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Valentina Lisitsa visits PianoWorks: photo recap
By Sam Bennett
5/3/2013 10:01:00 AM  
Pianist & Bösendorfer Artist Valentina Lisitsa visited PianoWorks to promote the release of her Rachmaninov Project.  The 2-CD set includes all 4 Rachmaninov Piano Concertos & Paganini Rhapsohy from Decca Classics.  Her visit included quite a variety of performace from Rachmaninov Preludes, Hungarian Rhapsody, Schubert-Liszt transcriptions and a personal favorite, La Campanella.

We are so fortunate to be able to bring this elite artist to our community.  See more photos in our Facebook Album.Sam Bennett and Valentina Lisitsa
Photo: BJTphotography.net
Valentina Lisitsa Rachmaninov Project

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End of Summer, Back to Piano Concert (8-20-11 wrap up)
By Sam Bennett
8/25/2011 10:00:00 AM  
We had fun last Saturday night.  We had a full house and even some dancing in the aisles.  With any luck, last Saturday's concert will inspire some in our community to pursue music with more energy and enthusiasm.  Looking out among the crowd, I saw our hall filled with musicians, teachers, parents and many children and every seat was full.
The show is about to begin
[About to start the show!]

Our first performer of the night was Larry Barker.  Larry is a elementary school music teacher here in Gwinnett County.  His performances were all about energy and emotion, speaking his own words through jazz.  His inspiration was from greats like Oscar Peterson, Count Basie, Vince Guaraldi and Michel Petrucciani.
Larry Barker performs on a Hailun piano
[Larry Barker performs on Hailun piano]

Our second performer of the night was Julie Ye.  Julie has her own piano studio and teaches locally.  Her performances we about expression and ideas from great classical composers.  Her inspiration was from Bach, Beethoven, Greig and Mendelssohn.
Julie Ye performs on a Hailun piano
[Julie Ye]

After the concert, we completed our PianoWorks & Hailun USA Free Piano Giveaway by drawing for our grand prize winner.  In attendance was Lauren Wallace, VP of Hailun USA who drew the name of the lucky winner.  Local piano teacher Stephanie Freemen was chosen to win a brand new Hailun professional upright piano.  That's quite a prize.
Sam Bennett, Lauren Wallace (VP of Hailun USA), Julie Ye, Larry Barker
[Sam Bennett of PianoWorks, Lauren Wallace (VP of Hailun USA), Julie Ye, Larry Barker]
Larry Barker, Julie Ye, Hailun Piano

By all measures, our concert was a great success.  We look forward to more fun events in the coming months that you wil not want to miss.

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PianoWorks Presents: Christopher Sarzynski in Concert Video
By Jennifer Gibson
4/19/2011 2:19:00 PM  
Everyone needs a little Chopin in their day. Check out the video from Sarzynski’s concert.








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PianoWorks Presents: Whisperings in Concert - Joe Bongiorno
By Jennifer Gibson
4/11/2011 10:07:00 AM  

Saturday, April 16, at 7:00 pm, PianoWorks will be hosting Whisperings Radio Artists David Nevue, Jeff Smith and Joe Bongiorno in concert.

Tickets will be $20 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets are available at PianoWorks, online or by calling the 24/7 Brown Paper Tickets Hotline at 800.838.3006.

Joe Bongiorno

I quit my classical piano training at age eleven, seeking a more glamorous life as a professional athlete. I still hear my father’s words ringing clearly in my head “someday you’ll thank me” referring to the childhood piano training I so gladly abandoned. An eighth grade football knee injury eventually proved detrimental to my childhood dream. Oh well!

High school brought new experiences, forming the band LIXX with a couple buddies with rock star ambitions. I grew my hair, sported parachute pants, bought a synthesizer with my neighborhood lawn mowing cash, & jammed to 80′s tunes on LPs. Spending Friday nights at band practice and Saturdays gigging parties & dances, memories were definitely made!

Graduating high school in ’87 brought an element of retreat from the Chicago “big city” life… venturing out west with my mother & siblings to San Juan Island, Washington. Culture shock took hold, while nature and quiet times prevailed. My composing was born, as was my beautiful daughter Taylor. I endeavored to start my own recording studio & bought all the toys. Mellow Sounds Studio opened on San Juan Island in ’93, a popular haven for the island’s many singer-songwriters and folk music artists. My buddy & talented guitarist/songwriter Tom Henry taught me how to listen and mix and the islanders now had a place to record.

My first release was “Ancient Sky” in ’94, an eclectic electronic blend of New Age piano, Native American influences (always a fav!) and even cutting edge rock instrumentals (starring Tom)… I was still wandering a bit musically, obviously! Engineering & producing other artists was relatively short lived, but a priceless experience. Realizing that a musical career would be forever limited on the island, I moved to Seattle in ’97.

