Hazard Lecture to celebrate Beethoven with virtual concert


Laura Sandifer

Laura Sandifer


Sophie Wang

Sophie Wang


Fayth Williams

Fayth Williams



Jan Swoope



The year 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the most admired composers in history. To commemorate the milestone, the 29th annual Hazard Lecture Series in Columbus will present "Music with The Beethoven Celebration Trio." The virtual concert at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28 will feature Laura Sandifer on violin, Sophie Wang on piano and Fayth Williams on cello. Viewers may watch via facebook.com/heritageacademypatriots.


The series, established by the family of the late George Hazard Sr., has long focused on three rotating themes: The Voyage of the Mind; the Voyage from the Past; and The Voyage of the Artist.


Normally comprised of two free lectures presented to the public at Heritage Academy each fall, this year's series consists of one virtual presentation due to COVID-19 health guidelines.



"It is wonderful that Heritage is able to broadcast the performance to our usual faithful audience and, of course, to anyone interested in tuning in," said George Hazard Jr. "While we look forward to returning to our usual format with two programs in 2021, we certainly thank these musicians for their extra work in assuring this year's celebration of this great composer."


Trio musicians are eager to perform, said Sandifer. The recent pandemic has severely curtailed their chances to do so for months.


"The orchestras we perform in are not having seasons right now. We are very excited to play chamber music; those opportunities are rare right now."



Compelling music


Sandifer, Wang and Williams will present excerpts from Beethoven's "Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 1, No. 3."


"It's a wonderful piece. It really keeps you on your toes," Sandifer said. "You have very intense emotions, then you have more playful, and you also have almost sacred sounds. The ending is a surprise. It doesn't end as you'd expect."


Trio members will also talk about the composition and about how each instrument contributes, Hazard said.


"It's our goal to make everybody love Beethoven as much as we do and to make the music accessible to everybody," remarked Sandifer.


Beth Lucas is director of admissions and public relations at Heritage Academy.


"Once again, Mr. Hazard has lined up an interesting program to bring to our community and our students," she said. "Since it will be a virtual event, we hope it will reach people near and far who may not have been able to attend otherwise. And we hope this particular program might inspire some future musicians or encourage young musicians to continue on their path."



The trio


Sandifer, a graduate in music education from Mississippi University for Women, is an educational therapist and teaches violin privately and with Suzuki Strings. She performs with the Meridian Symphony Orchestra, North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra.


Concert artist Wang joined the Mississippi State University faculty in 2019. She holds a Doctorate of Music Arts in piano from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and has presented lecture-recitals and masterclasses in Serbia, Austria and her native Taipei, Taiwan, among other locations. The award-winning pianist made her Carnegie Hall solo debut in 2016.


Cellist Williams, of Tallahassee, Florida, also performs with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra. The cello and violin instructor graduated from the University of Alabama in violin performance and recently earned has master's degree from the University of Memphis.


The Sept. 28 virtual program is free to everyone, at facebook.com/heritageacademypatriots.



Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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