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Bach Festival piano concert inspires student to play

Camille Doty

By Camille Doty
June 8, 2011 at 1:08 a.m.

Pianist Michelle Schumann plays a selection from Bach's "Fantasia in F sharp minor" at the noon free concert at the First Methodist Church.

Rose Brysch is an inquisitive 7-year-old learning to dabble in the arts.

On Wednesday, she went to the Victoria Bach Festival's Fantasies and Almost Fantasies concert.

She said Michelle Schumann's piano melodies inspired her to learn how to play .

"I liked it," Rose said. "I just liked it all."

Her fingers have stroked the ivory piano keys at her grandmother's house.

"I tried to play 'Jingle Bells,'" she chuckled.

But, she admitted she had a lot to learn. Her mother, Brenda Brysch, encouraged her to keep trying because she is still in the learning stages.

The mother-daughter duo plan to attend other concerts throughout the week.

"I want her to listen to something that's not on the radio. It's a different musical outlet," Brysch said.

She also said that music will help Rose learn to express herself.

The Brysch family and other music lovers were fully captivated by Schumann in the First United Methodist Church sanctuary. The audience was silent, and all eyes were on the acclaimed piano player.

Schumann played three pieces consecutively by composers Bach, Corigliano and Mozart. The musical artist said she becomes enchanted in each song because she plays a visual soundtrack in her mind. The Austin-based musician said her method keeps her in the present and involved.

"I try not to play the music, I try to be the music," she said.

Fazil Say's piece, "Black Earth," helped her to grieve after her father's death, Schumann said.

"I felt kind of empty. The more I (played), the more I started to feel full. Then I felt alive," she said.

She didn't give herself a deadline to learn that piece and described her therapeutic process as gradual.

The audience embraced her candor and talent, giving her a standing ovation.

Rose, the Nazareth Academy student, met her musical inspiration after the concert. Schumann greeted her and said, "Ah, a budding pianist. You look so excited."

They talked briefly about taking lessons and sticking with it. And Rose's desire for music visibly began to bloom.



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