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Award-winning pianist to perform at Shenandoah

Simone Dinnerstein will perform
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Simone Dinnerstein, an award-winning, Juilliard-trained concert pianist, will perform at Shenandoah University on Sunday. Courtesy photo

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Simone Dinnerstein recently released the CD “Bach: A Strange Beauty,” and will perform Bach, Beethoven and Schumann on Sunday. Courtesy photo

By Sally Voth-svoth@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER - Juilliard-trained and award-winning concert pianist performing at Shenandoah University's Armstrong Concert Hall on Sunday is used to a captive audience.

Simone Dinnerstein, who released "Bach: A Strange Beauty" in January, has twice played for prisoners. She played at a Louisiana state prison through the Piatigorsky Foundation, which brings classical music to unexpected places, and at a Maryland women's prison through the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, according to her website, www.simonedinnerstein.com.

"The women's prison was pretty amazing," Dinnerstein said in phone interview Monday as she awaited a flight on her way to performances in Mexico City. "They were a really attentive and warm audience, and very appreciative, and they had a very emotional response to the music."

Her performance Sunday is part of the Shenandoah Conservatory Performances The World of the Piano Series. It was organized by the Adams Foundation, Dinnerstein said.

"They present piano recitals around the United States," she said. "I think I'm doing a really beautiful program that has music by some great composers -- Bach, Beethoven and Schumann, and I think you can't do anything better on an afternoon than hearing great music."

"We feel very fortunate to present a rising star of Simone Dinnerstein's caliber on The World of the Piano concert series," Karen Walkers, associate dean of Shenandoah Conservatory, said in an e-mail.

According to her website, Dinnerstein "gained an international following because of the remarkable success of her recording of Bach's 'Goldberg Variations,' which she raised the funds to record before she had a record label or management." She now has an exclusive agreement with Sony.

Dinnerstein has performed all over the world, but also gives concerts close to her Brooklyn home. She started Neighborhood Classics in New York's public schools, her website says.

"The concerts, which feature musicians Ms. Dinnerstein has admired and collaborated with during her career, raise funds for the schools' Parent Teacher Associations," it says. "The musicians performing donate their time and talent to the program."

She started the concert series at her son's elementary school, which is also where her husband teaches.

Shenandoah Conservatory managing director Kendra Whitlock Ingram is already a fan.
"I've heard Simone play before," she said. "I used to be with the Baltimore Symphony. She performed when I was there, and I just bought her CD, which I love."

Ingram said the CD will be for sale at the concert and Dinnerstein will do a question and answer session and signing after the show. She'll also take the time to meet with piano majors at the school.

Tickets for the 3 p.m. concert are $18 for adults, $10 for students and $16 for seniors. Call 665-4569, or go to www.conservatoryperforms.org.

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