Saturday, September 28, 2013

From Mozart to Nirvana: Christopher O’Riley’s performance

By Ena Moats
Cardinal Staff

Critically acclaimed classical pianist and host of National Public Radio’s “From the Top” Christopher O’Riley performed a unique piano recital called Out of My Hands in the Saint Mary’s University Page Theatre on Sept. 17, 2013.

O’Riley surprised and awed the audience with his repertoire of not only classical music, but also popular rock, including transcriptions from artists such as Radiohead, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, and Elliot Smith.  

O’Riley was able to stun the older Tuesday night audience into admiration of the contemporary masterpieces as well as the classics, which included works by Mozart/Liszt, Chopin/Liszt, Wagner/Liszt, and Schubert.

Multiple elements of songs, meant for multiple instruments, were transposed into one complex piano composition, and stored into an electronic tablet. O’Riley read directly from the tablet when playing at the piano, using an electronic foot pedal to turn the pages when needed.

This forward-thinking and charming pianist impressed the audience not only with his skills on the 2013 Steinway, but with his intelligence and passion for his work.  This was evident as he explained and commented wittingly on the background of each piece prior to executing it on the piano.

Based on the lengthy applause after each piece, and the final standing ovation, the audience in attendance at Tuesday night’s show enjoyed the unique styles of piano brought to them by the internationally renowned pianist.

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