Coastal Concerts March 16 event tells story behind the music

Free program features noted conductor, pianist
February 22, 2014

Chopin’s "Funeral March" sonata is one of the best-known pieces of music in the world, with a theme that’s heard everywhere from state funerals to animated films.

But what was going on in Frédéric Chopin’s life that inspired such a famous but macabre anthem, which is just one element of the four-movement Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor? And how did the composer intend his work to be performed? Those are just a few of the questions that will be answered Sunday, March 16, when Coastal Concerts hosts its inaugural Musical Perspectives program at Indy Hall in Millsboro. The free public program, which begins at 3 p.m., coincides with March for the Arts in Education month in Delaware.

Maestro Roman Pawlowski, retired music director of several noted regional symphony orchestras, will highlight structural elements of the sonata, using graphic visual aids and brief, recorded musical excerpts. He will be joined by Ching-Yun Hu, who will discuss the performer’s role in interpreting the composer’s intentions. Hu, a winner of the 2009 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, will perform the entire sonata during Coastal Concerts’ 2013-14 season finale program Saturday, March 22, in Lewes.

“Our Musical Perspectives program aims to develop the perceptive skills of audience members, exploring elements of the work’s musical structure as well as its emotional and intellectual content,” Pawlowski said. “This will bring a new dimension to the listening experience, consistent with Coastal Concerts’ mission to promote classical music appreciation.”

Prior to his retirement, Pawlowski was music director of orchestras including the Delaware County Symphony and the Newark Symphony. He was on the faculty of Immaculata University, Rosemont College and Neumann University, and held choral and orchestral conducting positions at the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Musical Academy.

Although there is no charge for the March 16 program, advance reservations are required and may be made by calling 1-888-212-6458 or emailing a request to A complimentary reception will follow the presentation.

The fully accessible Indy Hall is at 23767 Samuel Adams Circle, near the intersection of Route 5 and Route 23 in Millsboro.

For more information on the March 16 program or the March 22 concert, go to

Coastal Concerts is a nonprofit organization promoting classical music appreciation in central Delmarva. Its programs are made possible, in part, by grants from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, both of which partner with the National Endowment for the Arts.