mount Kisco, NY 10549


Program
Ravel — Valses nobles et sentimentales
Kessa Mefford, piano

Ravel — Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano
Kessa Mefford, piano
Olga Dusheina, violin

Ravel — Cinq mélodies populaires grecques, Tripatos
Kessa Mefford, piano
Kristina Cook, soprano

Montez — Violin Sonata No. 1
Kessa Mefford, piano
Olga Dusheina, violin

Ravel — Vocalise-étude
Kessa Mefford, piano
Kristina Cook, soprano

Ravel — Berceuse sur le nom de Fauré
Kessa Mefford, piano
Olga Dusheina, violin

Fauré — Nocturne No. 6 in D-flat Major, Op. 63
Kessa Mefford, piano
Stacks Image 2324

Olga Dusheina, Kessa Mefford, and Kristina Cook at the end of the concert

Stacks Image 2326

Kessa performing the Faure nocturne




Want to subscribe to my email list? Fill out this form!