Popular pianist will perform at Franco center

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LEWISTON — Popular soloist George Sebastian Lopez will present a Piano Series program of works by Beethoven, Schumann and Chopin Saturday, April 17, at the Franco-American Heritage Center. He will also play George Gershwin’s solo piano version of “Rhapsody in Blue.”

Lopez’s repertoire spans a broad range, from Bach, Beethoven and Chopin to Ives, Gershwin and contemporary composers, including Italian composer Romeo Melloni, whose piano concerto was written for Lopez, who recorded the work with the Prague Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.

Lopez has performed as soloist and in chamber groups across the United States and in Europe and Australia. He received critical acclaim for his interpretation of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

His first appearance at the Franco center was as a soloist with the Midcoast Symphony in 2005, before the former St. Mary’s Church was renovated as a performance hall. In early 2006, he was asked to select the new Steinway concert grand piano for the center.

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Since then, he has performed at the center as piano soloist with the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra, as well as given master classes and solo recitals. Last year, he recorded “Sacred Piano,” an album of sacred music arranged for piano – including several of his own arrangements – and the first commercial recording of piano music made at the center.

Lopez took up the piano at age 11. “I was one of five minority kids in a predominantly white school in Texas and music helped open doors for me,” he recalled. “It turned out I had a special knack for reading music. It came very easily to me.”

At age 14, he won a piano competition in Texas, playing a concerto with orchestra. Two years later, his playing won him a full scholarship to the Hartt School of Music. He did graduate work in Paris and earned a master’s degree cum laude from the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam.

Lopez, a popular lecturer on the arts in New England, joined the piano faculty at Bowdoin College last September. A guest faculty member at the Portland Conservatory of Music, he has collaborated with composer David Amran in teaching and performing at Brown University and has played in a piano-violin recital at Harvard University.

Go and do

WHAT: Concert by pianist George Sebastian Lopez

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 17

WHERE: Franco-American Heritage Center, Cedar Street, Lewiston

TICKETS: $16 for adults, $14 for seniors; students 21 and younger admitted free. Call 689-2000 or purchase online at www.francoamericanheritage.org

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