Romantic Masterpieces – Gayle Martin, Internationally Acclaimed Pianist

Gayle MartinPiano

Her intense passion and deep seated emotional response to the music…” 
(Washington Post)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow provided posterity with many gems and among them is this poignant statement: “Ah, how good it feels!  The hand of an old friend.”  As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, be uplifted and inspired by the artistic hands of ARCA favorite and friend, internationally acclaimed pianist, GAYLE MARTIN, on Sunday, November 12, 2023 at 2:00 PM in Lincoln Hall.

Be swept away by the emotional richness of glorious masterpieces from the height of the Romantic era in the hands of a master:

“This was a performance which, if recorded on 78s, could have fooled the average pianophile into thinking he or she was listening to one of the greats of the past.(Woodstock Times)

There is no mask or vaccine requirement for the concert.  Please refrain from attending if you are ill – or if you have been exposed to someone with COVID.

Tickets:  Adults $25, ARCA Members $20, Students $5   To reserve tickets, please call 724 659-3153,  buy online here or pay by cash or check at the door.

Gayle Martin – Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center

ARCA is grateful for the very generous gift of ARCA Board member and Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Bott and Robert Jennings sponsoring the the return of Gayle Martin to Lincoln Hall.

From Moscow to Buenos Aires and New York to Los Angeles – in concertos and recital – internationally acclaimed pianist Gayle Martin’s “deep seated emotional response to the music” (Washington Post) creates “A truly magical atmosphere”.  Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts by popular demand welcomes Gayle Martin back to the Lincoln Hall Steinway to perform a program of solo piano masterworks by Grieg, Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Liszt and Franck.

The sole American laureate of the Sixth International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow — the third American woman ever to reach the finals, Gayle has recently released her CD “To Keep the Dark Away,” (Ravello Records, 2016) which was hailed unanimously by three reviewers at Fanfare Magazine“Superb performances, staggering interpretations; thought-provoking and deep; beautifully characterized… An infinitely rewarding disc that demands repeated listening.”  A rave review by Daniel Kepl, written in August 2018 for Performing Arts Review, proclaims it “… a unique CD.  Shatin the colorist, has a collaborative partner in Martin, whose clarity of technique, articulations and nuanced narrative helps transform words to sound.  Spectacular!”

After the Concert – Meet the Artists 

After the concert, meet Gayle Martin and other Red Brick Gallery Cooperative Artists featured in the Holiday Art Show at the wine and cheese reception catered by Don Ras III with desserts by The Crow’s Cupboard for the opening of the exhibit in the Upstairs Gallery from 4 to 6 PM. There is no admission to the gallery. Everyone is invited to come after the concert and celebrate the holidays – and to get an early start on your holiday shopping!

The Red Brick Gallery and Gift Shop’s Annual Holiday Art Show & Exhibit will span over six weekends from Friday, November 10th to Sunday December 17th.

Original, high quality, artisan-made gifts created by Red Brick Gallery Cooperative Member Artists will be for sale on two floors of the gallery in a variety of media: Silver and gemstone jewelry, hand woven scarves, hand turned wooden vases, rustic wooden tables, wearable art, hand-made baskets, oil and watercolor paintings, pencil drawings, fine art photography, and greeting cards.

The annual exhibit will showcase an expanded selection of new works from the members of the cooperative.  Current members of the Red Brick Gallery Artist Cooperative are Cheri-Lee Anderton-Yarnell, Taylor Banner, Karin Arnds, Mark DeWalt, Donna Edmonds,  Angela Taylor Hardwick, Kathy Hogg, John M. Karian, Dennis Keyes, Jason Floyd Lewis, Karen Mortland, Nissa Rappoport, Linda Thompson, and Cathy and Jack Trzeciak.


Gayle Martin’s program presents a rich collection of compositions written during a sixty year period at the height of the Romantic era from the 1830’s to the 1890’s.  The compositions showcase the extraordinary creativity and cross fertilization of music and literature that flourished in the arts during this Age of Revolutions in the nineteenth century namely, the Industrial Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars and the American Civil War.

This was the Victorian Age in its full glory (epitomized by the expansion of the British Empire) that gave us Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Edgar Allen Poe, and Frankenstein (Mary Shelley).  Nothing could be more romantic and dramatic than the novels of the Brontë sisters, Leo Tolstoy, Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens…. except perhaps for the music of Robert Schumann, Frederic Chopin, Johannes Brahms, and Cesar Franck.

