Pianista hits the keys

From staff reports

Alberto Ferro first struck the keys of a piano when he was a child in Italy, and he hasn’t stopped playing since.

After studying in Italy, he moved to the United States looking for job opportunities and then spent some time performing on cruise ships before deciding to continue his education at WSU.

“The only thing I can do with my life is play piano,” he said.

Ferro, a graduate student working on his Master of Arts in piano performance, will fulfill a final degree requirement when he performs a solo recital at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Bryan Hall Theatre.

Gerald Berthiaume, professor of music at WSU, has been Ferro’s teacher during the master’s process, and said they spend a lot of time discussing music theory and other higher-level concepts.

“It’s quite unusual to have all his abilities,” Berthiaume said. “There are so many possibilities for him.”

Ferro’s recital is composed mainly of classical pieces, but will feature some jazz-like improvisation between and during certain songs.

“In all my years of teaching I’ve never heard someone improvise on Bach before,” Berthiaume said. “He’s taking a work 300 years old and fusing his contemporary style into it.”

Audience members will also hear works from the composers Messiaen, Ligeti and Bach.

Ferro said repeatedly that he finds a special virtue in music and feels a heavy type of pressure while performing it.

“I don’t own my music,” he said. “I have to make it happen, but I can’t control it. I’m just a medium for it, a vessel.”

The sound of silence is lonesome, he said, but it is the power of music to bring life to whatever room it is played in.

Despite having played piano for more than 25 years, Ferro said he’s still a bit nervous for the recital.

“I know what I’m getting into, but still the stage is a big beast and you never get used to it,” he said.

After graduating, Ferro said he hopes to begin teaching piano.

“Being a musician is just a fancy way of saying unemployed,” he laughed. “Hopefully being a teacher will help with that.”

The graduate recital is free for everyone to attend.