Jim Durham
News Bureau Director

Gergory Partain
Gregory Partain is Professor of Music, Music Program Director at Transy

The five-event Stephen Tilford Memorial Concert Series back in the fall has some unfinished business for this first season. The late pianist’s father and series coordinator, Dr. Daniel Tilford, knew that gifted performer Gregory Partain of Transylvania University had to be part of this ongoing tribute to the talented son – and friend – whose life was cut short in 2006 at age 39 due to colon cancer.

“We just ran out of dates in the fall, but now we have one,” Daniel Tilford said – ecstatic that Partain will play a free concert of Beethoven, Chopin and Schubert at 7 p.m., March 25 in John L. Chapel.

“Stephen performed at Transy on occasion, but never felt right about inviting Greg over to perform on the old chapel piano,” said Tilford, proud now that Partain will be playing the new Steinway Grand Piano. This Model D Steinway that was purchased to honor Stephen Tilford is state-of-the-art as is the College’s other recent acquisition – the Osborne-Tilford Family (Johannus) Organ.

Partain is particularly honored to be part of this ongoing celebration of the life and legacy of his friend as well. “I remember having many enjoyable conversations with Stephen about all those things that consume serious pianists (meaning “piano nerds”) everywhere: teachers, technique, competitions, careers, favorite recordings, musical friends we had in common, pre-concert routines, and the sheer joy of living inside the great masterworks of the literature,” Partain recalled. “We spoke the same language. Like me, Stephen was attracted to monumental works; he loved the pianistic and emotional challenges of scaling those musical ‘Mount Everests’.”

Partain remembers three Tilford “moments” vividly – a testament to extremely high quality of playing, he said. “The first time, at U.K., he dazzled us with his Liszt B minor Sonata and a devilishly difficult etude for the left hand alone. A year or two later, I invited him to appear as a guest artist at Transylvania, where he treated us to a Scriabin sonata and Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit – technically and musically one of the most demanding works in the literature, and one of Stephen’s great specialties (a piece he seemed to toss off!). I also heard him play an exciting rendition of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue at Transy with the Central Kentucky Concert band.”

Partain certainly has had his moments at the piano and in the classroom. In his 23 years on the concert stage, he has appeared as recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist throughout the United States, and has performed overseas in Germany, Poland, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Russia, and Greece. He has appeared with the symphonies of Athens, Greece and Yaroslavl, Russia, as well as the Seattle Symphony, the Lexington Philharmonic, the Eugene Symphony, and the Sunriver and Peter Britt summer festival orchestras.

His second solo CD, released in 2007 under the MSR Classics label, has garnered consistent critical praise, including: “…some of the best Scarlatti I’ve ever heard…dare I say it, these approach the same level as Horowitz’s legendary recordings” (American Record Guide); “…suave and comfortable performances of three Rachmaninoff Preludes. In the Brahms, the tempo relationships and transitions emerge in a seamless, cumulative arc” (Gramophone); “Gregory Partain is a gifted pianist, and every item is intelligently and sympathetically played…imparts a cumulative power I have seldom heard brought out to such vivid effect” (BBC Music Magazine).

Trained at the University of Washington and The University of Texas, Dr. Partain is Professor of Music and Music Program Director at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, where he holds a Bingham Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Partain’s concert is sponsored by Dr. Rick Kopp, Natalie Tilford Kopp, and Colin and Rhys Tilford. Gifts to Georgetown College for perpetual maintenance of the Steinway Concert Grand and/or Johannus Organ may be sent by check to: Office of Institutional Advancement, 400 East College Street, Georgetown, KY 40324, or make a secure gift online.

Concert Program

Gregory Partain, piano

Sonata in A major, Op. 2, no. 2 (1795)Allegro vivace
Largo appassionato
Rondo. Grazioso
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Moment musicaux, Op. 94 (1823-1828)1. Moderato
2. Andantino
3. Allegretto moderato
4. Moderato
5. Allegro vivace
6. Allegretto
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op 58 (1844)Allegro maestoso
Scherzo. Molto vivace
Finale. Presto, non tanto
Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)