The timeless fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson are mirrored in the Lyric pieces of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. While Grieg’s prelude that opens the program is Mozartian in its clarity, his Lyric pieces are Schumannesque in their whimsy and thoroughly Norwegian in their musical language. The influence of the fantastic realm of “märchen” – fairy or folk tales – can be heard in the Legend section of Robert Schumann’s Fantasie.

Robert Schumann was not particularly a friend of the virtuosic pianist and composer, Franz Liszt, nonetheless he dedicated his Fantasie to him in hopes that he would play it.  Beneath the title of his Fantasie, Robert Schumann quotes the poet Friedrich Schlegel; “Through all the notes in Earth’s many-colored dream, there sounds one soft long drawn note for one who listens in secret.”

Secretive indeed – and yet obvious in its musical “code” – Schumann wrote his Fantasie in C (with “C” for his beloved, Clara Wieck,1819-1896) while being forcibly separated from her during their courtship by Clara’s father. The first movement is full of that longing both harmonically and melodically, which tension remains unresolved until the very last page of the work, when the music resolves lovingly and tenderly in the key of C major (for Clara) with a quote from Beethoven’s “An die ferne Geliebte.”  – “Take them, then, these songs that I have sung for you…”

Within one year of the publication of Schumann’s Fantasie, Robert and Clara finally were married in 1840.  As a wedding gift to Clara, Robert wrote the song “Widmung” (Dedication) on a text by Friedrich Rückert.

“You my soul, you my heart,
You my rapture, O you my pain,
You my world in which I live,
My heaven you, to which I aspire,
O you my grave, into which
My grief forever I’ve consigned!”

Schumann’s Dedication later was transcribed for piano by Franz Liszt – perhaps in response to Schumann’s dedication of his Fantasie to him.”

The two Intermezzos of Johannes Brahms are connected also to the compositions of Schumann and Liszt, as Brahms for many years was a loyal friend to both Robert and Clara Schumann.  In 1893, Brahms dedicated his Six Pieces for Piano, Op 118 to Clara Schumann, a brilliant pianist and composer herself.

Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann, Johannes Brahms

This period was a virtual hot-house of mutual inspiration and appreciation, as these composers influenced and promoted each other.  In a review of Frederic Chopin’s music (whose Scherzo closes the first half of the concert) Robert Schumann penned this tribute, “Hats off, gentlemen, a genius.”

The inspiration of these Romantic composers extended beyond their contemporaries to the great composers of the past. The prelude of Grieg which opens the program and the Prelude, Chorale and Fugue by Cesar Franck that closes the concert were influenced by Johann Sebastian Bach’s Preludes and Toccatas.  Franck’s profound and complex piano masterpiece “Prelude, Chorale and Fugue” has been described as a sublime mixture of J.S. Bach and Richard Wagner.


Praeludium from Holberg’s Time, Op. 40                              Edward Grieg  (1843-1907)

Two Lyric Pieces, Op. 54

Fantasie in C, Op. 17, first movement                         Robert Schumann  (1810-1856)

I.  Quite fantastic and passionately delivered; In the tone of a legend

Through all the notes in Earth’s many-colored dream, there sounds one soft long drawn note for one who listens in secret.”             Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829)

(Dedication)                                                      Robert Schumann/Franz Liszt

Scherzo No. 3 in C# Minor, Op. 39  
                               Frederic Chopin  (1810-1849)

 –  Intermission –

Two Intermezzi, Op.118                                                      Johannes Brahms  (1833-1897)

            1.  Allegro non assai, ma molto appassionata
            2.  Andante teneramente

Prelude, Choral et Fugue, FWV 21    
                                   Cesar Franck  (1822-1890)

Arrive Early and Explore Foxburg

🎹🍁Looking for an Autumn Get-away?
Come to the beautiful Allegheny River Valley in Foxburg SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12 for the concert of
🎵Tchaikovsky Competition Laureate GAYLE MARTIN

After the concert join the festivities at the
🎨Red Brick Gallery Cooperative Artist Holiday Art Show🎁
Opening wine and cheese reception🍷from 4 to 6 PM RBG 

Plan to Make a Day of it in beautiful Foxburg!  

Before the concert, enjoy a brisk walk along the Allegheny River trail or have lunch at the Allegheny Grille in their dining room overlooking the Allegheny River.

