Emanuel Ax gives time, talent to Erie

staff writer

One of the most notable pianists performed on the Erie stage accompanied by the Erie Philharmonic Saturday evening.
Emanuel Ax is considered one of the most important interpreters of Beethoven of this generation and one of the most revered pianists.
His one-night-only performance left many viewers in awe, and the Erie Philharmonic in deep gratitude.
Ax spent four days in Erie providing master classes, lectures and a sold-out concert to over 2,200 people.
The 67-year-old musician offered his time free of charge by waiving his artist fee, which allowed the Erie community to embrace the arts while Ax continued his commitment to reaching each community member — as well as inspiring the next generation of music lovers.
Last week’s visit included a lecture and recital at the Jefferson Educational Society as well as visits to other area schools on Wednesday, a master class at Mercyhurst University taught on Thursday, a live WQLN-FM radio broadcast and a free open rehearsal on Friday.
Ax captured public attention in 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv.
In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists followed by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize four years later.
He has also received Grammy awards for his second and third volumes of Haydn’s piano sonatas.
A few Gannon students had the opportunity to view the concert and noted the amazing experience they had.
Jillian Gray, a sophomore accounting major, shared her excitement about seeing the concert.
“I’ve never seen a piano concert before so it was nice to have an up-close look of Emanuel’s talent,” Gray said.
Gray also said that the concert had a video camera on the piano so viewers could see his intricate finger work while playing.
The Erie Philharmonic raised nearly $300,000 with his time in Erie, but that doesn’t compete with the donation of his time, talent and support for the arts and culture that he gave to the Erie community, according to the Philharmonic’s Music Director Daniel Meyer.
“He is without question one of the most supremely gifted artists of our generation,” Meyer said.
“His warmth, humor and generosity of spirit imbues his music making with a special quality that you simply must hear live to fully appreciate.”

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