Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op 56
J.S. Bach (arr. Babib)
Trio Sonata No. 6 in G Major
About the Artists
Since his orchestral debut at age 11, pianist Alex McDonald has soloed with the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de Mexico, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and the Utah Symphony Orchestra, among others. He has performed across the United States as well as in Israel, Mexico, Canada, Japan, and South Korea; additionally, he has been a featured performer on PBS, WRR (Dallas/Ft. Worth), KUHA and KUHF (Houston), NPR, and WQXR (New York City). Awards and fellowships include second prize at the 2007 New Orleans International Piano Competition and second prize at the 2001 Gina Bachauer International Young Artist Piano Competition. In 2008, he was named a Harvey Fellow by the Mustard Seed Foundation. In 2013, he was a competitor in the 2014 Van Cliburn Competition.
Highlights of this season include solo performances in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, and Tennessee, and will record his first CD consisting of Liszt, Haydn and others this Fall. Additionally, he is appearing as a chamber musician in Texas and Virginia with Joseph Kuipers and the Marinus Ensemble and Ensemble 75, as well as two-piano concerts with Cathy Lysinger in Oklahoma and Texas. He will also perform Shostakovich’s Concerto no. 1 with the Dallas Chamber Symphony this September and Gershwin’s Concerto in F and Variations on I’ve Got Rhythm with the Plano Symphony this Spring.
Dr. McDonald is currently on faculty at Texas Woman’s University, having previously taught at Richland College as well as at the Juilliard School. Additionally, his private piano students have been admitted to Juilliard, Eastman and New England Conservatory, and have performed at Carnegie’s Weill Hall and on WRR. Deeply concerned about a healthy integration of life with music, he has actively pursued community formation both as an R.A. in the Juilliard residence hall and as president of Juilliard Christian Fellowship.
Dr. McDonald received his pre-college training under Lois Nielson, his bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory with Academic Honors and Distinction in Performance under Russell Sherman, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Juilliard under Yoheved Kaplinsky and Julian Martin. His doctoral document, a source study on manuscripts and editions for Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor, has been cited in the most recent edition of the sonata by Alfred Publishers, edited by Nancy Bricard.
Catharine Lysinger is widely sought after as pianist, teacher and lecturer. She is a prizewinner in national and international piano competitions, including first prize in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National Young Artist Competition, first prize in the Wideman Piano Competition (Shreveport, La.) and second prize in the Vietri-Sul-Mare (Italy) duo-piano competition with SMU colleague and chair of Piano Studies, Dr. Carol Leone.
Lysinger has performed with orchestras including the Filarmónica de Jalisco (Guadalajara, Mexico), the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Civic Symphony and the Clear Lake Orchestra, and frequently collaborates with the Meadows Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Jack Delaney. Recent performances include the Stravinsky Concerto for Piano and Winds, Messiaen’s Oiseaux Exotiques and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Lysinger is also an active soloist and collaborator in chamber music concerts. With duo-piano partner Dr. Alex McDonald she has performed the Bartók Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion with percussionists of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and numerous other works for two pianos by Mozart, Brahms, Liszt, Debussy, Rachmaninoff and more. Lysinger’s ongoing collaboration with Voices of Change, a Dallas-based professional ensemble comprised of members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, features chamber music written by living composers.
In 2014, Lysinger was named Pre-Collegiate Teacher of the Year by the Texas Music Teachers Association. She was also nominated for the SMU Provost’s Teaching Recognition Award, which honors faculty who demonstrate a commitment to excellence and a consummate dedication to teaching. Many of her students have been awarded first prize in numerous competitions, including the American Protégé Competition; the MTNA Junior and Senior Piano Competitions in Texas; Dallas Symphonic Festival; Dallas Piano Solo Competition; Plano Symphony Young Artist Competition; Baylor-Waco Competition; Texas Music Teachers Association solo and concerto divisions; and the Dallas Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition. Graduates of her studio have been accepted to music schools and conservatories nationwide including SMU, Baylor, University of Houston, New England Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory and Peabody Conservatory.
Lysinger is a frequent guest of festivals nationally and internationally. Recent invitations to perform, give master classes and present lectures have come from the Brancaleoni Festival (Italy), the Vienna International Piano Academy (Austria), the May Festival at the Tianjin Conservatory and East China Normal University in Shanghai (China) and at the National Conservatory in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) co-hosted by Estudio Diná and Stephen F. Austin University.
Lysinger is also a frequent adjudicator for and presenter to MTAs regionally and nationally and has been a featured presenter at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. She is the founding director of the SMU Institute for Young Pianists (SMU IYP), a summer festival that attracts the best and brightest young pianists in the region and from as far away as China and Hong Kong. Guest artists invited to teach for SMU IYP (and in conjunction with the SMU Institute for Piano Teachers) have included professors and pianist-pedagogues from across the U.S. including Jane Magrath, Seymour Bernstein, Logan Skelton, Jennifer Hayghe and Nelita True.
She has studied with Professor Nancy Weems (University of Houston) and Horacio Gutiérrez, taken master classes with Abbey Simon, Christoph Eschenbach and Christopher Elton, and taken lessons at the Aspen Music Festival with Gabriel Chodos and Evelyne Brancart.
Lysinger is professor of practice at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, where she teaches piano pedagogy and applied piano. She is also head of the piano pedagogy area and director of the Piano Preparatory Department. The program at SMU attracts students nationally and internationally, drawing some of the finest young pianists and teachers to study piano performance and piano pedagogy simultaneously in a highly specialized and individualized environment.