Sparwood-born ‘piano master’ to play in Kimberley, Cranbrook

For The Bulletin

Jesse Plessis, a Kootenay whiz kid turned piano master, will perform at Cranbrook United Church (near Safeway gas bar) Sunday, September 30 at 7 p.m., then at Kimberley’s Centre 64 on Thursday, October 4 at 7 p.m.. Admission is by donation toward care of the Cranbrook Historical society Broadwood grand piano.

Sparwood-born Plessis was “a real wonder-boy at the piano,” said his former teacher Arne Sahlen. “He plays with the joy and panache of an Olympic-class slalom skier.” Now 30, Plessis is in Doctorate of Music studies in Montreal.

Plessis has chosen a program representing a vital time in piano history, around first steps in creating the iron frame that gives modern pianos their power and sturdiness. It also represents a ‘yin and yang’ between power and poetry in piano playing.

Beethoven’s powerful Hammerklavier Sonata was composed for the wood-framed piano of 1818. Pianists like Plessis present an evolved originality in technique and tone to suit the capabilities of that period’s instruments. Schubert’s four exquisite Impromptus Op. 90 appeared in 1827, just two years after the first use of metal bars as an early attempt at piano reinforcement. They express intimacy from a shy, introverted composer quite the opposite of the mercurial Beethoven.

Plessis’ tour to Creston, Cranbrook, Invermere and Kimberley will benefit piano care in each centre. For more details contact arnesahlen@hotmail.com or cell/text 250-540-4242.

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