Internationally renowned pianist Andreas Klein joined the CSU Symphony Orchestra last night amid a crowd packed at nearly full capacity in Edna Rizley Griffin Concert Hall.
Close to 500 people came to see the performance, which will be repeated tonight at 7:30 p.m.
The CSU student orchestra, which consists of almost 20 freshman musicians, opened the performance with a fanfare, and then what was the ground rose to become the front quarter of the stage, lifting the piano, which was taken by Klein shortly thereafter.
Molly Salika, third chair French Horn, is one of the freshman music students who played with Klein last night.
“It’s a really good experience,” she said. “Mr. Klein is well learned, well informed and very enthusiastic.”
The German-born pianist has traveled the world with his music and has received praise from some of the world’s most reputable critics, including The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Houston Chronicle. Klein led the orchestra, directed by Wes Kenney, in two of the four pieces it played: Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat Major and Robert Schumann’s “Konzertstuck: Introduction und Allegro appassionato,” Op. 92.
He said that though Liszt and Schumann were contemporaries, their styles are very different.
“Liszt was the first real piano virtuoso,” Klein said. “Schumann wanted to be a virtuoso, but he became more of a composer.”
Klein said that Liszt’s concerto is certainly the more difficult of the two pieces and described it as a circus act for the pianist.
“It’s very delicate and very dangerous,” he said. “It’s got a lot of fireworks.”
Klein explained that Schumann once tried to improve his dexterity by stretching back his ring finger, but inadvertently damaged it, forever affecting his ability.
“Not everyone who studies music will be a performer,” he said. “Many can become managers of orchestras, teachers or even composers.”
Klein said that he has been playing the piano for as long as he can remember, but when asked his age, the partially balding musician laughed and said, “It’s a secret; what does age have to do with anything anyway?”
The CSU orchestra finished the set after Klein left the stage with Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird.”
Sophomore business major Jenna Bontempo said that this was the first concert she had seen at CSU and that she will definitely be back for more.
“We live in a time when classical music is not terribly popular,” Klein said.
Senior Reporter Trevor Simonton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.