FOLSOM — Harris Center at Folsom Lake College welcomes the legendary Peter Nero to Stage One for two separate programs over two nights with bassist Michael Barnett. Hailed as one of the premier interpreters of Gershwin, Nero will perform The Gershwin Project and Classic Connections, an evening dedicated to showing how jazz and classical standards are more closely related than people might think.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the birth of Nero’s recording career. In addition to two Grammy Awards, he has garnered 10 additional nominations and released 68 albums. His latest CDs are romantic albums titled “Love Songs for a Rainy Day” and “More in Love.” By popular demand, four of his earlier vinyl recordings have been re-issued on CD. Music lovers of all generations can now hear him on Rod Stewart’s album “As Time Goes By … The Great American Songbook, Volume II.”
Born in Brooklyn, Nero began his formal music training at the age of 7. By the time he was 14, he was accepted to New York City’s prestigious High School of Music and Art and won a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music. Constance Keene, his teacher and mentor, once wrote in an issue of Keyboard Classics that “Vladimir Horowitz was Peter’s greatest fan!”
Nero’s first major national TV success came at age 17 when he was chosen to perform “Rhapsody in Blue” on Paul Whiteman’s TV special. He subsequently appeared on many top variety and talk shows, including 11 guest appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and numerous appearances on “The Tonight Show” starring Johnny Carson. Nero starred in the Emmy Award-winning NBC Special “S’Wonderful, S’Marvelous, S’Gershwin.” Other TV credits include performances on PBS-TV’s “Piano Pizzazz “and with the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., on its July 4th special titled A Capitol Fourth. He served as music director and pianist for the PBS-TV special “The Songs of Johnny Mercer: Too Marvelous for Words” with co-stars Johnny Mathis, Melissa Manchester and the Philly Pops.
As a Steinway artist for close to 50 years, Nero returned to New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2003 to perform at a gala celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Steinway with many noted pianists, including Dr. Billy Taylor, Herbie Hancock and Michel Legrand. In January, 2007, Nero joined Rod Stewart from the piano for a performance of “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” at the Academy of Music 150th Anniversary Concert.
One of Nero’s greatest achievements is being the founding music director of the world renowned Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, an orchestral ensemble that blends classical, swing, Broadway, blues and jazz — all performed with virtuosity, authenticity, and an inviting sense of humor.
Peter Nero’s performance of The Gershwin Project will take place at Harris Center at &;30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013; he will perform Classic Connections at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Tickets $29 and $39 with premium seats available for $49. Tickets are available online at harriscenter.net or from Harris Center ticket office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Parking is included in the price of the ticket. Harris Center is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, facing East Bidwell Street. Both performances are sponsored by Capital Public Radio.