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Terrence Wilson: Gifted pianist and role model too

Posted at: 02/07/2013 3:38 PM
Updated at: 02/07/2013 6:36 PM
By: Janet Lomax

He sports a Mohawk and plays a mean Mozart. He is Grammy Award nominee and classical pianist Terrence Wilson who is performing in Rochester.

He takes the stage Thursday night with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in a program called "Rhapsody in Blue" in honor of Black History Month. Wilson will perform the George Gershwin classic at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

He has appeared with many symphony orchestras in the U.S. and abroad. That's a long way from where he grew up in the Bronx. He was eight years old when he first sat down at a piano. Years of private lessons followed and he graduated from Julliard.

Now, this classical pianist spends at least two weeks of every month on the road and is grateful to be able to make a living doing what he loves. He calls the great pianist Andre' Watts a role model.
But Wilson is a role model too. He says, "I think about all the help that I've had along the way and all the shoulders that I've stood on. I think it is among the most gratifying things."

Watching Wilson play, his fingers glide across the keys.  After all these years, he still practices five to six hours a day. He says there are hundreds of young people from all walks of life training right now in classical music. He says perseverance is key and has advice for those who get discouraged along the way. "There are setbacks in every aspect of life, but you have to just keep going, you have to remember why you are doing it in the first place and let that be your motivation."

You can hear Terrence Wilson with the RPO tonight at 7:30 and again on Saturday. Another treat on the program is the world premier of "The Freedom Zephyr" a new piece by Douglas Lowry, Dean of the Eastman School of Music.