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Harsha Abeyaratne performs benefit piano concert in Sri Lanka

ABEYARATNEMuskingum University Associate Professor of Music Harsha Abeyaratne earned critical praise for a benefit concert he performed in his native Sri Lanka this summer.

The performance took place in July at the Lionel Wendt Theatre in Colombo and proceeds benefitted Project Joy, an effort to establish a children’s epilepsy unit at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital in Colombo.  The brainchild of Dr. Sandy Warran, a pediatric neurologist in New Jersey, the unit would be unique in its ability to provide early diagnosis and intervention for very young children with symptoms of epilepsy.  Abeyaratne has a close connection to Lady Ridgeway, since his grandfather was the hospital’s first superintendent. 

Abeyaratne’s performance, titled, The Liszt Connection, included pieces by Chopin, Albeniz, Rachmaninoff and Liszt and was warmly-received by critics. 

In its review, The Island said, “This was a compelling performance, with the soloist giving a cogent demonstration of how to blend technical mastery with refined artistic expression. Abeyaratne’s calling card is his virtuoso pianism enriched by superior interpretive skills. He is able to express his inborn musicality in its purest from when he plays Liszt and Rachmaninoff.”

Life Online praised his performance with, “Classical music lovers were indeed spoilt to the hilt by Mr. Abeyaratne’s masterful capture of the famous works of Liszt, Mozart, Brahms, Schumann, Chopin and the ever-impressive Rachmaninoff's Prelude in D Major. We walked in step to the feel and mood of the music with just the notes played by Harsha, conveying to us the emotional scene on hand.”

The performance in Sri Lanka is not Abeyaratne’s only effort to help the hospital.  Previously, he collaborated with other musicians on a benefit concert in New Jersey that raised $170,000 for Project Joy. 

A member of the Muskingum University faculty since 2003, Abeyaratne's performances include solo concerts at the prestigious Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall in New York and the Gansu Grand Theater in Lanzhou, China.  He has also collaborated with world renown artists Rebecca Rischin, Randy Sabein and George Wolfe and has also been a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka, the Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds and the Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra (SEOSO).  On October 18 he will appear as a soloist with SEOSO to perform Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto.