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Orrett Rhoden to launch Int'l Music Festival in November

Published:Monday | September 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM
File Orrett Rhoden in performance
Contributed Orrett Rhoden (left) and Roy Black in studio.
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Roy Black, Contributor

Acclaimed Jamaican concert pianist and artistic director, Orrett Rhoden, is set to launch his third annual Rhoden International Musical Festival in November, which will run for one week in each month until February 2015.

Rhoden, who has earned for himself a national honour from the Government (Commander of the Order of Distinction), has established himself as a giant in the classical music field for several years. He has made some giant strides over the years, having played at Carnegie Hall and the Barbican Centre in London with the London Symphony Orchestra.

He has also played for, and was interviewed twice by the late Joan Rivers in Hollywood. Receiving a special invitation to perform at the birthplace of another noted composer - Frederick Chopan, in Poland, was particularly dear to him. All these performances have earned him rave reviews.

Rhoden has so far done five albums, the last of which, titled, Orrett Rhoden Plays, was hailed by the veteran English music critic, Bill Newman, as "one of the finest on disc". Arthur Rubinstein, one of the finest performers of Chopin's works, after hearing Rhoden at his home in Paris, said "Some pianists are not musicians and some musicians are not pianists, but you young man are both".

eager to share

Rhoden is eager to share his music with the public, and to prove that classical music is just as beautiful, entertaining and absorbing as the more popular forms that people are generally accustomed to. He has identified a most appropriate vehicle in the popular radio programme, The Saturday Night Alternative, hosted by Roy Black, and aired each Saturday at 6:30 p.m., until midnight on KLAS-ESPN Sports FM89.

It was by a stroke of luck that Rhoden came across the programme. "I was just flipping my radio dial one Saturday night and heard some music (Mario Lanza and other stuff) that I was most impressed with, and thought it was something I would want to be associated with, so I immediately called the station", Rhoden said. Pending further arrangements Rhoden should be on with Mr Black in a sponsored half hour (11:30 p.m. until midnight), not only to talk about and play his classics, but to also share his innovative ideas about his upcoming festival and the state of music in Jamaica, inputting his suggestions on how it can be improved.

According to Rhoden, the main objective of the festival, is to bring classical music to life in the modern day era, and to show its relevance in today's world. The festival, however, is not merely about classical music, neither is the radio programme, as they will also cover other genres. The last festival had a multitude of viewers worldwide, featuring artistes like Stephen 'Cat' Coore and The Deoro group from New York.