Amid all the horrible news of late, it’s comforting to be able to cheer something unequivocally positive: today, 22 June 2015 – a day after the solstice – marks the 100th birthday of Mr. Randolph Hokanson.
And this living legend — a gifted concert pianist, teacher, composer, and writer — is still sharing his music with us. Yesterday I had the privilege of hearing him give a recital to an enthusiastic crowd of fans. Mr. Hokanson offered poetically insightful performances of excerpts from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (I’ll never forget his take on WTC I’s E-flat minor Prelude), a movement from the Italian Concerto, and some Chopin Preludes — and was joined by the violinist Marjorie Kransberg-Talvi for Mozart’s Violin Sonata in G, K. 379.
During his many years at the University of Washington, Mr. Hokanson taught and influenced generations of pianists and other musicians, and it was touching to see quite a few of these along with extended family in the audience on a glorious Sunday afternoon.
Here’s a profile I wrote about Mr. Hokanson back at the beginning of 2014:
“I’ve seen it all!” announces Randolph Hokanson before losing himself in a mischievous gale of laughter. With someone else, you might be tempted to indulge that as hyperbole. With Hokanson, who was born in 1915 in Bellingham, it’s tempting to take it literally.
This gifted pianist and teacher has witnessed almost a century of not just ceaseless but accelerating change: epochal shifts in technology, in education, in how music and the arts are valued.