Letter: Quinnett wows at Keppel Auditorium

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 28, 2021

On Friday evening, Oct. 21, Salisbury attendees were treated to an incredible performance by an amazing pianist Dr. Lawrence Quinnett at Catawba’s Keppel Auditorium fundraiser for our Salisbury Symphony. Many things stood out to make this an outstanding event and kudos to Dr. Quinnett, event sponsors and the Symphony team who put this together. This limited-access event (about 45 attendees) included a box of appetizers for nibbling, beer and wine from New Sarum and the Salisbury Wine Shop, a wonderful social hour and the musicianship of a local and very talented performer. Dr. Quinnett is an Associate Professor at Livingstone College, and earned his doctorate from Florida State.

The event included many piano pieces, ranging from two movements of a Beethoven sonata, Chopin etudes, Bach inventions and three absolutely wild and crazy Chopin adaptations from Leopold Godowsky for only the left hand plus one for only the piano’s black keys. Both last century’s Godowsky and this century’s Quinnett have left-hand-only abilities far exceeding that of mere mortals pulling off these technically very difficult works.

Quinnett brought a calm, capable, yet passionate tenor to these assorted works, but amped things up considerably as needed for several passages in the Beethoven and other selections, demonstrating a wide range of expression and feeling. It was a joy to witness such talent in a small stunningly spellbound group totally taken in by the performance. And two very special people were in the audience: Livingstone’s President, Dr. Jimmy Jenkins, and one of Quinnett’s young piano students as well as his family. In conversations with each, both talked appreciatively about Quinnett’s performance, excellence as a teacher, and his inspirational demeanor as a person.

For those who missed this opportunity to see, hear and thoroughly enjoy an evening of superb live musicianship, you will have another chance at our Symphony’s Beethoven concert in November, where Dr. Quinnett will be prominently featured in a more traditional full-orchestra setting. This will not have the intimacy of his extraordinary one-man show, but he will share yet another facet of this talented man.

— John and Pam Schaffer