by Kevin Dicciani
A standing-room-only crowd packed the East Parlor yesterday to listen to award-winning pianist Richard Dowling perform at Chestnut Hill College’s 8th Annual Steinway Artist Concert.
Dowling, a Steinway artist who appears regularly in orchestral performances, solo recitals, and chamber music collaborations throughout the world, performed on campus on Feb. 23 in front of the largest crowd ever to attend the concert series.
In commemoration of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday, Dowling played the German composer and pianist’s “32 Variations in C Minor.” He also performed a lesser known “Nocturne” by Frédéric Chopin as well as numerous compositions by American composers Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Jimmy Roberts, George Gershwin, and Scott Joplin.
Kathleen McCloskey, SSJ, M.M.Ed., an assistant professor of music and the chair of the College’s music department, called Dowling a “superb musician and a charismatic presenter.”
“I felt that Richard Dowling had the audience’s rapt attention when speaking,” Sister Kathleen said. “His manner was casual and often humorous in his remarks before playing.”
Sister Kathleen said Dowling’s relaxed demeanor and willingness to engage with the crowd distinguished him from past performers.
“His appeal extended not only to the person who is very knowledgeable about music, but also to the person who simply enjoys listening to beautiful music,” she said.
Dowling has been awarded first place in, among others, the San Antonio International Keyboard Competition, the New Orleans International Piano Competition, and the Oklahoma Symphony Concerto Competition. He is the recipient of a special award from the National Federation of Music Clubs in recognition of his outstanding performances of American music.
The College is designated as an All-Steinway School, an honor Steinway & Sons grants to institutions whose piano collection comprises no less than 90 percent of Steinways. The College’s concert series features musicians from around the globe who were selected to perform exclusively on the company’s pianos, which are handcrafted and take almost a year to build. The award-winning American-German company, founded in 1853, is often labeled one of the “Big Four” piano manufacturers in existence today.
Sister Kathleen said she’s grateful for the increased popularity of the Steinway Artist Concert Series, adding that it’s an honor to have world-class pianists perform on campus every year.
“I am very appreciative of the College’s commitment to our students and to the greater community to have the opportunity to present these gifted musicians,” she said.