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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

50 years ago in Expo history: Weather and other hiccups challenged a German concert pianist, who revealed how a ‘true artist’ always prevails

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

German concert pianist Johannes Fischer overcame a pair of difficulties during his American debut at Expo ’74.

One problem was the weather – windy and cold. He was performing outdoors at Expo’s International Amphitheater, and the wind played havoc with the sheet music.

The second problem was the piano itself. Instead of a concert grand piano, he had an upright piano – “hardly the instrument such an accomplished performer would expect,” the Spokane Chronicle’s music critic wrote.

Fischer, however, had no complaints.

“I can play with frozen hands,” he said. “It’s the spirit involved. A true artist’s feelings can’t wait for a grand piano.”

The critic said his performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 was “thrilling,” and he played with “gentle understated ease.”

The musicians in the accompanying Marylhurst Symphony had to use clothespins to keep the sheet music in place.

In other Expo news, officials revised their attendance projections upward to five million after a stronger-than-expected opening 10 days.

Expo president King Cole said “the incredible history that has been written for this community” would not be forgotten.

Also on this day


1804: Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s expedition commissioned by Thomas Jefferson sets out from St. Louis, Missouri, for the Pacific Ocean.