September 30, 2015

Pittsford teen to perform with the RPO

It is an opportunity most classical musicians dream of achieving--the chance to appear as a spotlight artist with an orchestra. Pittsford’s Raymond Feng started playing piano at five years old; by nine he was winning competitions both on the national and international level. As a soloist, he has performed with the Ashdod Symphony in Perugia, Italy, and also performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. Now, the 13-year-old is preparing to make his RPO debut at three free community concerts October 8-10, under the baton of Principal Conductor for Education and Community Engagement Michael Butterman. Feng will perform the first movement of Grieg’s Piano Concerto on a program that also includes familiar favorites like Beethoven, Brahms, and John Williams.

Raymond Feng

“Raymond is a remarkable young pianist,” said Butterman. “The Grieg concerto is a great one—both flashy and lyrical. It will be exciting to hear Raymond in this work, and I hope that it might just inspire a young person or two to begin their own musical journeys.”

Feng’s parents started him on the piano as a young boy because he liked to play around with an old electric keyboard they had in the house. A pupil of Elier Suárez, Feng says he practices anywhere from 14-16 hours per week while balancing life as a full time student in ninth grade at Pittsford-Sutherland High School. He also plays violin under the tutelage of RPO violinist Nancy Hunt and is concertmaster of the Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra.

“The RPO is very high level,” said Feng, who was inspired to send his biography to the orchestra with encouragement from Nancy Hunt. “I’ve played this piece before with the Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra, and I’m excited to play it again with the RPO. It’s a big movement filled with lush expressiveness.”

While Feng’s resume seems indicative of a promising career in music, the young pianist hasn’t decided on future plans just yet. In the meantime, he is enjoying performing as much as he can and also performs solo recitals at senior living centers throughout the greater Rochester area.

“I like math and science a lot, too,” said Feng, who has placed first in various “mathlete” competitions over the last few years. “I know that being a musician is very competitive. I don’t know what I will be when I grow up, but I have a lot of interests to tap into when it’s time to choose a career. For now I just love the opportunity to play and share my music with the community.”

If you go
What: Around the Town Concerts
When/Where: Thursday, October 8; Rush-Henrietta High School
                         Friday, October 9; Churchville-Chili High School
                         Saturday, October 10; Webster-Schroeder High School
Time: All concerts at 7:30 PM
$$: Free, donations accepted

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