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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Recital by World-Renowned Pianist To Support Architecture Students at Rensselaer

April 9, 2007

Recital by World-Renowned Pianist To Support Architecture Students at Rensselaer

Troy, N.Y. — In celebration of National Architecture Week, world-renowned classical pianist John Kamitsuka will perform a benefit recital to fund scholarships for architecture students in the Roman Studies Program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The special program of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Schubert will take place April 14 at 7 p.m. at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.

The event is presented by Rensselaer’s School of Architecture and the American Institute of Architects Eastern New York Chapter (AIAENY). 

A post-performance cocktail reception will afford the opportunity to meet Kamitsuka, who has performed across the globe at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Yamaha Hall, Piloti Hall, St. Martin-in-the Fields, the American Academy in Rome, and Chateau de L’Hermitage. Allan Kozinn of The New York Times described Kamitsuka’s playing as having “a laser-like focus that [keeps] every strand of counterpoint clear, clean, and independent.”

A silent auction also will be held at the reception, where artwork from the Roman Studies Program will be available for purchase along with a one-week stay at a garden apartment in Rome. The apartment, which was featured in the August 2006 issue of the Italian magazine Casafacile, was designed by Rensselaer Clinical Professor of Architecture Cinzia Abbate-Gardner, who lives in Rome and serves as a full-time coordinator for the Roman Studies Program. 

A “sneak preview” of all auction items will be available beginning April 11 at 6 p.m. in the Greene Building on the Rensselaer campus. All proceeds from both the concert and reception will fund scholarships for architecture students participating in the Roman Studies Program.

“Together we can make a meaningful contribution to students’ lives, while supporting the future of architecture and seeing the talent of our emerging professionals,” said David Pacheco ’92, a partner at Pacheco Ross Architects in Voorheesville, N.Y., graduate of the Roman Studies Program, and president-elect of the AIAENY.

In fall 2006, a group of alumni, members of the Rensselaer community, and friends of the School of Architecture traveled to Italy in celebration of the program’s 25th anniversary. With the students acting as their tour guides, the travelers explored the exquisite architecture of the “Eternal City.” 

The Roman Studies program was the vision of Patrick Quinn, a former dean of the School of Architecture, and became fully realized under the leadership of Quinn’s successor, David Haviland ’64. When it started, Rensselaer was one of only two or three American schools of architecture with international studies programs in Rome.

In 1981, Associate Professor Peter Parsons and 10 architecture students traveled to Rome for a semester of study. The inaugural year of the international study program was “started on a shoestring,” according to Parsons, who said for four months the students studied design, history/theory, and the Italian language in a small, cramped studio space furnished with enough desks for only half the class.

“The space was so small,” he recalled, “that whenever possible we held our lessons outside in the street.” 

Today the program has doubled in size, with the most recent Roman Studies class totaling 22 architecture students. Just as Parsons did in 1981, one professor from the Troy campus still accompanies the students to Rome each semester.

Tickets for the recital are $35 for reserved seating and $12 for students. Details can be found at:

To attend the post-performance reception, contact AIA Eastern New York at (518) 720-3030 or Tickets are $85 and include preferred box seating at the recital.

Contact: Jason Gorss
Phone: (518) 276-6098