Meet our soloist, pianist Robert Finley! Check out the video above for a snippet of him rehearsing “Rhapsody in Blue"; on Sunday, you’ll hear him take on the whole piece. In the meantime, we caught up with the English musician to learn a little more about the man behind the piano. Here’s what he had to say:
1. Favorite thing about playing“Rhapsody in Blue”?
The “‘Rhapsody in Blue’ is tremendous fun to play. It contains some exciting rhythms and beautiful melodies, especially in the slow middle section. This gives me an opportunity to play very expressively.”
2. Piece you're most looking forward to hearing on Sunday?”
I'm looking forward to hearing the Bernstein ‘Overture from Candide.’ That is a very upbeat and happy piece, just like the ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ and something we really need to feel better during these difficult times.”
3. When did you start playing piano?
I started playing the piano when I was seven years old. My mother taught me at first, then I had a private teacher near my home in London. I then won a scholarship to study at Trinity College of Music, one of the four conservatories in London.
4. Chopin, Liszt, or Rachmaninoff?
I love all types of music, but especially romantic music. Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninoff are some of my favorite composers . . . I like them for different reasons and don't have just one favorite but several. I visited the birthplace of Chopin in Zela Zowa, Poland, Liszt's apartment in Budapest, Hungary and his tomb in Bayreuth, Germany. I hope someday to visit Rachmaninoff's home in Ivanovka.
5. Desert island piece of music:
It's difficult to decide . . . because there is so much that I love. Maybe the Four Symphonies of Johannes Brahms would be very nice.
6. Something people might not know about you:
One of my teachers in London, the Swiss pianist Albert Ferber, often played for Sergey Rachmaninoff and took his advice. I think of Rachmaninoff as my ‘musical grandfather.’