LEWISTON — Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” will be a featured work when pianist George Sebastian Lopez presents the fourth program in this season’s Piano Series at the Franco-American Heritage Center on Saturday, Feb. 19.

The recital, which begins at 7:30 p.m., will also include compositions by Rachmaninov, including his Second Sonata, and Alberto Ginastera.

Lopez, artist-in-residence at Bowdoin College, first appeared at the Franco center as soloist with the Midcoast Symphony in 2005. In early 2006, he was asked to select the center’s new Steinway concert grand piano.

Lopez returned to the Franco center on several occasions as piano soloist with the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra, and has given master classes and solo recitals. In 2009, 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 performed at the center.

This concert artist and educator took up the piano at age 11. Born in Brooklyn of Mayan parents, he spent much of his early childhood in Belize before his family moved to Texas, where he rather reluctantly began piano lessons.

“I was one of five minority kids in a predominantly white school in Texas, and music helped open doors for me,” Lopez said. “It turned out I had a special knack for reading music. It came very easily to me.”

Within three years, he had won a piano competition in Texas, playing a concerto with orchestra. At age 16, his artistry garnered him a full scholarship to the Hartt School of Music. Later, a Franco-American study grant led to graduate work in Paris, and he received his master’s degree cum laude from the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam.

Lopez’s repertoire includes compositions by Bach, Beethoven, Ives, Gershwin and contemporary composers such as Italian composer Romeo Melloni, whose piano concerto Lopez recorded with the Prague Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.

Lopez, who has performed with ensembles in the United States, Europe and Australia, received critical acclaim for his interpretation of the “Goldberg Variations” at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He will perform this Bach masterpiece during the second half of his Feb. 19 program.

Go and do

WHAT: Concert by pianist George Sebastian Lopez

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 19

WHERE: Franco-American Heritage Center, 46 Cedar St., Lewiston

TICKETS: $16, $14 for seniors; students 21 and under, free. Call 689-2000 or buy at www.francocenter.org.


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