Pianist nimbly aces Chopin; orchestra plays with passion

Andrew von Oeyen
Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Three highly dramatic 19th century masterworks got three highly dramatic, enthusiastic and excellent performances from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and conductor Philip Mann on Saturday night at Little Rock's Robinson Center Performance Hall.

Mann exacted the maximum oomph out of all three pieces, all of which he took at tempos designed to maintain the maximum amount of audience head-nodding and involvement.

Pianist Andrew von Oeyen, in a tux coat but tie-less, nimbly manipulated the keyboard of the orchestra's new 9-foot Steinway for a thrilling and fulfilling performance of Frederic Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2, one of the repertoire's great finger-busters. The performance wasn't note perfect but von Oeyen's minor misses took place mostly in the filigree moments and not anyplace that counted.
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