Family is at the core of "Mostly Maltz: Classicism Revisited," the Feb. 8 concert at the USC Aiken Etherredge Center. 

The show features music by USCA Professor of Music Dr. Richard Maltz and Ludwig van Beethoven. Maltz's son, pianist Daniel Adam Maltz, will play a concerto written by his father during the evening. 

The concert is made up of two pieces by Maltz, hence the personal event title. The subtitle, "Classism Revisited," is a nod to the music professor/composer's classic influences.

"Beethoven is really the most inspiring composer to me, and these two pieces of music have classic influences in them," Maltz said in an interview with the Aiken Standard. "I think people would recognize them being classical in nature."

The first piece, "Symphony No. 2, Fraternal," is a dedicated to Maltz's brother, Gary, who passed away around eight years ago. Maltz says, however, he doesn't want to delve too much into sadness, but it is more nostalgic.

"It’s a four-movement classical symphony," he said. "We have a 37-piece orchestra that’s going to be playing on this concert, and that’ll be on the first half program. There’ll be a short intermission, and then the second half of the program will be a new piece, a concerto for piano and orchestra."

The world premiere of the three-movement concerto that will be performed by his son, Daniel, Maltz has called "thrilling."

"He's a very sensitive musician," Maltz said. "He's got good technique, which, of course, pianists need, but he's very sensitive to subtleties in music. He plays very expressively. He makes music out of notes on a page, and his personality comes through."

Daniel Adam Maltz, 23, has had quite the start to his career, according to his father. Based in Vienna, Austria, the concert pianist made his Carnegie Hall debut in October 2016.

He studied music in high school at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities in Greenville, his father said, and went on to privately study with internationally-renowned teachers, including Robert Lehrbaumer in Vienna; Mozart specialist Gil Sullivan in Australia; and Beethoven authority John O'Conor in the United States.

And the love of music runs deep.

"We've always been close, and we’ve always shared music among other things," the elder Maltz said, "and what better way for father and son to celebrate their relationship? I know I really admire his piano playing; it really moves me. And as I say, what better way to celebrate than to collaborate as musicians?

Daniel shared similar sentiments in a prepared statement.

"Sharing a piano bench with my dad as a 4-year-old is why I'm a pianist today," he said. "To premiere his piano concerto on a new Steinway is a beautiful way to honor our bond."

Music has been a large part of the Maltz family. Mother, Susan Cafferty, is a cellist and an orchestra director, as well.

"This concert is all about family to me," Maltz said. "Again, I wrote the symphony for my brother. I wrote the concerto for my son. His mother will be in the orchestra. Some of the USC Aiken family, some of the music faculty will be playing in the orchestra — so that’s kind of special."

The three "family members" of the music faculty in the orchestra are Matthew Henderson (trombone), Joey Johnson (French horn) and Zachary Bond (clarinet). 

Maltz said he worked on the piece for his son for about a year, using university breaks and summers to dedicate hours to the work. He gave it to Daniel around six months ago, who has been rehearsing ahead of the premiere.

As a composer, sharing music this personal, Maltz explained, means opening up and being vulnerable with the audience.

"People will see the real me and hear the real me, and they will see and hear the real Daniel because it's all about expression," he said. "It's all about communication. It's all about humanity, and it’s about being genuine. And everybody, I think, eventually in their lives realizes that the most important thing really is family and, for me, I’ve always been interested in and been inspired by my family."

"Composing is what I do, so that's always found my way into my music," he continued. "I'm blessed to have the relationship I do with my son, and so it’s just a joy to work together with him. So, I think people if they see that, if they experience it, they reflect on their own situations and their own families, it's just a positive for everybody."

The university is excited to have a Carnegie Hall artist performing on the main stage, ​USC spokesperson Leslie Hull-Ryde said, noting Daniel Adam Maltz will be the second artist to play the new Steinway piano that recently debuted at the Winter Nocturne.

Tickets for the concert are $10. Admission for students is free.

The Etherredge Center is located at 471 University Parkway in Aiken.

Christina Cleveland is the features writer at the Aiken Standard.

Christina Cleveland is a reporter with the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since October 2015. A native of Seneca, South Carolina, she holds a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.