Pamela Ross pays tribute to her father
To paint the truest picture of her late father, classical pianist Pamela Ross surrounds herself with his paintings, his dental instruments and, of course, his music.
In her one-woman play, "goodbye, harry," Ross invokes his spirit as well, "smashing' herself into the work with the same passion her father possessed.
In giving herself to the music of Chopin and Rachmaninoff, Gershwin and Sondheim, she lifts the audience with a loving portrait of a rare man.
She shared her memories Friday night to a full house in the Fulton's new fourth floor Studio Theatre, combining wry wit with a magnificent mix of music.
Set in Harry Ross' New York apartment on summer evening, Ross invites the audience to experience the music she grew up with, the music her father loved.
She deftly combines popular and classical pieces, blending boogiewoogie with Debussy, just as he did.
The reminiscing is more autobiographical than a biography of Harry Ross, as she reveals how her father shaped her life.
Although she may have eclipsed her father's talent technically while she was still a child by learning how to hit the right notes, she still reaches out for him in an attempt to embrace his passion.
She repeats her father's adage like a mantra! "Better to play one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep."
As king of the jungle, Ross roars.
Her interpretations of Frederic Chopin and Sergei Rachmaninoff were simply stunning Friday night as she threw her whole body into the demanding pieces until the room reverberated. The performance was quite athletic as the intensity of the notes tensed then released each muscle in her slight frame.
She simply couldn't sit still.
Launching into the spirited "Kitten on the Keys" by Zez Confrey, Ross explained her enthusiasm by noting this was the first song she ever heard her father play.
Her fierce playing was tempered with shimmering quietness as well.
Most notably, she echoed her father's watercolor painting with her rendition of Debussy's "Clair de Lune." As she played, she painted the moon's reflection across water, clear and bright.