The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) recommences its 2019-2020 Benny C. Morgan Concert Series Saturday, Oct. 10 at 3 p.m. with a free virtual broadcast of American pianist Thomas Pandolfi. Maestro Pandolfi is recording a repertoire ranging from piano classics of Frederic Chopin to medleys of Broadway and popular songs of American composers Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin specifically for this series that will air on CSMDTube.
“We are excited to present CSM’s first ever virtual music recital as part of the Benny C. Morgan Concert Series,” said Acting Associate Dean of Liberal Arts and Chair of Visual and Performing Arts Dr. Stephen Johnson. “It is fitting that our first guest performer in an online medium is Thomas Pandolfi. Maestro Pandolfi has performed in CSM’s Ward Virts Concert Series twice before in the last eight years—second only to inaugural guest performer Brian Ganz in number of performances.
“During these pandemic times, the performing arts have had to find innovative ways to provide the entertainment that the public wants,” Johnson continued. “Mr. Pandolfi joins both professional and amateur musicians who have tackled the platform of virtual performances with great success. He will be presenting his CSM performance in the informal setting of his own living room; we are thrilled to have him kick off our year of virtual performances in music!”
American pianist Pandolfi is widely considered to be an exciting virtuoso who, with each passing season, is becoming more and more sought after by audiences worldwide, and showered with superlatives by critics for his passionate artistry and amazing technique.
Pandolfi began his music career early on at The Juilliard School where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degree and where the young prodigy caught the influential ears of Vladimir Horowitz, who would become his mentor, along with legendary composer, Morton Gould. Since then he has been an audience favorite, selling out the world’s most prestigious stages, including Lincoln Center Alice Tully Hall, Strathmore, The Kennedy Center, Kiev Opera House, Bucharest’s Romanian Athenaeum, London’s Cadogan Hall, and many others. In addition to being hailed as one of the greatest interpreters of Polish masters such as Chopin and Paderewski, this versatile pianist has received accolades from everything from Bach to Gershwin, with Morton Gould saying, “It’s the finest performance of Gershwin I have heard since the composer himself.”
His original and virtuosic transcriptions of works such as West Side Story and Phantom of the Opera, are one-of-a-kind, jaw-dropping, and dramatic encores that keep audiences of all ages returning to his performances again and again. Pandolfi is a Steinway artist and when he is not on tour, resides in Washington, D.C., and is the proud father of a wonderful son and daughter.
Benny C. Morgan was a beloved music educator in St. Mary’s County schools for 30 years and served as organist and choir director in several area churches. In January 2016, Morgan donated his prized Steinway grand piano to the CSM’s Leonardtown Campus. Sadly, Morgan passed away several weeks later, however, with the knowledge that his generosity will add to the musical culture of CSM’s students as well as the Southern Maryland community for years to come. The Benny C. Morgan Recital Series was instituted in 2016 in his memory.
The Benny C. Morgan Series is presented by sponsors Johnny Alvey and the CSM Foundation. The series is also supported by the St. Mary’s County Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Council.