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The “Piano Monsters” debut at West Circle Series in Carnival of the Animals, Music of Camille Saint-Saëns

October 26, 2017



Contact:  Michael Sundermann, MSU College of Music Communications Office, 



EAST LANSING, Mich. – The MSU College of Music is proud to present Carnival of the Animals, Music of
Camille Saint-Saëns, on Monday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in MSU Auditorium’s Fairchild Theatre. This concert
will feature one of Saint-Saëns’s most beloved works, accompanied by the iconic verses of poet Ogden Nash.


Composer Camille Saint-Saëns was born in Paris in 1835 and quickly became a child prodigy of the piano. By the
age of 10, he was performing full piano recitals with major pieces. He studied composition at the Paris
Conservatory and began to capture the attention of Berlioz, Liszt, Rossini and other notable figures.


One of Saint-Saëns most famous works is “The Carnival of the Animals.” The suite is comprised of 14
movements that depict different wild animals, including pianists! The humorous melodies and imaginative themes make the work a delightful treat for audiences. Saint Saëns wrote this piece while also working on his Third Symphony. Fearful it would ruin his reputation, he banned certain movements to be performed until after his death. Today, it is one of his most beloved and performed pieces.


In 1949, Ogden Nash wrote a set of humorous verses to accompany each movement for a Columbia Masterworks
recording conducted by Andre Kostelanetz. They were recited on the original album by Noël Coward. The poems
are now often included when the work is performed, usually recited before each piece. In this performance,
Broadway and opera star Marc Embree will narrate the poems.


“It is very exciting to have the debut of the ‘Piano Monsters’ at West Circle Series,” says Deborah Moriarty, chair
of the piano department and a resident “Piano Monster.” “The ‘Monsters’ love this piece and we look forward to
working with Marc Embree.”


In addition to “The Carnival of the Animals,” the performance will feature Saint-Saëns’ Clarinet Sonata and
Violin Sonata.


Mingzhe Wang, clarinet
I-Fu Wang, violin
Derek Polischuk, piano
Zihua Tang, piano
Young Hyun Cho, piano
Panayis Lyras, piano
Deborah Moriarty, piano
Marc Embree, narrator


This concert is generously sponsored by Mike and Midge Morrow. The entire West Circle Series is sponsored by Joanne and Bill Church.


Michigan State University College of Music • 102 Music Building • East Lansing, MI 48824  

P: 517-353-9958 • F: 517-432-7081


Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (age 60 and older), and $5 for students with ID and anyone under 18,
and can be purchased online (, at the College of Music box office, by calling (517) 353-5340, or in person (333 W. Circle Drive, East Lansing), or at the door.
More information can be found at