Ryan Chartrand

Pianist W. Terrence Spiller, professor and chair of Cal Poly’s music department, will give a benefit recital on Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Spanos Theatre at Cal Poly.

The piano recital, including works from composers like Beethoven, Schumann, Ravel and Bartok, is an annual event in which proceeds go to the music department and a scholarship fund.

“I’m playing what I love, although I have a certain fondness for Beethoven,” Spiller said, which is evident in the numerous works chosen from one of the most prominent figures in Western classical music.

The show will begin with “Rondo a Capriccio” in G major, (“Rage Over a Lost Penny”) by Beethoven and others like “Bagatelle” in A minor, (“Fur Elise”) and a Sonata in C major.

With the entire first half of the performance dedicated to one artist, Spiller mentioned that the advantage of being a professor, as opposed to a student, is that he gets to play whatever he wants.

“I’m also doing some others pieces in the second half that I’ve always wanted to do,” he added. These include Robert Schumann’s “Papillons” (“Butterflies”), Ravel’s “Pavanne Pour Une Infante Defunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) and Bartok’s “Sonate.”

Spiller, who normally does one performance a year, has been hosting and playing in this benefit concert for the past 15 years.

While the preparation is done mostly by Spiller, himself, his wife has been helpful and supportive. Even Spiller’s dog, Franny, has proven to be useful.

Spiller mentioned that when practicing, the noisy distractions Franny makes actually help him on stage.

“We deal so much with the nuances of sounds that you need something to help you not get distracted,” he said. “Our dog has proved the best concentration coach possible.”

Other behind-the-scenes help came from Michele Abba, the administrative support assistant for the music department.

“It’s always a benefit for the music department,” Abba said in reference to the show that Spiller performs annually. Abba has been involved with the printing and publishing of programs and fliers for the concert.

With 45 years of experience, Spiller has earned degrees in piano performance from the University of Washington, Indiana University and the University of Southern California. He has also performed across the country as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and accompanist.

The benefit recital is sponsored by the music department and the College of Liberal Arts. Tickets to the recital are $6 for students and senior citizens, and $10 for the public. The Performing Arts Ticket Office, where tickets may be purchased, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, and additionally on the day of the performance beginning one hour before curtain. To order by phone, call SLO-ARTS (756-2787).

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