Dedicatory Piano Recital

Saturday, November 11, 2017

8:00 PM

First Congregational Church Sanctuary

Join us for the dedicatory piano recital for our beautiful new Estonia piano.  Shaun Tirrell will present a program of Chopin, Debussy, Liszt, Gershwin and others, showcasing the spectacular sound of our new Estonia in its home setting.

“A brilliant mind with a true gift for engaging people from all walks of life. A force of nature with a truly visionary narrative as to why classical music is needed in society today.  He is infectious.”   Peter Shannon, Artistic Director and conductor of The Savannah Philharmonic and The Jackson Symphony Orchestra

A “Hurricane at the Piano. The pianist placed the standards very high, and played like a music machine coded in virtuosity.”   The Bayreuth Newspaper

 “The American pianist thundered through the Liszt with great style and stunning virtuosity.”  Irish Times

 “The pianist performed with deft finger work that mirrored the eloquence and power of his speech throughout the program.”    Savannah Morning News

“His playing was amazing and he spoke with passion and conviction. Stunning!!  The standing ovation was enormous.”  Ray Steele, Blog of Steele

Shaun Tirrell earned his Bachelor of Music degree at Oberlin Conservatory, studying under Joseph Schwartz and receiving the John Elvin Prize. Further studies under Julian Martin at Peabody Conservatory lead to a Master’s of Music degree and acceptance into the prestigious Artist’s Diploma program. Mr. Tirrell is also the founder and co-owner of Piano Craft, a company specializing in sales and restoration of high-end grand pianos.   

In recent seasons Mr. Tirrell has appeared as soloist with a number of orchestras including: Concert Artists of Baltimore, Washington Soloists, Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic and The Savannah Philharmonic.  In Savannah, over a period of a few years, he performed George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F, Tchaikovsky’s magnificent Concerto No.1 in B-flat minor, and Liszt’s Totentanz.  Mr. Tirrell’s upcoming solo engagements include stops in Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., Ohio, and Pennsylvania culminating with a recital at the 2018 Bayreuth Festival in Germany.

As an inspirational speaker, Mr. Tirrell has been called a “force of nature with a truly visionary narrative.” His talks on imagination, creativity, truth, gravitational waves, Einstein and Beethoven have left his audiences spellbound and energized. At a recent talk at the Riviera Theatre in Charlestown SC, Ambassador Doug Holladay, founder and CEO of Path North, commented that Shaun Tirrell “took us on a fantastic journey into the mental constructs of Salk, Picasso, Einstein, Beethoven etc., all the while using great music and virtuoso playing to tap the creative forces of the universe, truly amazing.”   His upcoming talks in the Fall of 2017 include visits to Pinehurst, North Carolina; Watertown, Connecticut; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Washington D.C.

November 11 Program (tentative)

Mazurka Op. 17, No. 4                                            Frederic Chopin

Minuet in G                                                         Ignace Paderewski

Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir           Claude Debussy

Funerailles                                                                     Franz Liszt



Preludes for Piano                                                 George Gershwin

  1. Allegro Ben Ritmato E Deciso
  2. Andante Con Moto E Poco Rubato
  3. Allegro Ben Ritmato E deciso

Vallee d’Obermann                                                          Franz Liszt


A New Piano for First Church

After two years of meetings with consultants, members of the congregation, members of the Worship Commission, and finally the First Church Counsel, the project to replace the 6’2″ Yamaha sanctuary piano has resulted in the purchase of a new 7′ 4″ handcrafted Estonia grand piano.  The new instrument, purchased from Piano Craft Workshop in Gaithersburg, was delivered on Friday, August 11 and has now acclimated itself to its new home.  After a month, the piano was voiced for the room and tuned for regular use.

Funds for the purchase of the new piano were drawn from existing monies originally collected for furnishings in First Church’s new sanctuary.  The 6′ 2″ Yamaha which served First church for over 30 years is now being refurbished by the Piano Craft Workshop where it will eventually be sold.  Revenue from that sale will be used to restore money to the original fund.

The purchase and delivery of the new piano was timed to make possible its dedication during worship on Homecoming Sunday, September 10.  Music during that service will center on fall worship themes and include two guest artists, Brad Clark, a well-known Washington concert pianist and accompanist, and Stella Dillorio (age 8) a budding prodigy presently studying at the Levine School of Music in Washington, DC.  Additional music on Homecoming Sunday will be offered by the First Church Choir.

My thanks to all those who assisted in the new piano project, with special recognition to Byron Adams, First Church member and building manager, for his ongoing help in keeping this project on track and making sure that the sanctuary was accessible when necessary.  Byron is well known for asking the practical questions required in such a venture (we “creative people” often tend to go off into the weeds and need help to stay in touch with reality). 

Please feel free to come forward after worship and view our new piano.  I couldn’t be happier with how this project worked out − a beautiful instrument for a beautiful space.  Also, don’t forget to put September 10, Homecoming Sunday, on your worship calendar.  It’s going to be a great Sunday kickoff to an amazing fall season at First Church.

John Horman, Director of Music