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Concert pianist William Westney will perform Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. Courtesy | William Westney

To be a concert pianist, uni­versity pro­fessor, author, researcher, studio teacher, and keynote speaker all at once is not an easy feat.

 But William Westney has checked all of those off his bucket list.

“He’s per­formed all over the world,” said James Holleman, chairman of the music department. “He gets rave reviews from serious cri­tiques. He’s in the top tier of known and trav­eling and per­forming pianists. He’s been every­where and done every­thing, basi­cally.”

As a part of the college’s per­forming artist series, Westney will perform a com­pi­lation of works by Grieg, Chopin, Beethoven, and Gershwin. The recital will take place in Markel Audi­torium on Oct. 31 at 8 p.m.

No one is left out when Westney is on stage. A longtime friend of Westney, Melissa Osmond, pro­fessor of voice, said Westney draws the audience into a unified expe­rience.

“I’ve just sat there going, ‘This is just so beau­tiful.’ He just brings you into what he’s doing,” Osmond said. “I remember when he came to play for the Jackson Sym­phony, and he played an encore, I think it was Brahms. I was just in tears. It was so beau­tiful and so moving.”

Osmond said Westney makes the music sound like “many dif­ferent colors.” 

“He can really make it sing, in a way that a lot of pianists can’t, in my opinion,” she said. 

Holleman added that these pieces are old friends to Westney. 

“You get to a point where you perform certain reper­toire, and certain com­posers, and as you get older with more expe­rience, you just keep having a renewed reper­toire and with the style of the com­poser,” Holleman said. “This isn’t the first time he’s per­formed these pieces, or the first time he’s put this program together. There will be a very deep under­standing of the reper­toire that he presents.”  

 Musi­cians only have one job, Osmond said: to make the audience — and each indi­vidual person feel.

“Music was a part of our being before speech,” she said. “The musical part of our brain developed before our speech developed. It’s sup­posed to be innate in everyone. I mean, not everyone is going to be a musician, but they have music in them and they can be affected by it.” 

Admission to the recital is free, but ticket reser­va­tions are required. Contact boxoffice@hillsdale.edu or call 517 – 607-2848.