I just got home from the final Altoona Symphony Concert, "Powerful Finale Celebrating the Spirit of this Great City, Altoona."
It was spectacular. The star of the performance was pianist Anthony Michael Cornet, an Altoona native. His interpretation of Sergei Rachmaninoff's piano concerto number 2 in C Minor, op18 was out of this world.
I have seen Van Cliburn, and it was equal to his performance. It was a great showing of an Altoona native for a hometown young man. His phrasing, runs and octaves were spellbinding. I was in awe of the speed of his hands. I enjoyed the faster pace of the second movement.
We need to have a better showing of this caliber of talent. This should have been a two- or three-night concert. Yes, we can do this, Altoona. I was mildly impressed that he played the Altoona Symphony's Baldwin piano, but I liked the action. The sound was crisp and bold. We need him back on a yearly basis.
The orchestra was just awesome and so strong for the entire program under the leadership of Concertmaster, Andrew Sords. The clarinet solo and performances just stunned me during the whole concert.
Teresa Cheung, music director and conductor, did a marvelous job. She followed every note of Cornet and gave him full support of her orchestra. Bravo!
Her movements were just like an angel, and she enjoyed the evening. Cornet will begin working on his doctorate in music at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va. He will study with John O'Connor, widely regarded as the most distinguished pianist alive today.
Cheung gave a brief synopsis of the new 2014-15 concert season, and you had better be ready for a stellar season. Get your season tickets soon.
The tribute to Barbara Weller Crain was well deserved; she is a talented lady that has given Altoona a lot of music and culture. She has been with the Altoona Symphony for 68 years and never took a paycheck. She did receive a standing ovation.
It was a wonderful evening, and I can still hear the music.