He may be an internationally acclaimed pianist, but Jason Paul Peterson hasn’t forgotten his roots.
Peterson, who recently returned to his native Wisconsin from his current home in Switzerland, will be taking to the Zona Gale Stage at the Portage Center for the Arts (PCA) as a featured performer in the center’s 2022-23 Performing Arts Concert Series on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
In his own words, Peterson’s upcoming program features a “very ambitious and virtuosic” lineup of songs, from Bethoven’s Waldstein sonata to the works of Domenico Scarlatti and Frederic Chopin.
“I’m delighted to be performing back here once again,” said Peterson.
Peterson’s career thus far has brought him five recorded albums, multiple performances at Carnegie Hall, the Chicago Cultural Center and the Kennedy Center, recitals at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Mosel Musikfestival in Germany, the Engadin Festival in Switzerland, the Petit Palais in Paris, the Dame Myra Hess series in Chicago, as well as performances in, Italy, Spain, Greece, Slovenia, Mexico, China, Taiwan and Singapore.
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His performance in Portage, though, is something equally as important to him as the larger venues he’s played to.
“Portage has always been a community that was very good to me from my very early days starting out as a professional pianist,” he said. “It’s great also to be able to bring this music to a community that maybe doesn’t have, so often, the opportunity to hear this great classical music. Of course you can get in in Madison or Milwaukee, but I think classical concerts of this sort are sort of rare in Portage.”
Before he started his professional career, performing at the Portage United Methodist Church and other local venues, he was a kid begging his parents to sign him up for piano lessons. When he was 5 years old, they finally gave in, and from there, it was “really love at first sight.”
“It’s always been a big part of my life, it’s like eating and breathing for me,” he said. “There was never really a point in time where I stopped.”
In his teenage years, he earned grants from the Chopin Foundation of the United States for four consecutive years. He went on to win multiple awards for his playing, as well as studying at the Hochschule für Musik in Weimar, Germany on a Fulbright scholarship while completing his doctoral dissertation on the piano music of Georgy Enescu at the Peabody Conservatory. In addition, he holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, as well as a Master of Music degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
Tickets to this Saturday’s performance are available in-person at the PCA, or on the website, portagecenterforthearts.com.