Show boasts piano, power, panache

Power and Panache: that’s what Chemainus Classical Concerts organizers are calling their upcoming show by pianist Elias-Axel Pettersson on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. Pettersson will be performing some Mozart, Gershwin and Liszt before the intermission and then round out the afternoon with a wide variety of selections from Frédéric Chopin.

Check out the list on chemainusclassicalconcerts.ca; there’s a full program there. The Swedish-American pianist is quickly establishing himself as a formidable soloist and chamber musician.

He has garnered prizes on the international level and has been heard on national radio.

Pettersson holds a music degree from the Université de Montréal, where he is currently an assistant instructor and has studied with a galaxy of fine musicians.

He premiered Michael Mauldin’s Petroglyph for Piano in 2011 and frequently champions contemporary composers. He has three albums on Axel Records.

Asked why he chose these particular selections for his program, the pianist said, "The Gershwin is close to my heart, and I am proud to present the first of the set of four, which has rarely been performed in public (it was not published with the famous set of three preludes). I believe it is a B.C. premiere.

"I also consider including works where I think I have something personal and unique that hasn’t been said before. I find it my duty to not only present the ‘classics’, I want to introduce something new. This can take many forms. I have premiered works and have performed many 20th-and 21stcentury works. I look for something that speaks to me.

"I am of course excited to present Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz, which I learned many years ago. It’s interesting to see how it has developed in the intervening years just due to my own developments technically, musically and philosophically," Pettersson said.

He sees the Mozart as a mini-opera. "He goes through so many different feeling and characters in such a small amount of time. All the drama is compressed into a five-minute work. As for the Chopin, it is always a joy to play. It fits so nicely into the hands, but not in the way Liszt does. There is work to be done, but the stretching and the distances involved always mirror the musical kernel of truth. The Mazurka is an incredible pianistic representation of the traditional Polish dance. As for Op. 25, they are understandably a pinnacle of musicianship and technique," Pettersson said.

Tickets are available in advance for $15 each for adults (under 18 free with advance ticket) from Owl’s Nest Bakery Bistro and Chemainus Festival Inn in Chemainus, Ten Old Books in Duncan, Mike’s Cafe in Crofton, Valley Vines to Wines in Mill Bay. Some may also be available at the door at $20 each for adults and $5 each for music lovers under 18.