The Bellingham Festival of Music hosts pianist Cole Anderson in its annual Welcome Home concert Jan. 2 at First Congregational Church.
The recitals recognize the accomplishments of emerging artists, their teachers and the Whatcom County community that supported their early training.
Anderson began his studies in Bellingham with Nancy Bussard when he was 6.
“Nancy was always so kind to me, and made it all very fun to learn piano,” Anderson says.
“I had no serious musical ambitions until I was about 13; that is when piano began to interest me more and more, and I began to seriously consider making it a career. I studied with Alexander Tutunov for some years, who is a fabulous Russian pianist on faculty at Southern Oregon University; and Mark Salman, a superb Seattle concert pianist. I also never stopped studying with Nancy and learning from her as well.”
I live with these pieces every day, patiently trying to improve them bit by bit. Cole Anderson, pianist
Anderson was home-schooled through high school, which he says worked well, considering how much attention he started paying to practicing the piano and studying musical subjects.
He performs frequently in duo performances with his wife, Chinese pianist Siyuan Li.
For Saturday’s concert, Anderson will play Gershwin transcriptions, arrangements of Percy Grainger, and a new work by John Luther Adams among other pieces.
“I live with these pieces every day, patiently trying to improve them bit by bit,” he says, “and every opportunity I get to come out of the practice room and share with an audience is a pleasure.”
One the highlights of his career, he says, was his unplanned performance during the Oberlin Orchestra’s tour of China.
“Our stop in Wuhan was unexpectedly disturbed by a heavy snowfall that sent the plane carrying half the orchestra, plus most of the luggage back to Beijing. On the spot, we had to jury rig a performance to please our enthusiastic and impatient audience until the rest of the orchestra arrived and we could present the program as planned. There was a special kind of excitement in the air at that performance, and a warmth and appreciation from the audience that I have rarely encountered.”
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2
Where: First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Ave.
Cost: Suggested donation $15; no reservations necessary