At age 28, a trip back to Chicago to visit Dad lead me to meet my second cousin Joann Bongiorno, a classical piano virtuoso whom I had only heard stories about. I sat down at her Baldwin baby grand & something special happened. No, I didn’t perform magically for her (acoustic piano was a bit foreign to me at that time), but I was enamored by the power, simplicity, and enchanting sound of the instrument as a solo. From that day forward, my synthesizers began to acquire dust as I played my new Yamaha U1 upright acoustic piano. A few months later I focused in on an album project, rented a grand, crammed it into my basement and spent three weeks diligently practicing & recording. “At Peace” ~ solo piano was released in February 2001. The support for this CD was and still is surprising, if not stunning. I give great thanks to all who gave to it!

Life got busier, busier and busier. Taylor blossoming into a young lady, my career developing rapidly… life just seemed to get a bit more complicated each day. Retreats to the piano were much harder to come by. Compositions came together, but sometimes over periods of months. My ability to visualize and memorize carried me through these times, musically. I managed to abstain from reading or writing music with my sole intent being to improvise and create.

In 2002 I bought a baby grand, a Mahogany Kawai KG-2D. My 17 years in the restaurant business had brought me a handsome salary with a great company. The more I played & composed, I longed more & more for a new CD to hand to my family, friends, & handful of fans. My good friend and fellow pianist Joe Yamada put his home and glorious Kawai RX-7 concert grand at my disposal and I dove in head first. My second release “Destined“~ solo piano was released in April ‘04. It continues to receive heavy airplay at www.solopianoradio.com with “Just for You”, “Chasing the Wind” & “To Be Held” all hitting #1 on the listener charts! The success of this CD brought new & wonderful opportunities, including numerous concert performances for Solo Piano Radio as well as putting me in “high demand” status as a Seattle wedding pianist.

In May, 2006 I bought my dream piano, my very own Kawai RX-7 concert grand, fulfilling my dream of recording and producing my music from home. A whole new set of music channeled through my fingertips and evolved into my third CD release, “Somewhere Within” – solo piano in August ’07. It quickly became an iTunes Top 100 New Age album & was nominated for Best Solo Piano CD of 2007 by Whisperings Solo Piano Radio & received a “Reviewer’s Pick” from Kathy Parsons of Mainly Piano. It too continues to receive radio airplay world-wide.

Later that year I made my “personal” studio available to all, opening Piano Haven Recording Studio in suburban Seattle. An opportunity to share my good fortune with other composers… and record they have! David Nevue, Louis Landon, Christine Brown, Greg Maroney & Steven Cravis, just to name a few…

On June 25th 2010, I “retired” from my 25 years in the restaurant biz to focus completely on my music. Some say I’m crazy, some say I’m their hero. All I can tell you is that I feel great & the music is flowing like never before.

A Candlelight Christmas” is my most recent endeavor & was awarded Christmas & Holiday album of the Year (2010) at SoloPiano.com… what an honor! This was a much more difficult project than I expected. Taking tunes that “aren’t mine” & “making them mine” is something I’m not used to doing. It took alot more time and effort than I had planned, but I am extremely proud of it : )

Currently, I’m working on another original CD release for Spring of 2011. I am currently hosting regular Whisperings concerts at my Piano Haven Studio & broadcasting them on the internet right here at my site. I am  also performing in-home concerts around the country. Is your home available? details on that right HERE.


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PianoWorks Presents: Whisperings in Concert - Jeff Smith
By Jennifer Gibson
4/11/2011 10:04:00 AM  

Saturday, April 16, at 7:00 pm, PianoWorks will be hosting Whisperings Radio Artists David Nevue, Jeff Smith and Joe Bongiorno in concert.

Tickets will be $20 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets are available at PianoWorks, online or by calling the 24/7 Brown Paper Tickets Hotline at 800.838.3006.

Jeff Smith

The album “A Place Called Home” marks the musical return of one of today’s most gifted pianists and composers.

Heralded as a prodigy, Jeff Smith began composing and playing the piano at age two and performing publically at age eight. Jeff has performed on radio and television and throughout the U.S. and Europe. Highlights of his performing career include an orchestral debut in Philadelphia at age 12, performing the Grieg Piano Concerto, and a European tour at age 16 as featured soloist in the Beethoven Chorale Fantasia. His many performances include those at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in New York City, and the Beethovenhaus in Bonn, Germany. Jeff holds a Masters degree and Doctoral studies from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Maryland where he studied with pianists Walter Hautzig and Ann Schein. Jeff also studied with Leon Fleisher as a student in Fleisher’s weekly masterclass. His early teachers included Paul Hofreiter (a student of Vincent Persichetti and Roger Sessions at the Julliard School) and David Sokoloff (a student of Leo Ornstein and Joseph Hoffman at the Curtis Institute of Music).

