World Class Pianist to Perform in Plainview

Paul BarnesPLAINVIEW – Heralded as an “intensely expressive” performer of “cutting edge” programming, pianists Paul Barnes will bring his particular style of keyboard magnificence to Wayland Baptist University’s newly renovated Harral Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 27 as the inaugural performance in the Excelsior Concert Series.

Barnes, a renowned pianist, composer and Greek Orthodox chanter, will perform his recital “Illumination” which is a “contemplative and cathartic program of piano works inspired by the mystical world of chant.” Barnes, who has performed in venues throughout the world, collaborated with operatic composer Philip Glass and Victoria Bond to create piano works based on byzantine and Jewish chant.

Admission to the concert is $25, or $10 for students, and is payable at the door.

Dr. Richard Fountain, professor of piano at Wayland, said the work is a fascinating concept in contemporary classical music.

“He has a lot of pieces that he has either commissioned or written, as well as things that he has arranged or transcribed that all have to do with different kinds of chant,” Fountain said. “He will actually chant as part of the program, not just play the piano. People are really going to be impressed with what they hear.”

Fountain is the driving force behind the Excelsior concert series that aims to bring predominately classical music to Plainview through various styles of performance. The 2021-22 series will feature three concerts. Barnes’ recital will be the first with a piano, violin and cello trio scheduled for January and a Hungarian pianists coming in April. Fountain said the concert series has been several years in planning.

“We tossed around the idea of getting something like this going,” Fountain said. “A couple of years ago, I was having a casual conversation with some people in a professional organization and low and behold, a donation appeared that was sufficient to seed the first season.”

Fountain said the idea was to start the concert series in 2020 but COVID put a damper on the plans. He explained that the concert series name, Excelsior, comes from the desire to keep moving forward, “ever upward, into the future.” Excelsior was also the motto of Franz Liszt, one of Fountain’s favorite composers and a composer to which Barnes has been compared.

For more information about the concert, or to purchase advanced tickets, contact the Wayland School of Creative Arts at 806-291-1076.