Contributed by Cass Winery Photo: Robert Edward Thies, pianist
World-renowned pianist Robert Edward Thies is no stranger to the limelight: He enjoys a diverse career as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. He’s also performed 40 concertos with orchestras all over the world. All this aside, he still relishes the chance to connect with an intimate audience.
Thies will play a Saturday evening concert on Feb. 1 at the Christopher Cohan Center alongside the San Luis Obispo Symphony for Rachmaninoff’s piano concerto no. 3 in D minor, Op. 30.
On Sunday, Feb. 2, he’ll put on a much smaller, relaxed show at Cass Winery in Paso Robles. The concert begins at 4 p.m., surrounded by scenic vineyards and oak trees.
Thies said he truly enjoys the opportunity to play smaller solo performances when he can. The upcoming performance marks his first in Paso Robles.
“It will be a solo recital with some familiar works, including Mozart and Beethoven,” said Thies. “Nothing too serious, which I feel will be appropriate for a Sunday afternoon…I prefer playing smaller venues and I enjoy the intimacy of a smaller room and feeling like the audience is more involved with what I’m doing.”.
Thies said that regardless of the amount of success a performer receives, it’s all about making a sincere connection with an audience.
“I enjoy having the audience seated closer; it makes me feel like we are all connected in the experience together,” said Thies. “My wife and I habve been to some Paso wineries and I absolutely love that part of California.”
The Los Angeles couple dream about moving to Paso Robles Wine Country, Thies added.
“I’d love to return to the area again,” said Thies. “I go up to visit once or twice a year because it is so dog friendly and people friendly.”
Until then, the artist will be preparing for his next performance. Gearing up for his show with SLO Symphony has been a long and painstaking process.
“Learning this Rachmaninoff piece has been no small feat,” said Thies. “The piece is incredibly challenging and all consuming…it takes over your life, in a good way. It is a labor of love.”
Thies said he’s on a mission to expose young people to the power of classical music.
“I would love for people of all ages to come and experience this kind of music,” he said. “Typically, the stereotype in the U.S. is that our audiences are 70 and up and that people wait until they are older to recognize and enjoy the important and beautiful things that culture and art have to offer.”
Thies said there is no time like the present to take in the historic and moving works.
“I encourage people of all ages to come on Sunday and I feel there will be music for everyone to enjoy and relate to,” said Thies.
Cass Winery is located at 7350 Linne Road in Paso Robles. Before and after the 4 p.m. concert, a selection of appetizers will be served, including light dessert and coffee. Cass wines will be available for purchase. For more on Cass Winery, visit www.casswines.com.
About the musician
Praised for his “thoughtful and intensely moving interpretations,” Thies enjoys a diverse career as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. He has performed 40 concertos with orchestras all over the world. He has appeared with such orchestras as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Mexico City Philharmonic, the National Symphony of Mexico, the Auckland Philharmonia (New Zealand), the Louisville Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Pasadena Symphony, and the Naples Philharmonic. His concerts have been broadcast throughout the United States, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Bolivia, Hungary, Mexico, and New Zealand.
A dedicated chamber musician, Thies is highly sought after as a collaborator, and he has shared the stage with many esteemed musicians. In 2012, he was the official pianist for the International Piatigorsky Cello Festival at USC and played a recital with renowned cellist Thomas Demenga. An avid proponent of art song, Thies has also appeared with many outstanding singers in recital, most recently at Lincoln Center in New York with tenor Shawn Thuris in a performance of Schubert’s great opus Winterreise. Over the past decade, he founded the Thies Piano Quartet, the Pantoum Trio, and most recently, the Thies Consort. The Consort performs a wide range of works of varying instrumentation and size, thus allowing for innovative and unique programming with musical continuity based on a style, composer, or other concept.
For tickets or more information, visit www.pacslo.org or www.slosymphony.com. Interested parties can also call 756-4TIX or 543-3533.
For the complete article see the 01-28-2014 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-28-2014 paper.
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Cass Winery, Robert Edward Thies, Paso Robles