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Feb 18, 2019
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Photo courtesy of Beatrice Rana

Italian pianist hits the right notes

On Wednesday night, the Concert Hall on campus was filled with music lovers of all ages set to hear the fifth performer for the Phillip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concert series, Italian pianist Beatrice Rana.

Photo courtesy of Beatrice Rana

Photo courtesy of Beatrice Rana

For 43 years, this series has brought international artists and upcoming young talent, such as Rana, to Fresno. Italian-born Beatrice Rana began to play the piano at the age of 4. In 2013, she was awarded second place in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, a renowned music competition that is held every four years.

Piano professor Andreas Werz is the president and artistic director for the series. As artistic director, his job includes finding the eight upcoming young artists to perform at the Concert Hall each year.

Werz said that it is exciting to see the audience’s reaction to every performance, but was especially excited for Wednesday’s feedback.

“There was a standing ovation, like a rock concert,” Werz said. “She’s a spectacular pianist. Her technique is superhuman.”

Werz said concerts like the keyboard series are needed to bring students’ attention to classical music.

“I would love to see younger people at the performances. Classical music is a wonderful heritage to sustain and cultivate,” Werz said.

During the performance the audience listened as Rana played music ranging from Johann Sebastian Bach to Maurice Ravel. The show ended with a standing ovation and a cry for an encore.

Music enthusiast couple Ed and Vee Race has been attending the Keyboard Concert series for 19 years. They said they plan to follow the series until the end of the season.

Vee Race, 75, is a fan of the 19th century piano composer Frederic Chopin and said that Rana did a wonderful job of performing his work.

“It was marvelous. It is always fun to watch her perform,” Race said.

Ed Race, 75, agreed to the excellence of Rana’s performance.

“It was one of the best we’ve seen, especially for someone so young,” Race said.

A couple of Fresno State students attended the show as well.

Annie Vue said that her friend convinced her to attend the show. At first, she was doubtful about enjoying the performance, but in the end she enjoyed it, she said.

“The second to last piece was strong and powerful. It was amazing,” Vue said.

Mina Xiong is currently taking a beginners piano course at Fresno City College and said Rana’s playing inspired her to continue working on her own skills.

“Just watching her play motivates me,” Xiong said.

Fresno State piano major Emily Wallace said that this is a great opportunity for students who appreciate classical music without having to travel far.

“It’s an unbelievable experience for students who love music,” Wallace said.

The Phillip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concert series will continue until May 3. The next performer will be Chinese pianist Kuok-Wai Lo. Lo will perform Friday, March 6 at 8 p.m.

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