Pianist Walters Eagerly Embraces Busy Travel and Performance Schedule
By Nikki Patrick
The Pittsburg Morning Sun
March 20, 2011
“Known as the “International First Lady of Piano,” Teresa Walters has played all over the world. On April 8 the New York based pianist will play at Memorial Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.
“I love the Midwest and I’m really looking forward to this,” Walters said in a telephone interview from her home shortly before flying off for another series of concerts in Europe.
“Ms. Walters’s information came across my desk last year, and I thought that we might never get another chance to have a pianist of her caliber here,” said Jeff Wilbert, auditorium manager. “Fortunately, the type of grand piano we have her is what she plays. We are so lucky to get her here.”
Walters said that she can’t even remember a time when she didn’t play piano, but her parents can pinpoint when she first touched the instrument. “My parents tell me that I was 4,” she said. “We didn’t have a piano at home, but my grandmother did. We were at her house and I played something on her piano that I’d just heard on television.”
Her natural gifts were trained at some of the finest musical institutions in the world. Walters earned her doctorate from Peabody Conservatory and was awarded an international fellowship for a year of study abroad at the Paris Conservatoire.
She has performed in most U.S. states and on six continents. In recent seasons, she has appeared in Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Australia, Russia, Japan and Isreal, where the music critic for the Jerusalem Post hailed her performance as “Marvelous! As close to perfect as I hope to hear.”
Walters was the first American pianist invited by Hungary to perform three European recitals honoring the anniversary of Franz Liszt’s birthday, and her recital at Liszt’s birthplace in Raiding was televised.
Other highlights include debuts in Manila and Hong Kong, performances with the Romanian Brasov Philharmonic in celebration of its 125th anniversary, a South American debut in Sao Paolo sponsored by Brazil’s Serie International De Concertos in honor of International Women’s Day and an invitation to perform with the Bombay Orchestra at India’s new National Center for the Performing Arts.
She loves all the traveling she does.
“I was the kind of little girl who used to read the map and look at the globe, so this is a dream come true,” Walters said. “I do enjoy meeting people of all cultures.”
She speaks French and German, but even when she has to communicate through interpreters, Walters doesn’t have any sense of a language barrier.
“My world is 88 keys,” Walters said. “Even when I’m in a strange country where I don’t speak the language, those 88 keys are all the same. I may sit down at the piano in front of an orchestra, and the members don’t speak English and I don’t speak their language, but it’s not a problem. The world’s great music is an international language.”
At a recent performance as a soloist with a Russian orchestra, Walters received five curtain calls. Much closer to home, her Lincoln Center recital in New York was sold out and won her a standing ovation.
But she chooses to emphasize the music rather than herself.
“I feel a calling to share this music, and it has never seemed like work to me, even the long hours of practice,” Walters said. “When you love what you do, you don’t count the hours. What I do is such a humble thing. I’m keeping the work of these great composers alive for all the world to enjoy.”
To make the music more accessible to audiences in campus and community settings, Walters has developed her “Keynote Comments,” speaking about various aspects of the music she’s about to perform.
When Walters is not traveling, she’s welcomed home by her husband and two kittens, Cocopuff Chanel, an American Bobtail, and Maxine, a Maine Coon adopted from an animal shelter.
“Last Saturday I played a benefit for an animal shelter in the New York area, Walters said. “The animals touch something very close to my heart. They brought some of the shelter animals to the concert and I hope some of them got good homes.”
Tickets for her concert may be purchased at the Memorial Auditorium ticket office.”
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