Will Duchon  is well known as the popular radio voice for WMNR on Friday nights (88.1  FM, 6-11 p.m.). What some listeners may not realize is that Duchon is  also a virtuoso pianist. Without a word Sunday, Duchon let his fingers  do all the talking in a bravura concert with Danbury Music Centre's  music director, Ariel Rudiakov, leading Danbury Symphony Orchestra. The  conversation, held at Ives Hall in Danbury, was emotional and evocative.  In his broadcasting, Duchon is well versed in mining material from all  over the musical spectrum. For this return engagement with DSO, Duchon  chose Brahms' titanic Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15. Playing  with dynamic mastery, Duchon developed complicated chord progressions  and delivered with dynamite. He could also touch the heart with delicacy  and finesse. Muscular cross-handed sections in the first movement were  performed with laser sharp precision. Duchon and DSO were well  integrated, echoing each other in the majestic themes. Going into the  adagio second movement, Duchon and his Steinway concert grand piano were  suitably warmed up for one of Brahms' most beautiful pieces. Some  musical historians say it is a eulogy to his late mentor Robert  Schumann, while others claim it to be a love song to Clara Schumann. We  may never know, but what remains is definitely a gift for all to enjoy.  Surging into the final movement, Duchon articulated romantic themes with  flourish, and a nod to the horn section. 

Danbury News-Times

March 25, 2010


Last  Saturday, the first day of spring, was ushered in with a thoroughly  enjoyable recital at the Henderson Cultural Center at Hunt Hill Farm in  New Milford. For many years the home of Ruth and Skitch Henderson has  been better known as The Silo, where the culinary arts have flourished.  Recently, they have been serving up some tasteful musical events in  Skitch's old studio, which is now the Henderson Museum, and full of  memorabilia. The rustic woodwork creates the perfect atmosphere and  acoustics for chamber music in the country. Cellist Mary Costanza and  pianist Will Duchon took advantage of the positive confluence of  elements and gave a totally satisfying recital for those fortunate to be  present.  (read more)

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Danbury News-Times

November 6, 2008

"Soloist  (and WMNR program announcer) Will Duchon brought the house down in a  commanding presentation of "Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18" by  Sergei Rachmaninov (1873 -- 1947). The hushed audience allowed  Duchon to begin with those heavy-hearted opening chords, as the string  section joined in giving an affirmation to the restorative power of  music. Traversing through some dark passages, brightness ultimately  prevailed. Duchon was deliberate in steering the steady development of  the emotionally uplifting themes. Orchestral fireworks were set off as  Duchon seemed to be hitting all 88 keys in rapid succession, while  integrating well with every section of the DSO. The final release in the  third movement has a sweeping cinematic quality that always brings  "Lawrence of Arabia" to mind. At the end of this exhibition of  Rachmaninov, the audience exploded into enthusiastic applause.

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Channeling Rachmaninoff

By Thomas Bohlert

East Hampton Star (January 13, 2011) Will  Duchon made his third appearance at the Rogers Memorial Library in  South¬ampton in a piano recital on Sunday, and there was a good house in  spite of iffy weather. Many who were there had become his fans, and  deservedly so. Mr. Duchon has a master’s degree in music performance  from the State University at Purchase. He has performed three times at  Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. In addition to recitals in the greater  New York area, he has performed in Connecticut, Vermont, Florida, and  Mexico, and as a soloist with the Danbury Symphony Orchestra. He  recently released a CD, “Tabeaux,” of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin. He also  hosts two programs, “Friday Evening Classics” and “The Night Cafe,” on  WMNR, an NPR station in Connecticut. Mr. Duchon began with an engaging  rendition of Beethoven’s Sonata in D from Op. 10. Parts of it are fairly  Mozartian, but in the second movement, a beautifully poignant Largo, my  favorite both in the composition and in the performance, one can hear  the transition to a more mature, personal style. It ends in the minor —  with a kind of rich harmonic progression that a friend of mine would  have called “so minor.” Next were two works by Frederic Chopin. The  Nocturne in B major, Op. 32, No. 1, is a quite lyrical work, with a  curious ending going into harmonies that (again) explore the minor key  and seem to upset or at least question the tranquillity of what went  before. The Scherzo in C sharp minor, Op. 39, is a more turbulent  composition, and the performer appropriately evoked a fuller sound from  the piano than he had so far. It had glorious excitement, and, dramatic  as it was, it served as a prelude to the main piece on the program. It  should be noted that the piano, a small (about five-foot) Steinway,  sounds wonderfully full in the reverberant room, and, interestingly, the  bass and middle registers are especially resonant. There is a carpet  under the piano, on an otherwise hard floor, which might serve well to  help the clarity of the instrument, but I wondered if without the carpet  the upper registers would be a better match for the lower. Sergei  Rachmaninoff’s Sonata in B flat dates from 1913. Although both the  composer and Vladimir Horowitz made shorter versions of it, Mr. Duchon  chose the original one. When asked after the concert why he prefers the  earlier version, he said he thought that the later, streamlined ones  lost something, especially some of the buildup to the climactic points  in the first movement. The sonata has been called monumental, and that  is not an overstatement; the work is on a huge scale. It is highly  complex, and Mr. Duchon’s masterful playing brought out its tumultuous  and raging qualities and the ever-evolving layers of color, harmony,  melody, and countermelody, bringing the listener along with every twist  and turn. One might be tempted to say that the work is orchestral; but  it is better to say that it is pianistic to the limit. His technique was  fully up to its demands — at the end, his hands literally appeared as a  blur. Performers often identify with a particular composer, and  Rachmaninoff seemed to be Mr. Duchon’s composer. Someone in the audience  said after the program that he seems to channel Rachmaninoff. Indeed he  did! Mr. Duchon then played a quietly delicious encore, an arrangement  of an English Christmas carol by Percy Grainger, which was a wonderful  way to end the program and draw the season to a close as well. 

