Pola Baytelman, distinguished artist-in-residence in the Skidmore College Music Department, will celebrate the music of Jewish composers with a piano recital on Sunday, Oct. 26, the latest in Skidmore’s Jacob Perlow series of events.
Free and open to the public, the recital will begin at 3 p.m. in the Arthur Zankel Music Center on the Skidmore campus. The audience-friendly program features selections by Mendelssohn, Schoenberg, Schoenfield, Milhaud, and Schulhoff.
Baytelman has earned acclaim for her performances and recordings of Latin American and American composers – which represent her native Chile and her adopted home. The upcoming concert provided her a chance to explore her roots, said the pianist, who is Jewish. “I have been considering this project for quite a while now. It represents the culmination of an exploration of my roots. I have a recording of works by Latin-American composers, and my new CD, released in April, consists of music by American (US) composers, the US being my adopted country. Working on a project that would include Jewish music seems to be a natural path to follow,” Baytelman said.
She made her debut with the Chilean Symphony Orchestra at the age of 17 and has since performed with numerous orchestras, in the US and abroad. After graduating from the University of Chile’s National Conservatory, Baytelman earned a master’s degree and an artist diploma from the New England Conservatory in Boston as a pupil of Russell Sherman under a Fulbright grant. She earned a doctorate in piano performance from the University of Texas, Austin, where she studied with Nancy Garrett. She has also worked with Claude Frank and Menahem Pressler.
An active recitalist with a broad repertory that ranges from the 18th to the 21st century, Baytelman has toured extensively in China, Europe, Hong Kong, South America, and across the United States. She is well known for her performances of music by Spanish and Latin American composers, particularly the music of composer Isaac Albéniz. Baytelman has performed Albéniz’s monumental Iberia throughout the U.S., and recorded a groundbreaking CD of Albéniz’s work in 1998 (Elan). She is also the author of a book on Albéniz's piano music published by Harmonie Park Press in Michigan.
Highly respected as an artist and educator, Baytelman has taught master classes in mainland China, England, Hong Kong, and throughout the US. She is a sought-after judge for international competitions in both Europe and U.S., as well as presenter-recitalist in conferences in the U.S. and abroad. Her Skidmore faculty colleagues chose Baytelman to present the Edwin M. Moseley Faculty Research Lecture-Recital in 2006, the highest honor Skidmore faculty confers on a colleague. Her latest compact disc Celebration of the New - American Composers was just released by Albany Records. Baytelman’s recording of Robert Schumann’s Humoreske (2002 Centaur) was listed by American Record Guide as one of the top three performances of the classic work.
A generous grant from the estate of Jacob Perlow—an immigrant to the United States in the 1920, a successful businessman deeply interested in religion and philosophy, and a man who was committed to furthering Jewish education—supports annual lectures and presentations to the Skidmore and Capital District communities on issues broadly related to Jews and Judaism.