BellFest to Film on Location at Historic Perry Belmont House

The annual National Bell Festival, taking place on New Year’s Day, will this year conclude with a performance on piano by acclaimed musician, Elizabeth Hill. A recognized leader in contemporary music advocacy, Ms. Hill has toured across the U.S. and Europe as a solo performer, educator, and lecturer. Her appearance at the National Bell Festival will close a day-long program of community events, cultural experiences, world-class performances, and one-of-a-kind activities – all free, streamed online, and open to the public.

Ms. Hill’s recital, titled First and Forward, will highlight composers who span more than a century of creative exploration and who are recognized for making substantial contributions to the American canon: Florence Beatrice Price (1887 – 1953), Robert Nathaniel Dett (1882 – 1943), William Grant Still (1895 – 1978), and contemporary Armenian composer living in San Francisco, Tatev Amiryan. Each represents a ‘first’ or advancement in their field, and are further united by their riffs upon the musical language of heritage, of folk and sacred music, to forge new and boundary-reshaping narratives in their art. 

The setting for this recital will equal the impressive pedigree of artists: The Perry Belmont House in Washington, D.C. Now the world headquarters of the General Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, the Perry Belmont House was built between 1907 and 1909 to serve as a winter residence and entertaining space for American politician and diplomat, Perry Belmont, and his wife, Jessie Robbins Belmont. Edward, Prince of Wales, was a notable guest of the house in 1919. Built in the Beaux-Arts style, the house continues to feature an incredible collection of treasures from Europe, the Americas, and Asia. 

One such item in the collection: a gilt Steinway & Sons Model B grand piano. Classic motifs and leaf-sprays in gold adorn the instrument, one of only three in this style known to exist. Ms. Hill will command the instrument during her roughly half-hour recital, bringing to life a piece of American history in both the architecture that surrounds and the music that is conveyed. Past meets present. Present challenges expectations and propels the future. This is a concert for the New Year.

This recital is free, open to the public, and will be available to stream online at 4:30pm Eastern on New Year’s Day: Jan. 1, 2021. For additional information and to register for connection details, visit our event page.