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Pianist uses her head for composition at Bach Festival

By Bianca Montes
June 5, 2013 at 1:05 a.m.
Updated June 6, 2013 at 1:06 a.m.

Pianist Faith DeBow performs at the Victoria Bach Festival's Beethoven and Beyond concert Wednesday at First United Methodist Church. DeBow is the festival's new young artist coordinator as well as a performer. She played a variety of pieces, including a sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven and a transcription of a Radiohead song.

Faith DeBow has a nose for music. The pianist used it to sniff out a difficult composition Wednesday at the Victoria Bach Festival.

"Some composers wish they had three hands," she joked during her noon performance at First United Methodist Church in Victoria. "This song comes up with a quite unique solution."

DeBow performed "Schnozzage," a composition by David Rakowski that requires the musician to hit notes on the far left, right and center of the piano simultaneously. DeBow used her nose to tackle the middle.

The performance had 7-year-old Inara Ballard laughing.

Inara, whose favorite instrument is the piano, said she had never seen anyone use their nose to play it before.

"It was funny," she said.

DeBow said she enjoys mixing contemporary forms of music with classical because it appeals to everyone.

"The heart of the performance is combining the old and new," she said. "But, the audience still feels the depth of emotion in the music."

DeBow's performance included the classical works of artists such as Ludwig van Beethoven and John Corigliano and ended with a transcription of "You" by English rock band Radiohead.

"That blew me away," said Gloria Ballard, of Victoria. "I think it's a great way to expose younger generations to classical music."

Ballard said she and her daughter discovered Bach Festival last year and plan on attending every event this year.

As for her favorite part, Inara said she enjoyed it all.

Lisa DeVries, of Victoria, said she hates to sound young and cliche, but Radiohead was her favorite part.

"I think Radiohead makes for really great classical music."

Unfortunately, DeVries did not care for DeBow's nose performance.

"I saw the name, and I thought it was going to be fun," she said. "But, it's such a down piece. It's melancholy."

DeBow will perform once more during this year's Bach Festival. She will join the Victoria Bach Festival Chamber Music Artists on Thursday for Under the Influence at Leo J. Welder Center. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range in price from $20 to $30 and are available online at victoriabachfestival.org.

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