Rising young pianist returns to the Philharmonic

Rising young classical pianist Drew Petersen’s Facebook images initially look like those of nearly any other 20-something.

There he is at the beach, or horseback riding, or lounging with friends.

But others shots show him in the recording studio or at Carnegie Hall, and make no mistake, you must realize that the 27-year-old musician is hardly just like anyone else.

“He’s got the goods (to be great),” said David Bowden, the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic’s artistic director in 2018, just before Petersen performed with the local ensemble for the first time. “You can tell.”

Petersen returns at 7:30 p.m. Saturday to Judson Erne Auditorium, 1400 25th St., to perform Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto with the professional orchestra in its second outing of Bowden’s farewell season. The ensemble will close the evening with Tchaikovsky’s fourth concerto. Masks are required for all attendees.

The New York Times reviewed a Petersen concert, and gushed that he presented “technique to spare during the dazzling episodes, and plumbed the piece for tenderness and lyricism that many pianists gloss over.”

He is the recipient of the 2018 Avery Fisher Career Grant, 2017 American Pianists Award, and the Christel DeHaan Fellow of the American Pianists Association. Besides such talent, he is bright beyond his years, graduating cum laude at Harvard University at age 19.

Perhaps such accomplishments are due to a work ethic that cellist brother Erik Petersen once said borders on workaholism. The former high school competitive swimmer understands disciplined dedication.

According to his promotional materials, Petersen’s belief in the importance of music in contemporary society led to collaborations with Young Audiences NY that presents performances in New York City’s public schools. His appearance in Andrew Solomon’s New York Times bestselling book, “Far From the Tree” sparked a nationwide conversation on raising extraordinary and different children who test the willpower and capabilities of their families and society.