Roberto Plano's Schubert Sensibility


deconstructing schubert

WGBH host Cathy Fuller and pianist Roberto Plano take apart Schubert's Impromptu in B-flat major and put it back together for a full performance.

Pianist Roberto Plano

Pianist Roberto Plano brings his poetic style to an audience at the WGBH studio in Boston. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist

Roberto Plano's speaking voice has qualities that remind me of Schubert's musical voice: an audible smile mixed with a trace of smoke that implies something darker. The young Italian pianist is charming and sunlit, and his friendliness is contagious. But at the piano, his imagination is in love with music that flirts with melancholy — music such as Schubert's Impromptus.

Plano will tell you that he's devoted to creating for his audiences the emotional atmosphere that composers have crafted. When he performed for an audience of WGBH fans at our new Fraser Performance Studio, I saw a kind of quiet exuberance from Plano, with sparkling clarity and gobs of technique at its service. He plays the piano with a truly genuine approach, unfettered by dramatic choreography.

Plano told me that when he entered his first international piano competition (in Cleveland), he consciously aimed for second place, figuring that he wasn't ready for the huge responsibility that a concert pianist has toward the composer, the audience and himself. But he won first place, and now shoulders his responsibilities with confidence.

About Roberto Plano

A native of Varese, Italy, Roberto Plano went to Paris to study at the Ecole Normale "Cortot," the school named after the great French pianist Alfred Cortot. Capturing the top prize at the 2001 Cleveland International Piano Competition was a surprise for Plano, and it launched his international career. He's since been a prize-winner at the Van Cliburn, Honens and Leeds international piano competitions, and regularly gives recitals and performs with orchestras throughout the world.

The 30-year-old pianist has been praised for his poetic sensibility, virtuosity and depth of interpretation. His repertoire has steadily grown to include a wide range of concertos (Bach, Beethoven Poulenc and Ravel) and solo pieces that span the centuries from Scarlatti to today's composers.

Plano does a little composing himself. One of his pastimes is writing hymns for organ and choir at his hometown church in Induno Olona, in Northern Italy.



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