Performs in Mississippi
Teresa Walters has the long slender frame and looks of a fashion model. She is a world traveler and acclaimed concert pianist who feels she has a ministry of music. Walters brings this eclectic blend to Mississippi for the first time Friday, February 23, when she performs in Bennett Hall on the Wood College Campus. It is the same program she presented at the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria. On that trip she also performed in Budapest, Vienna and Prague in a Liszt birthday tour of Europe in October.
When Teresa Walters was in Budapest, her hand was photographed beside a cast of Franz Liszt's hand. Both hands are the same size. Not only that, Walters said, "Our hands looked enough alike I could have been his daughter." Her affinity for Liszt goes deep. She has become identified worldwide by her strong performances of his work.
Teresa Walters' command of the piano earned rave reviews internationally, including in the New York Times and Washington Post. The Steinway artist has her doctorate. She believes she has a ministry of music. She calls her musical talents a gift from God.
Music has been a part of her life going back to her roots in the Dutch Reformed Church in rural Nebraska, where her father still operates a farm outside of Lincoln. "Church was very strong; choir started at an early age. I started to sing as I learned to talk," Walters said.
Walters says her parents told her that when she was four, she heard something on the radio and she went to a piano and started playing it. That led to piano lessons and a life that goes far beyond rural Nebraska, though Walters remains close to her family.
Her mother makes her elaborate performance gowns. Walters' home is close to the New York Garment District. She buys some of the finest fabrics available there, and her mother's artistry turns them into the fashions tailored to Walters' tall slender frame.
"My mother has been sewing for me since I was a child," she said "It was out of necessity; I needed concert clothes. She makes me exquisite gowns." This also helps keep up the family contacts that are important to her. "Family is wonderful," she said. "I am thankful for my roots. They give me real stability. That is important in the work that I do and in the travel that I do."
Even before she learned about the religious works of Liszt, Walters said she was drawn to the composer. "I am a very passionate, emotional person," she said. "His music epitomizes the romantic movement. He expresses all the tempest of human emotions. Then, I discovered the little known-repertoire of his sacred music," she said. "It was such worthy music, I began to study it. It just evolved. "It's a ministry for me now."
For her the religious intensity of the music was reaffirmed when she was playing in Japan. Even with her Protestant roots playing the work of a Catholic composer to a largely Buddhist audience, she said they were all able to connect with the work spiritually.
"When there were no words to get in the way, the mystery of the music can be very profound," she said.