A piano prodigy — InConcert Sierra to have Drew Petersen perform | TheUnion.com

A piano prodigy — InConcert Sierra to have Drew Petersen perform

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At the age of 6, when most piano students are just starting lessons, Drew Petersen was performing solo at Cargnie's Weill Recital Hall. Later that same year, 2001, with little to no formal training, he impressed staff at the Manhattan School of Music with his charm, intelligence and ability to play Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata, earning him a spot in their program and the rarely used denotation of "prodigy."

His rapid rise and decorated young career in the classical music world reached a milestone in 2017 when he won the prestigious American Pianists Awards and the Christel DeHaan Fellowship of the American Pianists Association at the age of 23. Thanks to a long-standing relationship with the association, InConcert Sierra will present a solo recital with Petersen Sunday in Grass Valley.

The program will feature Beethoven's "Piano Sonata No. 22 in F Major," Chopin's "Three Waltzes, Op. 34" and "Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, op. 52," Griffes' "Fantasy Pieces, Op. 6," and a favorite of many, Barber's "Piano Sonata in E-flat Minor, op. 26."

In 2004, The New York Times wrote about the early performances of Petersen, including an apt description from Miyoko Lotto of the Manhattan School of Music.

"He is extraordinary, as opposed to being merely advanced," she said, because "he's not mimicking and not being spoon-fed." His musicality, she said, ''comes from within,'' according to The New York Times.

Petersen's "extraordinary gifts" were also chronicled in the documentary "Just Normal" and in Andrew Solomon's book, "Far From the Tree," which featured case studies of exceptional children. He graduated cum laude from Harvard at age 19 with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Social Science and did his undergraduate and graduate music studies at the Juilliard School, the former as a recipient of the prestigious Kovner Fellowship.

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He was recently accepted into the prestigious Artist Diploma program at the Juilliard School. As part of his award from the American Pianists Association, Petersen is also Artist-in-Residence at the University of Indianapolis for the next two years.

The American Pianists Association Classical Music Competition is hosted every four years. For the past 10 years, InConcert Sierra has partnered with the American Pianist Association to present the latest winner in its Third Sunday Series season. The relationship began thanks to Aileen James, a current InConcert board member and pre-concert forum hostess, and was also a former artistic director for the American Pianists Association.

She connected the two arts nonprofits to give Nevada County audiences the chance to experience the brightest stars from the esteemed competition. Past winners who have performed for InConcert include Spencer Myer and Sean Chen.

General admission to the 2 p.m. performance is $35. There are a limited number of free youth tickets available as well for those ages 5-17, please call InConcert Sierra in advance to reserve. Tickets are available by phone at 530-273-3990, online at http://www.inconcertsierra.org (online fees apply), or in person at BriarPatch Co-op in Grass Valley and also at the door the day of the event.

There will be a 1:15 p.m. pre-concert forum. The performance will be at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Grass Valley, 12889 Osborne Hill Road. For more information, please call 530-273-3990 or visit http://www.inconcertsierra.org.

KNOW & GO

WHO: InConcert Sierra presents pianist Drew Petersen

WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: 12889 Osborne Hill Rd., Grass Valley (Seventh-day Adventist Church)

TICKETS: $35 general admission, limited number of youth tickets available for free, call 530-273-3990, visit http://www.inconcertsierra.org or pick them up in person at BriarPatch Co-op or at the door

INFO: Call 530-273-3990 or visit http://www.inconcertsierra.org for more information.