Creativity in Hard Times

Acclaimed concert pianist Leslie Amper brings to life stories of the Depression Era


Visiting artist and New Hampshire Music Festival musician Leslie Amper will present Creativity in Hard Times, a piano performance and lecture telling the story of the Federal Music Project, the musical division of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) initiative. The recital will take place at Plymouth State University’s Silver Center for the Arts on Sunday, February 4, at 2 p.m.


A classical concert pianist, Amper began her career with a critically-acclaimed debut at New York’s famed Carnegie Recital Hall. She went on to delight audiences in Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco as well as at Monadnock Musicʼs Virtuoso Piano Series. A member of the New Hampshire Music Festival, she is a frequent participant in Boston’s Emmanuel Music solo and chamber music celebrations.


A few years ago she had the idea to create multimedia piano recitals related to the visual arts. “I began to think of programs that could include discussion and multimedia and images and also traditional performance,” said Amper. “What I have found is that doing this kind of research and putting together programs–serious programs that are fun and include classical music, multimedia presentations, and film–help me to get closer to the music and help the audience to appreciate the music and the art more fully.”


The live performance of Creativity in Hard Times will feature music by William Grant Still, Amy Beach, Henry Cowell, Roger Sessions, Ernest Bloch, and Aaron Copland, and a compilation of period photos and historic recordings will tell the story of the United States during the Great Depression.

Amper’s performance will be on Sunday, February 4 beginning at 2 p.m. with a small reception afterwards for people to share their own Depression Era stories. The event is scheduled to end by 3:30 p.m.


The Silver Center for the Arts is located on the Plymouth State University campus at 114 Main Street in Plymouth, NH. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for youth and students with a valid college ID, and free for Plymouth State students. Call 603-535-2787 or go online to to buy tickets in advance.


The New Hampshire Music Festival is a summer music festival presenting world-class performances in the greater New Hampshire Lakes Region of symphonic, choral, and chamber music that honor the traditions of classical music while also exploring new artistic paths.  Strong collaborations with community partners are a hallmark of this important cultural institution, including educational programs for students of all ages.

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