Will Duchon, pianist La Valse by Raul da Gama World Music Report Oct 14, 2017

 Maurice Ravel: Valses nobles et sentimentales, M. 61: I. Modéré –  Très franc – II. Assez lent – III. Assez animé – IV. Presque lent – V.  Assez vif – VI. Moins vif – VII. Epilogue: Lent; La Valse; Frédéric  Chopin: Waltz in C-sharp minor, Op. 64, No. 2; Waltz in F minor, Op. 70:  No. 2; Waltz in E Minor, B. 56 (post); Heitor Villa-Lobos: Valsa da  Dor; Franz Liszt: Valses oubliee No. 1; Valse-Impromptu; Mephisto Waltz  No. 1; Clarice Assad: Slow Waltz (from “Impressions”); Fritz  Kreisler-Sergey Rachmaninov: Leibesleid; Johannes Brahms: Waltz in  A-flat major, Op. 39: No. 15; Will Duchon: pf

Although in  1580 the French philosopher Montaigne did not seem as perturbed by what  he observed was a “sliding or gliding European dance” where the dancers  held each other so closely that their faces touched, others were not so  forgiving of what evolved into the sensuous, almost sexual “waltz” or La  Valse. Kunz Haas famously wrote, “Now they are dancing the  godless Weller or Spinner. The vigorous peasant dancer, following an  instinctive knowledge of the weight of fall, utilises his surplus energy  to press all his strength into the proper beat of the bar, thus  intensifying his personal enjoyment in dancing”. But Will Duchon makes  no such judgment although he captures all of the fiery sensuality; even  the wanton sexuality that first drove the “vigorous peasant dancers” to  distraction in his masterful interpretations of great waltzes on his  disc entitled – as it simply should – La Valse.

You will surely  find it in your heart to forgive Will Duchon for excluding Johann  Strauss from this selection of 12 waltzes because the repertoire that  has been included is faultless. The dis begins with two waltzes by  Maurice Ravel including his choreographic poem, “La Valse”, a piece  which famously turned the sensuality of the dance form into a vehicle  for biting satire with music scarred by Ravel’s experiences of the World  War I. Frédéric Chopin’s waltzes, greatly influenced by Carl Maria von  Weber’s Invitation to the Dance, are not simply brilliant and  sophisticated piano showpieces; they’re personal responses to the dance  form, imaginative evocations of the gaiety and abandon, and sometimes  sadness of the ballroom.

Heitor Villa-Lobos’ “Valsa da Dor” is a  gushing poem driven by some ostinato but also containing melodies of a  more folksy complexion within its eloquent, uniquely rhapsodic fervour.  And where there is Chopin, surely there is also Franz Liszt. And what  would Liszt pieces be if not seemingly orchestral works written for the  piano, which are here played in all their virtuoso delight by Mr Duchon.  Each of the three waltzes here is bursting with Romantic imagery,  including evocations of violins, nightingales and the play of starlight  on village dances. The Kreisler-Rachmaninov “Leibesleid” is redolent of  technically challenging motifs as its starting point and weaving  poetically from that. The Brahms is characterized by the palpable sense  that the piano is borne on the wings of quasi-orchestral texture.

Perhaps  the most significant item in the repertoire here is the “Slow Waltz”  which is taken from the Brasilian musical wonder, Clarice  Assad’s Impressions, a gorgeous suite for chamber orchestra. Miss Assad  writes with the sense of her own unique Brasilian-ness in mind. She is  also blessed with an astonishing understanding not only of her  instrument – the piano – but for virtually every instrument in an  orchestra and her music reflects this in every nuanced aspect. Will  Duchon has made a masterful adaptation of this chamber piece for the  piano and seems to play it with prophetic wisdom as he brings out the  beauty of the work’s lyricism and introspective moments. Hardly  surprisingly Miss Assad’s “Slow Waltz” – and indeed the eleven other  waltzes on this disc are furtively captured, and re-released in all  their absolute splendor by Will Duchon with such mastery as will be  remembered for a long time to come.

Released – 2017
Label – Opus 30 Classics
Runtime – 1:11:10