North Carolina was a long way for pianist Kevin Ayesh to come to entertain classical-loving locals and make his Canadian performing debut on Saturday, April 21 at Mountainside Church.
The concert, hosted by the 88 Keys Society, welcomed Ayesh and an audience of two dozen to bask in the sounds of Ayesh’s prowess on the pedals and keys.
Ayesh’s visit to Fernie came with half a century of training behind him, inspired simply by the touch of a lever when he was a small boy.
“I used to go over to my neighbour’s house and I used to love pushing down on the levers of their piano. It wasn’t because I loved classical music or I wanted to pursue the instrument, I just knew that I loved pressing down on that lever,” said Ayesh.
The concert was filled with selections from the romantic period that Ayesh said he had chosen specifically as “audience pleasers.”
“In the past, I have found that people seem to really respond to the pieces that I will be playing tonight, so I’m hoping to do that here in Fernie,” he said. “They’re not exactly the best-known pieces in classical music, but I think they’re selections that audiences just tend to love and gravitate towards.”
The opening number, a Mozart composition, charmed attendees with its lively sounds.
Before embarking on his next piece, a Brahms, Ayesh said that it was probably one of his favourite pieces for its richness in tone and harmony.
Indeed, following the final trill of the dramatic number, the audience was fully enraptured.
Flashier pieces followed, including a composition by Franz Liszt. Other composers included in the night’s concert were Frédéric Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Gabriel Fauré.
Ayesh’s performance was the final night in the 88 Keys season.
88 Keys president Sylvia Elias said that performances from the society would return in the fall.
The 88 Keys themselves are a non-profit society with a mandate to promote classical music and education.