2007-03-22 / News

Local pianist competes at Piano Extravaganza! 2007

Samuel Hollister with Dr. Manabu Takasawa. Samuel Hollister with Dr. Manabu Takasawa. Ten-year-old Jamestown resident Samuel Hollister received "Excellent" ratings for his performance at the Piano Extravaganza! 2007 festival held at the University of Rhode Island Fine Arts Center on March 11. This was his fourth year participating in this important competition for young pianists who range in age from elementary school through high school.

Samuel is a fifth-grader at The Pennfield School, and has been playing the piano for a little over four years. He is currently under the instruction of Dr. Manabu Takasawa.

Piano Extravaganza! 2007 brought together 27 top young pianists from Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Pianists were expected to play, from memory, between ten and fifteen minutes of classical music. Sam's selections were the Haydn Piano Sonata No. 35 in C major (first movement), Chopin Waltz, Op. 69, No. 2, and a Prokofiev March in C major, Op. 65. All participants performed on the university's nine-foot Steinway pianos before an audience and a panel of judges who evaluated each pianist's performance.

The festival and competition were coordinated by world-renowned concert pianist and director of URI's piano program, Dr. Manabu Takasawa. He conceived and organized the first Piano Extravaganza! concerts and competition in 2004, and has seen the event grow in size and quality each year since then. Islanders may recall attending concerts that Dr. Takasawa has performed on the Jamestown community piano during the last few years.

The competition was videotaped and DVD's will be available by the end of March. Ordering details can be found on the festival's web site, www.pianoextravaganza.org.

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