Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

The Fortuna Concert Series will present Frank Wiens on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 7:30 p.m. at the Fortuna Monday Club located at 610 Main St.

Wiens, a classical pianist, will be focusing his performance on the solo piano music of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, who he has studied over the past year.

”I became interested in music growing up in a household where my older brother and sister were already taking piano lessons,” Wiens said. “It was discovered around age 4 that I had perfect pitch, and I started imitating their pieces by ear in the next three years. Finally, I was started in lessons at age 7, which makes a grand total of 58 years.”

To better prepare himself to perform the works, Wiens engaged in intensive research into the composer's life and work, visiting Grieg's hometown of Bergen and his estate at Troldhaugen.

”The Grieg project was a sabbatical endeavor for me,” Wiens said. “I have engaged in several composer-specific projects over the years: Prokofiev, Copland, and Chopin, to name three others.”

”The Grieg project actually began less as interest in his music than interest in going to Norway, which has always seemed beautiful to me in pictures and stories I had heard of the fjords,” he continued. “However, after I really became familiar with the composer's music, I developed a real love for it.


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I listened not only to his piano music but to his violin sonatas, string quartets, songs and choral works, as well as works for orchestra, and have found most of it beautiful melodically and full of charm.”

The extensive research led Wiens to perform the Grieg Piano Concerto in January in Stockton. Additionally, Wiens has performed a series of recitals and lectures on the music of Grieg in Michigan, New York, and much of Northern California.

Wiens will be presenting a broad cross-section of Grieg's work, including well-known and rare pieces, to provide a well-balanced evening of music.

”I think the audience will hear some unfamiliar works of Grieg as well as some with which they are very familiar,” he said. “Some works audience members may have studied and played themselves in their early years of piano study and a few works, such as the Holberg Suite, may be more familiar from Grieg's orchestrated version.”

”I am looking forward to visiting Fortuna,” Wiens said. “I have performed close by many, many times, initially in Eureka and for quite a few years in Yuletide recitals at the Benbow Inn in Garberville.”

Doors open at 6:45 p.m. and admission is $10 for general and $8 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the door or visit the Fortuna Concert Series website at www.fortunaconcertseries.com, call 682-6092, or email fortunaconcert@live.com.