Two pianos, eight hands for Extravaganza

The soloist in a Piano Extravaganza is an accomplished pianist who has performed all over the world. Now, he's coming to Chilliwack.

Patrick Kreeger will be performing with the CSO during its Piano Extravaganza on Nov. 10.

The soloist in a Piano Extravaganza is an accomplished pianist who has performed all over the world.

The spotlight will be on Patrick Kreeger, and the Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Nov. 10 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

This will be the third piano-focused “extravaganza” they’ve offered Chilliwack audiences since 2004, says CSO conductor and music director, Paula De Wit.

Last year crowds were treated to pianist Ian Parker and several students studying with members of local B.C. Registered Music Teachers Association.

This year one of the outstanding highlights of the night promises to be Danse macabre, Op. 40 from Camille St-Saens, showcasing two pianos, four players, and eight hands.

“It’s going to be a show-stopper,” De Wit says.

Eight nimble hands will come from four players, including Kreeger,  as well as local pianists, Graham Yates, Glen Cuthburtson and Maria Whelton.

Kreeger has earned high praise for his musical prowess and came highly recommended to the CSO.

“I am thrilled and I am looking forward to working with him as well as the other three amazing pianists,” said De Wit.

“Not only will he play Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 but he will also be performing Mozart Concerto 20 in D, K466 – 3rd Movement – Rondo, a piano duet with our own resident accompanist, Graham Yates.”

Kreeger first stepped onto the Carnegie Hall stage for his debut at just 17, and these days enjoys a busy career as both a pianist and organist, as soloist and chamber musician.

Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Kreeger began his music studies at age three with Barbara Broach and later with Dr. Gerson Yessin, chair of the University of North Florida Music Department. Patrick began took up the organ at the age of 12 with Jim Wood (a protégé of E. Power Biggs.) Upon moving to Greenville, North Carolina in 2004, Patrick continued his piano and organ studies with Dr. Henry Doskey and Colin Andrews. At 18, he earned a full scholarship to attend the renowned Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Kreeger gave his symphonic debut in April 2008, performing Rachmaninoff’s first piano concerto under the baton of Maestro William Henry Curry and the N.C. Symphony. He has been guest soloist with the Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra (CO), the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra, as well as with members The National Symphony Orchestra, based in Washington D.C.

It was actually a CSO supporter and one of their biggest fans, Tamara Jansen, who recommended Kreeger for the extravaganza, after he made a big impression on her son, a cello player with the CSO.

“She beamed with joy and spoke so eloquently about his musicianship,” said De Wit.

In addition, the stately piano that will be on stage is quite a special one.

“This Steinway is Chilliwack’s gem. It’s a ten-footer,” De Wit said. “It’s huge!”

It was bought and lovingly restored by Chilliwack’s Glen Cuthburtson, who will also be playing that night as well.

The chorus will be singing Faure’s moving Cantique de Jean Racine as well Faure’s Pavane Op. 50 (Choral version). Also on the program: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #5,  Mozart Concerto 20 in D, K466 – 3rd Movement.

A Piano Extravaganza with Patrick Kreeger, Nov. 10, at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre, tickets $25/$15 students, 604-391-SHOW (7469).

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