Classical pianist Christopher O’Riley will tickle the ivories of the Franco Center’s Steinway grand piano when he performs works from his latest musical release, “Out of My Hands,” on Friday, January 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Perhaps best known as the host of NPR’s weekly radio program “From the Top,” O’Riley is an acclaimed classical pianist whose memorable interpretations of songs from the alt-rock genre have made him a cherished explorer of the boundaries between musical tastes, genres and audiences. Presented by L/A Arts, his Lewiston appearance will feature interpretations of songs by bands such as R.E.M., Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Tori Amos, the Smiths, Tears for Fears, Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Portishead, and the Cocteau Twins.
While O’Riley’s exquisite interpretations of works from the classical cannon have garnered critical praise, it was his 2003 release, “True Love Waits: Christopher O’Riley Plays Radiohead,” that became a landmark event. The recording, on which he boldy re-imagined songs by one of modern rock’s most acclaimed and texturally complex bands, garnered the only four-star review ever granted by Rolling Stone magazine to a classical pianist. He expanded his explorations of modern alt-rock music to include works by other artists on his 2009 release, “Out of My Hands.”
O’Riley’s warm personality, compelling musings on music and popular culture, and passionate performance style combine to create moments that sometimes astonish audiences. According to the Chicago Tribune, his greatest accomplishment may be “his ability to introduce young fans of contemporary artists to classical music… By the looks of [his] audience, he is succeeding in his attempt to locate a midpoint between genres that often struggle to find common ground.”
The Franco-American Heritage Center is located at 46 Cedar Street in Lewiston. Tickets for the performance are $27 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. They can be purchased online at www.laarts.org or by calling 782-7228.