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Tuesday, September 25 Local

Acclaimed pianist to perform in Old Greenwich

GREENWICH — Music once again fills the air at First Congregational Church with the return of the Sunday Afternoons Live concert series.

This year’s second installment, Feb. 25, at 4 p.m., will feature internationally acclaimed pianist Andrew Armstrong who will perform a salon concert inside the church’s auditorium.

Armstrong, who is a native of New Canaan, began making his mark while still a student at Columbia University in the early 1990s when he won awards at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. His talents have since taken him throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America and to venues from Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.

Anderson has been praised by the American Record Guide for the “dazzling clarity and confidence” in his playing.

“Each piece in the Sunday concert will tell a story or paint a picture for the listener,” said Craig Symons, director of music for First Congregational Church. “(It will start) with Beethoven’s Sonata Opus 81a, in which the composer vividly depicts the parting of a dear friend in three movements titled ‘The Farewell,’ ‘The Absence,’ and ‘The Return.’ Andrew will then perform a number of shorter pieces, like a spontaneous string of encores, with personal remarks about each piece along the way.”

The church is located at 108 Sound Beach Avenue. Tickets for the show are $25 and will be available at the door.

All school-age children are admitted free of charge, as they are for all music and arts programs at the church.

Two more concerts are scheduled as part of the Sunday Afternoons Live series. On March 4, Wendy Kerner and Teresa Mango will perform on harps and on March 11 the Ron Petrides Jazz Quartet will be featured.

This year’s series kicked off last week with a five-person ensemble featuring double reed instruments including oboes and bassoons.

The series has been going on for more than 35 years. Symons said it remains a favorite and offers a more casual atmosphere than other concerts. Attendees can enjoy coffee and tea and homemade refreshments before the music begins or during intermission.

“I love programming these concerts and being able to offer something different every week to give people different styles of music and bring in different crowds,” Symons said. “We have pianos coming up this weekend and then we have harps and jazz and when we had the double reed instruments that’s not something people typically are going to hear. I like to push the envelope a little bit and allow people to experience all of these different styles.”

Anderson’s appearance is a return to the church. He previously performed there in 2015 as the first one to use the freshly restored Steinway grand piano that had been owned by the late Greenwich resident and legendary pianist Victor Borge. Anderson will again use that piano at Sunday’s concert.

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kborsuk@greenwichtime.com

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