The sensitive side of the piano masters

Poetic piano solos are on the program when Red Deer pianist Ruston Vuori tackles works by several Romantic composers this weekend.

Red Deer’s keyboard virtuoso Ruston Vuori performs at Red Deer College on Saturday and Sunday.

Poetic piano solos are on the program when Red Deer pianist Ruston Vuori tackles works by several Romantic composers this weekend.

Vuori will tap into his sensitive side when he performs the passionate and regretful Two Elegiac Melodies by Edvard Grieg at 2 p.m. recitals on Saturday and Sunday in Studio A of the Red Deer College Arts Centre.

He will also play lyrical selections from Songs Without Words, by Felix Mendelssohn, Four Ballades by Johannes Brahms, as well as four different ballads by Frederic Chopin.

The Brahms pieces have been described as tone poems with dramatic contrasts and intense poetry, while Chopin’s romantically wistful ballads are musically intense and technically demanding.

The pianist said he particularly loves playing works by Brahms and by Chopin, who is known for his harmonic experimentation.

Grieg and Chopin both tried to break with the past by employing traditional chords in different ways, said Vuori, who grew up in the city and teaches piano and music theory at the Red Deer College Conservatory of Music.

All of the emotional and evocative pieces were primarily chosen because they will sound lovely played on the college’s Steinway piano, which produces a sweet and mellow sound, said Vuori.

“It’s beautifully written music. It’s very easy to lose yourself in it.”

The award-winning pianist earned his masters and bachelor of music degrees from the University of Alberta and received a performer’s diploma from Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music.

Vuori has garnered praise for his accomplished performances as a guest artist with the Red Deer Symphony and the University of Alberta symphony orchestra. He has also played at solo and chamber music recitals in Edmonton, Banff, Winnipeg and Ottawa.

Tickets for his Poets of the Piano concerts are $10 from Ticketmaster.

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