February 9, 2012

Ivory power

Pianist and Maine native Henry Kramer heads home to perform with the Portland Symphony in a romance-packed program Tuesday.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

A young star comes home for next week's Portland Symphony Orchestra Tuesday Classical concert at Merrill Auditorium.

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Cape Elizabeth’s Henry Kramer is a graduate of The Julliard School and is now studying at Yale.

Courtesy PSO

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WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland

TICKETS: $20 to $70

INFO: 842-0800; porttix.com; portlandsymphony.org

WHAT ELSE: A Concert Conversation will be at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday in the Merrill rehearsal hall. There will be a post-concert Q&A on stage, followed by a gathering at the restaurant Grace, 15 Chestnut St.

Henry Kramer, a Cape Elizabeth native, will solo on Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, heralded by music director Robert Moody as an exuberant piece filled with romance for Valentine's Day.

Also on the program is Tchaikovsky's overture from "Romeo and Juliet" and Prokofiev's ballet score of the Shakespeare play. Interspersed with the music, four actors from Portland Stage Company will narrate scene selections.

For Kramer, the chance to perform with the Portland Symphony fulfills a long-held dream. His teacher, Elizabeth Manduca, has been working with the symphony to arrange his appearance for a long time.

Now 24 and studying at Yale, Kramer graduated from The Juilliard School in New York. He won the National Chopin Competition, and has performed across the country and in Europe. He has performed often in Maine, as well -- with the Bangor Symphony and at the Bowdoin International Music Festival.

But Tuesday's performance will be his first with the PSO.

"I am very honored and humbled, and I also think it's a wonderful thing for the orchestra to have someone from Maine who has decided to make their life in music to come in and play," he said. "It's nice to showcase that in a state that's not so densely populated, there are people who go far with music."

Kramer completed his undergraduate work and earned his master's at Juilliard, and now is in the second semester of a two-year Artist Diploma program at Yale School of Music.

On the weekend after the Mozart concerto, he will fly to Europe to perform two concerts in Bratislava and three in the Netherlands. In March, he's off to Hilton Head, S.C., for an international piano competition.

Kramer fully intends to make his career performing music, and hopes that Tuesday's concert with the PSO is the first of many return trips home. He's expecting a large contingent of family and friends.

"All of the people I grew up around and their parents can come and see where I have gone," he said. "I'm really happy to be busy and to get to play all this great music. It's what I have always wanted to do. To have the opportunity to showcase it at home, I am very honored."

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:


Twitter: pphbkeyes


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