Drew Petersen did it again! The acclaimed young pianist, in his third appearance with the Shelter Island Friends of Music, captivated a full house with his extraordinary playing of an engrossing program this past Saturday night.
Since Mr. Petersen first played here as a remarkable 12-year-old prodigy, and then as a rising Harvard student at age 16, many in the audience felt a special rapport with him especially now that he has progressed to become an acknowledged master of his instrument.
In addition, his manner of playing and his insightful observations, both during and following the concert, manage to palpably connect with this audience as few musicians can.
The program began with music of Beethoven and Chopin with a mix of the familiar and the relatively unknown. But, in a rhapsodic account of Chopin’s Ballade #4, it seemed that, with his eyes closed, Mr. Petersen vanished into Chopin’s dreamworld and reappeared to an ecstatic response from the crowd.
After some charming miniatures by Charles Tomlinson Griffes, two works of Franz Liszt ended the printed program — the beloved “Liebestraum” and a thrillingly played, astonishing transcription of part of Meyerbeer’s opera “Le Prophete.”
For many in the audience, the most enduring moment of the evening came in Mr. Petersen’s single encore, an intuitive and ravishing version of Gershwin’s “The Man I Love,” scored for solo piano by Earl Wild.
It’s clear that with Mr. Petersen’s thoughtful approach and abundant gifts, he will very soon become recognized as one of the music world’s most prominent pianists.