Pianist with local ties comes back to Ironton

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 23, 2004

Seventeen-year-old piano prodigy Illya Filshtinskiy will tickle the ebony and ivory keys tomorrow when he returns to Ironton to wow a crowd full of friends and family.

Sponsored by the Ironton Council for the

Arts, Filshtinskiy will perform at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Mains Rotunda at Ohio University Southern. Tickets are $7 for adults and $6 for senior citizens and students.

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Filshtinskiy, a native of Kharkov in the Ukraine, said his local ties have always made playing in Ironton special. Step-father David Burwell is an Ironton native. Illya's step-grandmother Carolyn Burwell is a life-long Ironton resident.

"It is a lot of fun coming coming back there and playing for people," Illya said. "Especially when those people enjoy the music you play and classical music."

Carolyn Burwell said the entire family will be coming into town for the concert and that she does not think the public will be disappointed when they see her talented grandson perform again.

"I would say they will be astounded to see him play the piano," she said. "He can make it talk."

David Burwell met Illya's mother, Elena, in 1999 on a visit to the Ukraine. After marrying, she and Illya joined David in America in 2000.

Filshtinskiy has studied piano since he was six. Planning to pursue a professional career as a pianist, he has studied under several esteemed instructors.

In recent years, he has won numerous competitions. He won grand prize in concerto and solo piano at the 46th World Piano Competition earning him the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall and the United Nations in New York in 2002.

A 17-year-old senior at Westerville High School, Filshtinskiy practices six to eight hours a day but still makes time to be a normal teenager and make the honor roll

"I do most of my homework at school," he said. "Then I come home, get some rest, practice, take a short break and maybe do some homework, then I practice again."

"The most rewarding is when you are struggling on something, or can't play a particular piece or a difficult part. When you finally get it, is the most rewarding part," he said. "And of course later when you get to share it with people at concerts."

Filshtinskiy said he thinks his music has appeal for everyone.

"If they do not know much about classical music they should come for sure," he said. "It will be something new. They might like it and can then teach their kids to play music or the piano."