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Guest pianist performs Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Pa - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Guest pianist performs Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" with SLO Symphony

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Pianist Steven Lin Pianist Steven Lin

Quick! If you could choose a tune that would get stuck in your head, what would you want it be?

May I suggest Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini?"

It's a piece written for piano and orchestra that's so lush it'll carry you to a peaceful place and return you exhilarated and relaxed. If you attend the SLO Symphony concert this weekend, you may have exactly that experience.

"Not only was he a great pianist," explained pianist, Steven Lin, "he was also a great composer.  So, that combination, he really knew how to compose for the piano."

Lin began taking piano lessons at age 7 in Taiwan before moving to the U.S. as a child. By age 17, he was already working on "Rhapsody."

Now he's 26.  We asked how he knew he was ready to take it on the road?

A big smile broke out on his face. "You're never ready. I think that's the beauty of it. This whole process is a life-long journey for musicians.  That doesn't mean that when I was playing at 17 that this (performance) was any worse. It's just very different.  I mean, you can say it's more mature now, but I think it's all part of the process that's very necessary."

For awhile, Lin wasn't sure he'd pursue music. He said he was more focused on sports -- soccer and basketball, but he sees parallels in the careers of pro athletes, like Kobe Bryant, who learned to adapt his game over time.

"Actually, his game became more finesse," Lin explained.  "The craft, the craftsmanship of his game, the details, the nuance. It's kind of the same thing with piano, but it's an even longer process."

I asked how he knows where he is in that process.

Lin paused. "It's very important to feel the moment, being very spontaneous, listening, I think.  Awareness is very important. We start when we're 7-years-old and you don't stop playing until you're ... hopefully you don't stop playing until you're 70 or 80."

The San Luis Obispo Symphony's Saturday night performance also includes "Pictures at an Exhibition" by Modest Mussorgsky, and the "Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah" by Camille Saint-Saëns.

The concert begins at 8pm in the Cohan Center at the PAC in San Luis Obispo.

For tickets and more information, just go to slosymphony.org

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