American pianist gives riveting performance

American pianist Murray Perahia’s fingers fluttered across the keys of the grand piano for an outstanding arrangement of different pieces by notorious composers of the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Students and residents of Sonoma County gathered in Weill Hall at the Green Music Center on campus Saturday for Perahia’s performance. 

The two-hour program exhibited compositions by Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Franck and Chopin. President Ruben Armiñana was seen among the assembly of people seated in the hall. 

More than 40 years of performing on concert stages, Perahia has become accustomed to producing many arrangements of piano music in the presence of an audience. 

With his experience in performing in all of the primary international music halls across the globe, Perahia has become one of the most prominent and respected pianists in his time. 

In 2004, he was granted an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire award, which is an Order of the British Empire for chivalry, by the Queen of England. 

Dressed in a traditional tailcoat with his face fair and composed, Perahia began the evening with Bach’s French Suite No. 6 in E major. 

The rest of the evening unraveled with Haydn’s Sonata in A-flat major, Beethoven’s Sonata No. 26 in E-flat major Op. 81a, Franck’s Prelude Choral et Fugue Op. 21, and Chopin’s Scherzo No. 1 in B minor Op. 20. 

Each piece he performed on the stage was consistent, quick paced and energetic. Perahia’s body movements were fluid as if the sound radiating from the piano keys consumed his entire body, not just his fingers. 

“I’ve never seen a pianist in concert before,” said Sociology major Greg Conner. “It was quite the experience to see Perahia perform with such passion, energy and grace.”

Although he never spoke before or after each performance, his musical talent was enough to raise the entire audience in multiple standing ovations.