Paul Williamson recently won his second national piano competition and plays two concerts in Abbotsford.

Paul Williamson recently won his second national piano competition and plays two concerts in Abbotsford.

Local pianist wins national competition

Paul Williamson of Mission plays two concerts in Abbotsford

A Mission pianist who recently won his second national piano competition is featured at two upcoming concerts in Abbotsford.

Paul Williamson, 21, placed first in Baltimore at the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Association on March 21.

He also won best performance of a Canadian composition, best performance of a Chopin composition and best reading of Baroque music.

“It was a really positive experience,” he said. “I’ve had a little bit of experience competing now. It was a little easier knowing what to expect and what the schedule was going to look like.”

He said he made sure he was well prepared before heading to Baltimore so he could relax and enjoy the experience.

The University of Manitoba student has a long list of accomplishments in his short career, but counts the experience in Baltimore as one of his greatest yet. He also described it as an awesome opportunity to meet and network with other pianists and people in the industry.

“I got to talk with some people afterwards, made some good connections,” he said.

Now, he has his eyes sight on even greater heights: completing his master’s degree at an Ivy League school such as Yale or the Juilliard School in Manhattan.

He will be returning to Mission this month, and will play two concerts in Abbotsford. He’s hoping it will be a positive homecoming as he plays in front of family and friends.

“It’ll be really great to come back home and play for everyone and see people I haven’t seen for a while.”

The first concert takes place Friday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium (32315 South Fraser Way) as part of the Valley Concert Society’s 2017 series.

Williamson will play two Beethoven sonatas in the first half, including Appassionata, considered one of the master’s greatest and most technically challenging pieces.

After the intermission, he will open with the music of the French impressionist Claude Debussy. The evening will close with a sonata from another giant of the keyboard, Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Tickets and more information are available online at valleyconcertsociety.com. Cost is $28 general or $15 for students.

Williamson then plays a concert for the Fraser Valley Symphony on Sunday, June 11 at 3 p.m., also at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium. Visit fraservalleysymphony.org for ticket information.