School of Music

USM Pianist Anastasia Antonacos to Celebrate Classical and Contemporary Works in CD Pre-Release Concert

March 3, 2014

GORHAM, Maine – Anastasia Antonacos, USM School of Music piano artist faculty, will present an evening of both classical and contemporary works next week at the University of Southern Maine (USM) School of Music.

The concert, “Something Old, Something New,” will feature compelling selections by Franz Liszt, Leoš Janácek, and Einojuhani Rautavaara and expressive modern pieces by British composer Cecilia McDowall.

The concert also celebrates the pre-release of Antonacos’ first CD, which will feature the first commercial recording of two McDowall pieces and is being produced by Gateway Mastering Studios of Portland.

The details of the concert are:

  • Something Old, Something New,” 8 p.m., Saturday, March 15, Corthell Concert Hall, USM Gorham campus, 37 College Ave., Gorham; tickets: $15, general public, $10, seniors, USM employees and alumni, $5, students; call (207) 780-5555 or go to

The program will begin with “something new” -- McDowall’s “Four Piano Solos,” which was inspired by memories of places and people, according to Antonacos.

“The solos are full of fascinating colors and textures,” the pianist said recently. “McDowall’s music really speaks to me, whether it is driving bass rhythms or meditative high-passage colors.” 

Antonacos will then journey back to “something old,” with “Auf dem Wasser zu singen,” a Lizst transcription of a Schubert piece for piano alone. Antonacos noted that the pianist is responsible not only for the original piano part, but also for the vocal line, adding that “it’s a very beautiful song about time and life and how fleeting it is.” 

Next will be two more Lizst pieces, which introduce a theme of water to the concert. “Les jeux d’eau a la villa d’Este” was written later in the composer’s life while he was sitting and enjoying the fountains at Villa d’Este in Italy; “Legende No. 2: St. Francois de Paule marchant sur les flots,” which translates to “St. Francis Walking on the Waves,” is based on St. Francis of Paola, who was believed to have walked on water.

Following intermission, Antonacos will perform Janáček’s “Sonata 1.X.1905.” The USM artist faculty member described the piece as being darker, with only two movements, because Janacek reportedly threw the third movement into a river. 

Antonacos will then perform movements from Rautavaara’s “Icons” which are each based on Byzantine icons.

The closing of the concert will bring the audience back to the present, with McDowall’s “Colour Is the Keyboard,” which is based on a Kandinsky painting. 

Antonacos has performed as a solo recitalist and as a chamber musician throughout the U.S., as well as in Greece, Russia, France and Belgium. She has played at venues such as the Salle Cortot, Casa Orfeo, Holland’s Alkmaar Conservatory and Alice Tully Hall. She has made solo appearances with the Northshore Philharmonic Orchestra, the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Symphony Orchestra and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.

Antonacos holds a first-place prize from the International Young Artist Music Competition in Bulgaria as well as top prizes from the Capdepera International Piano Competition in Mallorca and the Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Competition.

The pianist has attended the Holland Music Sessions, the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival and the Wilhelm Kempff Beethoven Course in Positano, Italy, where she was one of eight pianists selected for an intensive study of Beethoven led by John O’Conor. She has been a chamber music coach at Bay Chamber Concerts’ Next Generation program for several years, and she regularly serves as a master class teacher and adjudicator.

Antonacos holds a doctorate in piano performance from Indiana University in Bloomington and was a member of the full-time piano faculty at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for two years. She lives with her husband and daughter in Portland, where she was named one of the “100 Most Influential People of Portland” by the Portland Phoenix.