The cold, rainy Saturday that we experienced just as spring was beginning to grow left many of us disappointed with the mood that the weather brought that day. Even so, I was lucky enough to attend a performance by Lisa Hilton at the Kerrytown Concert House that day, an event that warmed my spirits as it sheltered us from the cold outdoors. As expected, a large proportion of the people who attended this event were older and only a few of us were younger adults. However, I came to realize how much this disparity didn’t matter because of how Lisa Hilton was able to connect to us with music that was universal.
As the show began, the back half of the concert house was almost completely full. The lights in the main room dimmed and the lights projecting onto the stage became more bright in contrast. Lisa Hilton walked onto the stage as we applauded her entrance and she stood by her piano to give an introduction. While she normally brought along a few bandmates to play the drums and the bass during her performances, she stood up there alone with only her Steinway piano that day. From this, I immediately felt excited about how intimate and stripped down this performance would be because I felt that we would be able to see into her personality the most with a solo performance
During her conversations with the audience, Lisa Hilton spoke very politely and gave her commentaries in an organized manner. In other words, she was able to articulate the exact motives behind each of her pieces very well and I believe this helped us recognize the importance of the messages of each piece. In the minutes during which she would play, you could tell that she was passionate about her performance and her compositions. She would sway on the piano bench, look up at the ceiling and back down at her hands, and look to smile at the audience while playing her pieces. As I noticed this, I thought about just how many hours she had dedicated to this moment: to be able to play a full-length piece that she wrote and to perform this piece without making mistakes undoubtedly took numerous hours of the majority of the days in a year to master. With this, I develop a large appreciation for musicians like her who dedicate so much of their time to perfect their craft.
In terms of the style of her compositions, I was very pleased to hear something unique yet simple. During one of her commentaries, she explained to the audience that she wanted to be able to inject emotion into her pieces; she could do so much to master an exceptionally difficult classical piece but even that may not be able to truly convey her feelings, and so she took to writing from the heart in every circumstance. As she demonstrated her mastery of the technical aspects of the piano, she made evident throughout her performance her mastery of musicianship, creating a modern style with abstract melodies and filling these melodies with jazz-like rhythms.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the caliber and soul of Lisa Hilton’s performance. She was able to convey her emotions through her pieces by using a unique style with universal moods. After attending this performance, I left the venue glad that I was able to de-stress with an event showcasing the impressive and beautiful work on the piano.