Wishart releases new collection of piano compositions

BUIES CREEK, North Carolina – Ravello Records has released a new recording, Piano Sonorities, by Betty Wishart, an adjunct professor of piano at Campbell University. Wishart composed the music; Richard McKee, chair of fine arts and professor of music at Campbell, wrote program notes for two of the pieces; and pianist Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi recorded the music in Campbell’s Scott Concert Hall.

“This recording is a product of Campbell, and I could not have done it without the university’s support,” Wishart said. “I hope this recording makes people more aware of our strong music program.”

The recording began with Astolfi, who had been performing Wishart’s music around the world, including at the M.P. Mussorgsky Ural State Conservatory in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in November and at a concert at Campbell. Astolfi asked Wishart if she would be interested in writing new pieces and recording a disc with both the new pieces and ones already performed.

At the encouragement of McKee and Ran Whitley, professor of music education at Campbell, Wishart applied for and was awarded a Regional Artist Project Support Grant offered by the Arts Council of Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

She began writing the pieces on a day when there were blustery winds and rain. “Surrounded by tall trees, I heard music in the rustling leaves, rain, occasional thunder, lightning and falling branches,” she said.

The finished recording includes various styles, some are introspective like “Remembrance,” others are virtuosic and joyful like the toccatas, and some are restful and contemplative like “Night Visions Suite.”

“Listeners may visualize scenes from nature or reminisce about specific events,” Wishart said.

Last summer, the music department arranged for Astolfi to record the pieces in Scott Concert Hall.

“The recording would not have been possible without the support of Campbell’s music department,” Wishart said. “The department supported me from the outset.”

The recording can be download on Amazon, iTunes, and Spotify, and hard copies can be purchased at the Campbell University Bookstore.

Astolfi will perform “Night Visions Suite” in New York City May 9.