Renowned pianist delights crowd with familiar scores

Lifestyle Reporter
Simone Pedroni plays the piano as part of the School of Music’s Guest Artist Series April 12 at the Performing Arts Center Recital Hall.

Students, faculty and the San Marcos community came together April 12 to hear familiar songs performed in a new way.

The Texas State School of Music hosted Simone Pedroni in the Performing Arts Center Recital Hall as part of the Guest Artist Series.

Pedroni performed some of the works of composer John Williams, including the Star Trek and Harry Potter film scores. Pedroni incorporated compositions by Nino Rota and Louis Moreau Gottschalk.

Jason Kwak, associate professor in the School of Music, said the familiarity of the works made the performance inviting for audience members.

“The music is much more accessible,” Kwak said. “It’s the most universal language, and the audience can find a connection to it. It’s not your typical or standard performance.”

Kwak said Pedroni is a world-renowned pianist who has won first place at the ninth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the Queen Sonja International Music Competition in 1993. Pedroni won second place at the 1992 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition.

"He is a winner of the most prestigious piano competition in the world, so that is a huge exposure,” Kwak said. “Just the fact that he is a gold medalist—it should give everyone the security that this is a world-class pianist.”

Chelsea Strong, audience member, admires Pedroni’s work. She said the opportunity to see him perform live was an honor.

“I think it’s really nice that Texas State offers this to their students,” Strong said. “I’ve played piano for over 20 years, and having the opportunity to see Simone Pedroni play is something that I will hold very close to me for a long time.”

Washington Garcia, associate professor in the School of Music, said Pedroni committed to a full weekend at Texas State, hosting master classes and performances for students.

 “Not only is he a very talented artist, but he is one of the nicest people I have ever met,” Garcia said.

Strong said the passion and talent Pedroni exhibited in each of his pieces were the highlights of the performance.

“You just don’t get to see that often,” Strong said. “I can really see that he is invested into what he is playing. I think that is one of the things that makes him stand out so much. Anybody could see that, not just musicians.”

Kwak said all Texas State students, regardless of major, could enjoy the concert.

"As intimidating as it is to go to a classical recital, you never know how you'll like it unless you try," Kwak said.

Attendees had the opportunity to purchase Pedroni’s recordings, get autographs and take photos with him.

“It’s a huge deal to get to see him perform,” Strong said. “But having the chance to meet him is even a bigger deal. This is something everyone should take advantage of.”

Elizabeth Peterson, audience member and Texas State alumna, was unacquainted with classical piano, but the familiarity of the pieces Pedroni performed made the experience enjoyable.

“I got really excited when the Harry Potter music came on,” Peterson said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was really good. He got really into (it), and that was really fun to see. I’d buy tickets to see him play again.”