Xak Bjerken, of Cornell University, offers a recital exploring “the colors of the modern piano,” at Keawala‘i Congregational Church, Jan. 17, 2017, 6 pm ($25 suggested donation, at the door).

image001Bjerken has appeared with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, the Schoenberg Ensemble, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Disney Hall. He has performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Glinka Hall in St Petersburg, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, and for many years performed throughout the US as a member of the Los Angeles Piano Quartet. He released his first solo recording on CRI in 2001, and has since recorded for Koch International, Chandos, Albany Records, Artona, and is about to release his third recording for Open G Records, presenting solo and chamber works by Steven Stucky. Bjerken studied with Aube Tzerko at the University of California at Los Angeles and received his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the Peabody Conservatory as a student of and teaching assistant to Leon Fleisher. He is now Professor of Music at Cornell University.

The recital launches a new series — Nā Makana: A Cultural Series Celebrating the Abundance of Mākena — organized by John Rowehl, Director of Music at Keawala‘i Congregational Church. (‘Nā makana’ translates as ‘gifts’.) As anthropologists E.S.C. Handy and E.G. Handy observed, “The sky, seas, and earth, and all in and on them, are alive with meaning indelibly impressed upon every fiber of the unconscious as well as the conscious psyche. Hawaiian poetry and folklore reveal this intimate rapport with the elements.” It is this rapport that Nā Makana will celebrate, through music, dance, art, poetry, and film, in a serene setting abounding in the elements.