In recent years Jeff’s performance style has focused primarily on original Classical/New Age and Contemporary piano music. Active as a composer as well as recitalist, Jeff has composed works for television, radio, and film. Works include instrumental music written and recorded for the Madacy Music Group which has been included on over 25 CDs, including compact discs for Thomas Kinkade and others. Eleven of Jeff’s songs were awarded the honor of being included in Madacy’s “Top 20 – Best of Relaxation” album and numerous pieces have been in the EZ- Tracks.com top 10 Nature Songs for well over 5 years. Jeff has also composed music for the television shows “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light” as part of the Grammy Award winning “Radio Theater Group”.

Jeff’s most recent album, “A Place Called Home” represents a return to his greatest musical love: composing at the piano. Inspired by David Nevue and the “Whisperings” collective of pianists, Jeff set out to compose his first ever solo piano album. Jeff writes: “My desire was to allow God to create through me a collection of pieces that would capture the longing of every heart for a place of peace and rest”. ”A Place Called Home” has been nominated for the 2010 Whisperings “Album of the Year”.

Selections from the album can be heard on the Whisperings broadcast at www.solopianoradio.com . The Whisperings collective includes today’s best pianist/composers and has attracted well over one million monthly listeners worldwide.


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PianoWorks Presents: Whisperings in Concert - David Nevue
By Jennifer Gibson
4/11/2011 10:02:00 AM  

Saturday, April 16, at 7:00 pm, PianoWorks will be hosting Whisperings Radio Artists David Nevue, Jeff Smith and Joe Bongiorno in concert.

Tickets will be $20 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets are available at PianoWorks, online or by calling the 24/7 Brown Paper Tickets Hotline at 800.838.3006.

David Nevue

David Nevue (pronounced NEV-Yoo) is a self-taught pianist who resides in Eugene, Oregon. He has been involved in the arts as a writer, actor, musician and performer since his youth. In 1992, David released his first album of piano works called “The Tower,” written as a soundtrack for one of his short stories. In the years since, he has released nine other albums including his most recent, “Adoration,” released in 2007, which rose to #1 on the New Age Reporter radio charts. David’s 2005 CD release, “Overcome”, won the title “Best Instrumental Piano Album of 2005″ at the Lifestyle Music Awards. 

David’s neoclassical piano stylings reflect his wide musical influences, which include Clannad, Chopin, Pink Floyd, Rachmaninoff, Renaissance, George Winston and Rush. David’s music also reflects his love of literature, quoting numerous influences from C.S. Lewis to The Bible. David’s artistry is demonstrated not only in his music, but in his thematic approach to each album. Rather than creating collections of unrelated compositions, David treats each individual work as but one chapter in a much bigger story that stirs the imagination and carries the listener to a gratifying conclusion.

Today, David promotes his music almost exclusively via the Internet. He is the author of “How to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet,” the founder of The Music Biz Academy, an online resource for musicians, and the program director for the immensely popular Whisperings: Solo Piano Radio. David also tours three or four times a year, and has performed concerts with David Lanz, Wayne Gratz, Peter Kater, Suzanne Ciani and dozens of other pianists.

David’s music can be heard on over 220 radio programs world-wide. To learn more about David, visit his website, Twitter or Facebook.


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PianoWorks Presents Christopher Sarzynski in Concert
By Jennifer Gibson
3/21/2011 3:53:00 PM  
PianoWorks presents Christopher Sarzynski in concert on Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. Sarzynski will be preforming a concert in honor of the recent 200th birthday of Fryderyk Chopin. Sarzynski will also perform works by Claude Debussy and Sergei Rachmaninov.

Sarzynski began his music studies at the age of eight and made his concert debut at 13. At 15 he made his orchestral debut playing Grieg's Piano Concerto. In the United States, Sarzynski has studied under John Adams, Marti Turner, Jose Ramos Santana, Imogene Cooper and Betty Nolting. In 2008, he was the winner of the Pro-Mozart Society of Atlanta Scholarship. The winnings included three weeks at the Sommeracademie Mozarteum, Salzburg studying with Andrzej Jasinski, Robert Levin, Rolf Plagge and Sergej Dorensky. In addition, Sarzynski has performed in collaboration with other musicians, including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

The April program will include music by Fryderyk Chopin as well as Clude Debussy and Sergei Rachmaninov. The Sonata by Rachmaninov, orginally written in 1913, caused much angst for the composer, and in 1931, he recompsed the work.  Sarzynski will be performing a version that combines both the orgional and the revisded works.


PianoWorks presents Christopher Sarzynski

Christopher SarzynskiSunday, April 10, 2011
3:00 p.m.

This is a FREE concert


Program

Ondine.....Claude Debussy
Etudes.....Fryderyk Chopin
Op. 10, #12
Op. 25, #6
Op. 10, #1
Ballade, Op. 52.....Fryderyk Chopin
Scherzo, Op. 20.....Fryderyk Chopin
Mazurkas.....Fryderyk Chopin
Op. 24, #1, 2, 4
Sonata, Op. 36.....Sergei Rachmaninov
1913/1931


For a map, directions of other information go to www.pianoworks.com or call (770) 623-0683. 

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