Do Savannah • By Linda Sickler
Henry Kramer started playing piano when he was 11, after he discovered he could play his favorite songs by ear.
His mother put him into lessons, and today he is a concert pianist who has won several international prizes. Kramer will be the guest artist at the 2014 Joseph Pramberger Memorial Piano Concert on Aug. 8 at Messiah Lutheran Church on Skidaway Island, where he will perform works by Bach, Brahms, Chopin and Schumann.
It helps to come from a musical family, although Kramer is the only professional musician in the family.
“My dad writes his own songs and plays guitar,” says the native of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. “When I was growing up, my grandma always had classical music playing in her house.”
The winner of the eighth National Chopin Competition in 2010, the Montreal International Music Competition in 2011 and the sixth China Shanghai International Piano Competition, Kramer also received the 2014 Harvard Musical Association’s Arthur Foote Award and was a winner of the 2014 Astral Artists National Auditions.
Currently, Kramer is in his final year of doctoral studies at the Yale School of Music, where he recently completed his Artist Diploma and received the Charles S. Miller Prize for most outstanding first-year pianist. Kramer received a master of music degree from Juilliard.
He was quite young when he decided he wanted to be a professional musician.
“When I was 13, I had my first memorable experience being touched by music,” Kramer says. “I saw a live performance of Ravel’s ‘Miroirs’ and was so inspired that I decided I wanted to be able to play pieces like that and perform for people.”
[…] Kramer had the unique opportunity to perform in Havana, Cuba. “It was a great honor to be invited there as a cultural ambassador,” he says. “I was inspired by the way our mutual love for music was able to connect our cultures.
“The people there are wonderful and love art, but it felt like they were cut off from the opportunities people have elsewhere, which was disheartening to see,” Kramer says. “But to be able to go there and see Havana and meet the people was an incredible experience.”
That was just one of many memorable performances.
“For me, it’s never just one moment,” Kramer says. “Every day, I learn something new and am inspired by a piece or a performance or a performer.
“One of my proudest moments was performing Prokofiev’s second piano concerto with the Yale Philharmonia last fall,” he says. “It was really touching how supportive the students at Yale in the orchestra were to me. I really enjoyed making music together.”