Callanwolde Spring Piano Series, Part 1

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At beautiful, historic Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, the Spring Piano Series has begun. On Friday, March 20th Dr. Evgeny Rivkin travelled from Athens, Georgia to play for a small audience eager to hear his music. Callanwolde itself was a grand and classic-feeling place, with ornate wall designs, unique furnishings, and a beautiful organ that the house “was built around.” It lends itself quite beautifully to be a Fine Arts Center.

The audience in attendance was quite small and intimate, a gathering of older folks with a smattering of young people and a few culture-bound children. As seats were taken (the left side of the room filling in first in order to see the piano keys), the air remained quiet and relaxed, waiting for Dr. Rivkin to take his place at the piano.

He entered silently, took a very professional bow, and then seated himself in front of the piano. We could have been an audience at a grand symphony or a group of five year olds, for all it mattered to him. He was going to play with determinism and practiced professionalism no matter what. It was quite a sight.

Dr. Rivkin has played in numerous famous concert halls across the world, has earned multiple top prizes, and now teaches as the University of Georgia. The reason for his international acclaim was obvious when he began to play. It was striking, beautiful, and classic, probably very much as the original composers had intended. In his first set, he played pieces of Mozart and Beethoven, bowing gallantly to the crowd after each.

After a short intermission in which we were welcomed to explore the Callanwolde house, Dr. Rivkin played Debussy and Chopin, putting the audience in awe with effortless playing and no use of sheet music whatsoever. The evening was an impressive one, and after several rounds of applause and several bows, Dr. Rivkin was finished with his recital.

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