Or for more casual fare, at Foxburg Pizza with salads, sandwiches and pizza.

Be sure to save time to enjoy a wine tasting in the newly renovated Foxburg Wine Cellars or enjoy a bottle of wine on the beautiful patio on a warm November day  – or do some early Christmas shopping for stocking stuffers – like their deliciously robust River Queen.

Savor a gourmet coffee and hand made chocolate at Divani Chocolatier and Barrista.  Or spend the night in Foxburg in the lovely, newly renovated  Foxburg Inn or up the river at Emlenton’s bed and breakfast, the Barnard House.



Gayle Martin, Pianist

Steinway Artist Gayle Martin enjoys a distinguished career as a concert pianist, having achieved international prominence as the sole American laureate of the Sixth International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow — the third American woman ever to reach the finals.

In reviewing her solo recital at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, The New York Concert Review wrote that she created “a truly magical atmosphere… and made this listener smile with pleasure.”

Her latest CD, To Keep the Dark Away, (Ravello Records, 2016) was hailed unanimously by three reviewers at Fanfare Magazine: “Superb performances, staggering interpretations; thought-provoking and deep; beautifully characterized…An infinitely rewarding disc that demands repeated listening.”

Gayle MartinA rave review by Daniel Kepl, written in August 2018 for Performing Arts Review, proclaims it “… a unique CD. Shatin the colorist, has a collaborative partner in Martin, whose clarity of technique, articulations and nuanced narrative helps transform words to sound. Spectacular!”

Following a recent performance of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto, the critic Courtenay Cauble wrote: “Gayle Martin has it all. The depth of feeling is always there…because she makes the music her own and then communicates it, as any real artist must… Her performance was both brilliant and moving, and always beautiful.”

imagesHighlights of Martin’s career include performances with the California Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Houston Symphony (since age 12), Moscow Radio Philharmonic, Moravian Philharmonic, the Maracaibo Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Denver Symphony, and the Virginia Symphony. She has toured throughout South America, including an engagement at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires with theOrquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Argentina.

Other engagements include appearances at the White House and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and numerous performances throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Austria, Poland, Israel, the Czech Republic, and Mainland China, where she was a guest of the government.

In Texas, she recently performed the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 and the Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor with the Brazosport Symphony at The Clarion, the world-class Performance Center at Brazosport College. Recent performances include an all- Beethoven concert including the Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 57 (“Appassionata”) and the Choral Fantasy, Op. 80 in Wilmington, Delaware at the Westminster Presbyterian Church and annual concerts in Sarasota, FL

A native Texan, Gayle Martin was one of the last students of the famous pedagogue Mme. Rosina Lhevinne at the Juilliard School and was awarded the Josef Lhevinne Prize at graduation. She then studied with Dieter Weber at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna. Martin holds the Master’s degree from NYU where she studied with Eugene List and taught on the faculty for five years. Her early training was with Ruth Burr, a local legend in Houston.

In a 2019 interview article, “The Passionate Pianist” in The Buzz Magazine, Gayle shared her journey from learning a few songs on at the piano at age 6 to becoming an internationally acclaimed pianist.

“At age 6, a babysitter taught her a couple of tunes. When her parents arrived home, she proudly played what she’d learned. And, oh my, her folks thought, who were they to deny promising talent? They immediately solicited Bellaire piano teacher Charlotte Hillbolt for lessons. The love affair between student and piano began.

“I threw myself into it,” says Gayle, who, at age 8, performed her first solo recital at the University of Houston. She took to the stage at Dudley Recital Hall in a long, yellow dress, performing Chopin, Beethoven and a self-composed sonatina. Houston legend Ruth Burr, a renowned pianist and teacher, took note from the audience.

“She wanted to take me to the next level. I became Ruth Burr’s student at age 9,” says Gayle, who performed yearly class recitals at the University of St. Thomas. “I remember playing a Josef Haydn sonata, and it was so beautiful and sad that I got worked up, almost to crying. Miss Burr encouraged that. It’s like the quote, ‘Music is the language of emotion.’ I feel that’s true, and so did she.”

Gayle relished Burr’s tutelage, visiting her Museum District home for lessons on her Steinway. “It was like a cultural experience for me,” she says of her worldly, European-trained teacher. At age 11, Burr prepped Gayle for a competition. The prize? Playing with the Houston Symphony. “I won. I played the Beethoven 1st Piano Concerto with the Houston Symphony,” Gayle recalls. “Of course I was a bit nervous, but nervousness turned to excitement.”

