Acclaimed pianist Nicholas Roth to perform
WHO: The Elkhart County Symphony with guest artist Nicholas Roth.
WHAT: “The Three B’s!!!: Bach, Brahms, & Beethoven” concert
WHERE: The Lerner Theatre, 410 S. Main St, Elkhart
WHEN: Sunday, March 15, 4 p.m.
ELKHART, Ind. — On March 15 at The Lerner Theatre, the second letter of the alphabet will be No. 1 in great music!
“The Three B’s!!!: Bach, Brahms, & Beethoven” is the title of the next Elkhart County Symphony performance. The concert will feature acclaimed pianist Nicholas Roth, an Elkhart native and Elkhart Central High School graduate.
This symphonic showcase will feature three pillars of classical music. Roth will perform Brahms’ “Piano Concerto No. 2.” Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 2” and Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze” will also be presented during the concert. Roth last performed with the symphony at the grand opening of the remodeled Lerner Theatre in June 2011.
For Roth, the “Three B’s” concert will be a homecoming of sorts to the place where his musical course was set.
Roth started playing piano – “quite late,” in his estimation – at age 12, after stints on drums and trumpet. His first several lessons were with Jane Sears, and then he studied for four years with Ray Barbour in Elkhart.
“Ray Barbour was already an institution in town,” Roth recalled. “He took me under his wing and educated me in a really old-fashioned way. We did a lot of piano study, of course, but we would also listen to albums together and talk about the great pianists of the old times.”
Roth went on to hone his skills with the help of several distinguished instructors, including Ralph Votapek, Elisso Virsaladze, Helmut Deutsch, Edward Auer, Emilio del Rosario, and Michel Block.
“All of my teachers come forth and come to bear in my teaching,” said Roth, a professor of piano at Drake University. “I vow to uphold the tradition and standard that all my teachers instilled in me. They’re the people I owe everything to, and when I perform, I carry them with me. It’s their reputation and their time and effort with me that I represent. That’s a really important thing to remember.”
Roth always enjoys a warm welcome when he’s back in his home area.
“I go back rather regularly and play,” he said. “I’ve always had such tremendous community support. Whenever I go back home, I’m welcomed by so many people. There’s always warmth and support from all directions.”
This visit, however, will be different in one big way. Roth’s father, a longtime educator in the community, died in April.
“This will be the first time I’ve played with the symphony that he hasn’t been there,” he said. “So there’s that layer of nostalgia, too.”
Roth also expressed his fondness for his March 15 performance venue, The Lerner Theatre.
“That venue is so beautiful,” he said. “I’m so happy that there’s been such community support to restore it, because it’s a jewel. When I was a kid, I used to go there for movies when it was called the Elco Theatre.”
Roth is a featured performer and teacher throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia. His recordings with the Blue Griffin recording label have earned glowing reviews from International Record Review, Gramophone, Fanfare, and American Record Guide. He has also recorded with the Naxos, MSR Classics, and Innova labels
Roth was honored by the Indiana House of Representatives for his “contribution to the performing arts, his accomplishments as a concert pianist, and his inspiration to young musicians.” He has been featured on “A Prairie Home Companion,” and in March 2019 he participated in a performance of the “Hexaméron” for six pianos and orchestra in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Roth is the founder of Drake’s Keys to Excellence Piano Series, now in its seventh season, featuring renowned artists from all over the world.