Pianist plays, draws, tells a story
Published: Monday, November 12, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 12, 2012 01:11
Donning a crown and a lime green suit, the children’s story character “Babar the Elephant” has been a staple of childhood memories.
On Sunday, at the Corvallis Public Library, Andrew Rangell played pieces for a children’s piano concert accompanying Jean de Brunhoff’s “Story of Babar.” Rangell not only told the story and performed musical pieces of Frances Poulenc, but he also drew Babar throughout this character’s journey.
Rangell received his doctorate in piano at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. He not only plays music, but also narrates and illustrates stories for children.
Rangell is best known for playing all 32 of Beethoven’s sonatas as well as Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” and many other famous classical pieces, which he performed later that day.
He first discovered his love for music as a child, but it was not until his late teens that he thought to pursue music as a profession.
“You can love music without necessarily thinking of it as a profession,” Rangell said.
He has toured widely for a range of diverse events, most commonly throughout New England.
“My favorite part about performing in general is that it’s challenging, stimulating and inspiring,” Rangell said. “In this particular case [the children’s story piano concert], I also get the opportunity to be an actor for the kids.”
Hands shot up eagerly whenever he asked the children questions during the performance.
At one point during Rangell’s career, he injured his hand and it took him seven years to recover. He returned performing shortly after, but faced some challenges coming out of the injury.
“I had to figure out how to compensate for a very specific weakness in my right hand,” said Rangell.
The right hand generally has the main melody when it comes to playing the piano. He acknowledged if he made a mistake during a concert mainly for children, it tends to be alright because the children don’t notice.
However, Rangell said he found performing in other events and competitions much more difficult.
He has had to learn to be resourceful and be able to solve problems he faced with his injury.
Rachelle McCabe, who helped organize this event, also happens to be a professor of music here at OSU and is the director of piano studies.
“Andy enjoys performing Poulenc’s ‘Story of Babar’ for children, and he communicates just as well with an audience of 5 to 8 years old as he does with audiences of experienced listeners,” McCabe said.
McCabe’s favorite part was watching how well her old friend Rangell interacted with very young children.
“He is a genius who lives in the world of Bach and Beethoven, and yet he is able to relate to the children with an endearing charm,” said McCabe.
McCabe urged students and the community to come to future musical events and to check out their list of many events that the Corvallis-OSU Piano International offers.
These events are free for OSU students. Anyone interested may check the list of events on the Corvallis-OSU Piano International website, corvallispiano.org.
Hannah Johnson, news reporter