Rising pianist and others earn ovations in Philharmonic concert opener

Drew Petersen
The Republic

Bt Charles Webb

Maestro David Bowden, music director of the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, inaugurated the 2018-19 season by featuring America’s two most well-known and beloved composers, George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein.


Following such a breath-taking tempo and beginning, we were treated to a stellar performance of Gershwin’s “Concerto in F,” which brings together interlacing jazz and classical elements. This piece demands a pianist of the highest technical and interpretive caliber, and we were fortunate to experience such a performance by 24-year-old pianist Drew Petersen.

Petersen has all the qualities necessary to capture the grandeur and brilliance of this masterpiece for piano and orchestra. He drew from the piano its last ounces of beauty, strength and precision to end the first half of the concert, receiving an immediate standing ovation. The enthusiasm of the large crowd inspired Petersen to offer two encores of Gershwin songs, the last one a fantastic arrangement of “The Man I Love” by early 20th Century pianist and composer, Earl Wild. Petersen managed the intricacies of this transcription with superior aplomb, again drawing the audience to its feet. The contributions of several orchestral musicians contributed to the success of the concert. From the first moments that he played stratospheric solo lines to his wide melodic interpretive skills, trumpeter Eddie Ludema brought to life the soaring melodies and rhythmic syncopations of Gershwin’s score. Jia-Rong Gan served as concertmaster for the evening, leading the strings with golden melodic sounds.

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