A local pianist is offering a concert in hopes of exposing residents of all ages to classical music as well as to some of Aiken's history.
Robert Gerstenberg is offering his sixth concert at the Aiken County Historical Museum this weekend called “Many Moods of Music.” The repertoire will include pieces by a variety of well-known composers including Beethoven, Chopin and more.
Gerstenberg will teach as he plays, telling the history behind each piece before he performs it.
Gerstenberg's wife, Toni, volunteers at the museum, which the concert will benefit, and is on its board. She feels the concert is a great way to attract people to the Banksia, see the different exhibits and learn what it has to offer.
“The concert helps with the exposure to the beautiful atmosphere in the museum, and it's a way to get people interested in the museum and its many activities,” Toni said.
“It also exposes people to serious classical music,” Gerstenberg said.
Gerstenberg hopes that people who are not too familiar with classical music will come, listen and learn.
He has introduced several friends who were not too familiar with the genre but became immediately hooked after listening to Gerstenberg play.
“It's a way of giving back to the community by sharing his talent,” Toni said.
Music is a large part of Gerstenberg's life. Gerstenberg, originally from New York, moved to Aiken approximately seven years ago. He has been playing the piano for more than 65 years after his father started him on piano lessons.
Gerstenberg graduated from the New York College of Music, part of New York University, with a major in piano and a minor in education. He learned from such prominent pianists as Leslie Hodgson, Jan Gorbaty, Ania Dorfman and Joseph Villa.
Gerstenberg started out as a performer but became a teacher after their two daughters, Mari and Christina, were born. Gerstenberg taught piano for 33 years at the Sachem School District in New York.
Gerstenberg's morning routine even starts with playing the piano as early as 5:30 a.m., said Toni.
They've also held several in-home rehearsals for this concert, in which they invite their friends to sit, listen and discuss the music he plays.
Over the last few years, Gerstenberg has gotten more comfortable playing in front of an audience.
Despite his exceptional talent, he had moments of anxiety before a show, but, once his fingers hit the keys, he felt less nervous.
He's also gained quite a following in Aiken and has always been warmly welcomed by that audience.
The concert will be held on Saturday starting at 3 p.m. in the ballroom of the museum located at 433 Newberry St. S.W.
Admission is $10, and a reception will follow.