I have known of Gavin George for a while, I have heard his teacher Mary Craig Powell talk about him; I have listened to his recording on YouTube. I knew he was a very special boy, who loved piano and music, who loved to practice and, who not only had the technical facility to tackle difficult pieces, but had the heart and intelligence to play them with the maturity and sensitivity that was simply stunning for someone so young.
When the term “child prodigy” is so overused these days, with the “prodigies” sprouting on YouTube every few days, it seems, it is a little trivial to use this term to describe Gavin. However, he is a true child prodigy, in the best, “old fashioned” sense of the word. He is, at the precious age of 9 (Gavin celebrated his 9th birthday right around conference time!) completely dedicated to his art; his passion and understanding of music was apparent not only in his performances of Concerto and Chopin’s Fantasy Impromptu at the Kaleidoscope Concert, but also during the Masterclass with Ann Schein where he had a chance to talk with her about the music he was playing.
While I knew his playing from YouTube and I knew about him from his teacher, I was completely unprepared to meet him and listen to him in person. I encountered sunny, dimpled-smiling, polite boy who gave hugs just as easily as he did smiles. A regular, happy 9 year old kid who once seated at the piano transformed into a mature, grown up pianist. His performance of the Third Beethoven Piano Concerto was simply stunning. It reminded me again of “old-masters”, with very subtle pedaling, a deep, warm tone, long singing phrases, and impeccable technique. At the risk of being thought of as sentimental I have to admit that I started crying somewhere around the development section and did not stop until the last chords. The joy on Gavin’s face when he was done, the tears that sprung to his eyes as he was taking numerous bows, all told about the unbridled joy of playing. The many congratulations should go to his incredible teacher, Mary Craig Powell, and his parents Mary and Eric George. Also to Marilyn Kesler and the Conference Orchestra for tackling this wonderful orchestral arrangement done in 1885 by Vinz Lachner without the actual score! The orchestra sounded amazing! Who needs horns if we can have those amazing bases!