Salon 2018-09-09 — Michelle Huang

Sunday September 9, 2018 in Mclean

Michelle Huang, pianist

Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition
Ten Paintings by VCU Artists


Visions Fugitives, Op. 22, selected movements    Sergei Prokofiev (1891 – 1953)

Pictures at an Exhibition     Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839 – 1881)

  1. Promenade
  2. Gnomus
  3. Promenade
  4. The Old Castle
  5. Promenade
  6. The Tuileries Gardens
  7. Bydlo
  8. Promenade
  9. Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks in Their Shells
  10. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle
  11. Promenade
  12. The Market at Limoges
  13. The Catacombs (Sepulchrum romanum) – Con mortuis in lingua mortua
  14. The Hut on Fowl’s Legs (Baba-Yaga)
  15. The Great Gate of Kiev

This concert is a multimedia presentation of the complete performance of Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition and ten original oil on canvas paintings by two recent Virginia Commonwealth University graduates from the Art Department. This concert will also feature selections of Prokofiev’s Visions Fugitives, complementing the ‘visual’ aspect of the concert theme.

Mussorgsky wrote this piece as a remembrance of his good friend Viktor Hartmann, a Russian architect and painter. It is a suite of ten pieces, each piece is inspired by a painting or architectural design by Hartman. It is Mussorgsky’s most famous piano composition, with Maurice Ravel’s orchestral arrangement being the most performed and recorded. The music depicts the tour of the exhibition. The regular pace and the irregular meter of the Promenade depicts the act of walking from painting to painting. Unfortunately, four out of the ten paintings have since been lost.

The two artists created these ten paintings based on their own imagination and style, using the titles in the piano suite and Hartmann’s existing paintings as the inspiration.

These paintings will be presented with the performances of the piano suite in either a traditional concert hall setting or in smaller, more intimate venues, such as an in house concert, an exhibit room in a museum, or an art gallery. In a traditional concert hall setting, the paintings will be displayed outside of the concert hall in the lobby for the concert attendees to view. These paintings will also be presented as a slideshow on stage behind the piano as each movement is performed.

The commissioning of these paintings is made possible through the Faculty Professional Development Grant from the VCU Arts Program. This multimedia concert will not only showcase the artistic talents of two emerging young artists, but also strengthening the integration of performing art and visual art. It is my hope that this project will reach a wide audience who continues to appreciate and support the arts in different forms.


A native of Taiwan, pianist Michelle Huang has performed and taught extensively
throughout the U.S. as well as abroad in the Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, and
Taiwan. She has appeared as soloist and guest artist in numerous recitals and has
given lectures, workshops, and master classes. As a chamber musician, Michelle
Huang has collaborated frequently with vocalists and instrumentalists as well as
various chamber groups, such as the Mary L’Engle Ensemble, the River City Trio, the
chamber group-in-residence at Friday Musicale in Jacksonville, Florida, the
Jacksonville Symphony and Richmond Symphony musicians. In 2015, she completed
a week long concert tour with Rochester based clarinetist Julie Detwiler, in which the
duo travelled to Nazareth College, SUNY Potsdam, University of Mississippi, and
West Liberty University to perform and teach master classes. Most recently, she has
received a grant to commission ten paintings by two recent graduates of Virginia
Commonwealth University art students. These paintings are presented along side with
the complete performance of Mussorgsky’s piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition
during her concert tour in 2018.
Michelle Huang holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Master of Music in Piano Performance from the
University of Tennessee and Doctor of Music in Piano Performance from Florida
State University. Her principle teachers include Barbara Rowan, David Northington,
and Read Gainsford. As an educator, Huang has held teaching positions at both Walter
States Community College and Lincoln Memorial University. She has most recently
served as Assistant Professor of Piano at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville,
Florida. In 2012, she launched a Concert Series at Edward Waters College in which
high caliber performing artists performed concerts as well as conducting master
classes, workshops, and lectures for the continuing enrichment and exposure of
classical music to both the school and the community. As a strong advocate of mind
and body connection and overall musicians’ health, Huang has conducted numerous
performance anxiety workshops in various universities as well as music conferences
to help musicians understand and cope with anxiety related to performing. She is
currently a piano faculty member at the Virginia Commonwealth University. During
the summer, she is on the piano faculty of East/West International Piano Festival in
In addition to teaching in the collegiate setting, Dr. Huang also maintains a private
studio, where she works with talented young students. She is an active member of the
Richmond Music Teachers Association (RMTA) and Virginia Music Teachers
Association (VMTA) and serves as the first Vice President of Programming for
RMTA. She is a frequent adjudicator for local and state competitions, including
Federation State and Regional Competitions, FSMTA and GMTA State Competitions,
PMTA Concerto Competition, PMTA Sonata Contest, and Outstanding Young Artist
Scholarship Competition. Many of her students have won top awards and successfully
pursued studies and career in music.