World renowned classical pianist Roman Rudnytsky graced the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose stage with elegant musical pieces and inspiring sonatas last Saturday as dozens of community members witnessed what some said was “musical history” for the CNMI.
The internationally active concert pianist, who has performed in over 100 countries, enchanted his audience with a versatile repertoire that ranged from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata quasi una fantasia in C sharp minor composed in the 1770’s to Claude Debussy’s Estampes written a hundred years later.
Along with the signature sounds that resonated throughout the audience was Saipan’s very own musical jewels: Marianas High School’s Rhythm ‘N Harmony and the Saipan Southern High School Manta Ray Band, along with the Pacific Winds Ensemble.
After his solo performances the two groups surrounded the pianist on stage to conclude the two-hour event. MHS Rhythm ‘N Harmony performed Dies Irae by Wolfang Mozart arranged by Maurizio Machella in Latin with Rudnytsky on the piano. The performance was a repeat of the club’s recent performance at the Guam Tumon Bay Music Festival where he and the group presented the command performance.
The evening of magical music ended with the SSHS Manta Ray Band performing George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with Rudnytsky.
The performance received a standing ovation.
Friends of the Arts president Susan Tudor told Saipan Tribune that Rudnytsky has visited the islands seven times before and once to perform a patriotic medley for the 60th anniversary of the invasion of Saipan. Tudor described Rudnytsky as “selfless, kind, and brilliant.”
Tudor said the artistic abilities of the youth and adults of Saipan have risen dramatically over the past few years.
“I believe that FOA has a major contribution in that as does the SSHS Manta Ray Band and the recent addition of the Rhythm ‘N Harmony,” she said.
Trombone player and SSHS student Jun Seo “Alen” Park said that he is thankful for the pianist’s invitation to play music on stage. “This is my first time playing with such a renowned player. I am thankful he invited us to play with him and it is such a rare opportunity”
“I think this is very new for the kids. Someone of Roman’s stature and musicality brings the kids’ level to a new one,” said MHS Glee director Paul Dujua.
SSHS Band director and conductor William DeWitt expressed the same sentiments. “This is truly a first, this is historic. We feel honored that we could be on stage with him because he is world renowned.”
SSHS clarinet player and student Kanani Lee said the experience was an honor for her as well. “Being in his presence is a shock. It is so special.”
MHS Rhythm ‘N Harmony singer Anabelle Manzo echoed Lee. “I feel honored to perform. I was little nervous and excited.”
Rudnytsky told the audience that he is glad to be back on Saipan and has “enjoyed playing for the students.”
He will be visiting schools on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota to play and discuss music with students this week.
His second show on March 29, 2014, will also be held at the Multi-Purpose Center and will cost $12 for Friends of the Art members, $15 for non-member adults and $8 for students. The show will start at 7pm.