Excitement took hold, too, when she returned to Dudley Recital Hall in 1970 as a Bellaire High School graduate, wooing the audience and reviewers alike with her solo performance. In a long, flowing green silk gown, she took to the keys with gusto, testament to years of practice under Burr and a desire to become a concert pianist.

Next stop, The Juilliard School… [where] she was accepted, with scholarship, studying under Russian-born Madame Rosina Lhévinne, one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.”

Other teachers included Eugene List at New York University where she got her masters after studying in Vienna and London for a year after graduating from The Juilliard.

Gayle Martin is a frequent competition judge, both locally and internationally. She teaches privately in Houston, New York, Delaware and Connecticut, and is currently Co-Program Chair of the century-old Houston Tuesday Musical Club. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, she helped to keep the club running by holding meetings and performances over Zoom and presenting speakers from all over the world.

On a personal note, always an animal and dog lover, her dogs from Pepito to Eddie also have been her audience while practicing. In the article, “Passionate Pianist”, author Cathy Gordon writes, “And through it all, her dog Eddie, a cute scruffy mix, lies beside the grand piano, his pug-like tail occasionally thumping as if keeping beat. Lucky dog. He gets front row seats to all of his owner’s practices as well as living room performances attended by family and friends. “He barks when they applaud,” says the concert pianist. “Such a joyful little dog.”

Gayle Martin performed “Fantasy on St. Cecilia” in the April 6, 2019 concert of music by composer Judith Shatin in Old Cabell Hall at the University of Virginia – part of Shatin Music Month, a celebration of the composer’s retirement from teaching and shift to full-time composing with performances of her solo, choral, chamber, electroacoustic, digital and orchestral music.

Gayle Martin acknowledges standing ovation after Shatin’s “Fantasy of St. Cecilia” April 6 concert in Old Cabell Hall, Charlottesville

Martin’s consummate and artistically tremendous, tour-de-force performance received a prolonged standing ovation and rave review by Ralph Graves:

Judith Shatin retrospective concert – insights and thrills
Apr 8th, 2019 | By Ralph Graves

For me, the highlight of the concert was “Fantasy on St. Cecilia” (1997). Based on her piano concerto “The Passion of St. Cecilia,” the fantasy distills the essence of that music into a version for solo piano.

Gayle Martin, who commissioned the work, performed. And what a performance! It was 16 minutes of raw emotion barely contained by 88 keys. We heard tone clusters formed by arms slamming on keys, frantic bursts of intricate, atonal runs, and stop-on-a-dime mood and tempo changes.

Martin owned this work. I could see her singing along with this complex music. It was thrilling. Those of us fully appreciated what we just experienced gave her a standing ovation.”

Gayle Martin’s recently released CD “To Keep the Dark Away,” (Ravello Records, 2016) was hailed unanimously by three reviewers at Fanfare Magazine:  “Superb performances, staggering interpretations; thought-provoking and deep; beautifully characterized… An infinitely rewarding disc that demands repeated listening.”

A rave review by Daniel Kepl, written in August 2018 for Performing Arts Review, proclaims it “… a unique CD.  Shatin the colorist, has a collaborative partner in Martin, whose clarity of technique, articulations and nuanced narrative helps transform words to sound.  Spectacular!”

Gayle Martin, Pianist – To Keep the Dark Away

Performing Arts Review – CD Review by Daniel Kepl

Elegant interpretations of imaginative musical narratives by Liszt Prokofiev and Judith Shatin “…welcome the ecstatic experience.”  Emily Dickinson

Wow! A signature part of Gayle Martin’s portfolio, Fantasy on St. Cecilia shouts the artist’s virtuosity and justifies composer Shatin’s trust. Spectacular!

Also on the CD, a dazzlingly stylish and flawlessly descriptive performance by Martin of five movements from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Ten Pieces for Piano, Op. 75 and two gorgeously executed Wagner/Liszt transcriptions, Ballade of the Flying Dutchman and the exquisite Isoldes Liebestod

Kudos to pianist Gayle Martin for a unique CD of cutting edge virtuoso contemporary piano works by composer Judith Shatin, paired beautifully with piano transcriptions of late nineteenth and mid-twentieth century masters Wagner, Liszt and Prokofiev.