Gualdi performs at PAC


Photo by: Morgan Zastawnik

Italian pianist Andre Gualdi kick starts FMU Artist Series at PAC.

The fine arts department kicked off the year’s FMU Artist Series with a performance by Italian pianist Paolo André Gualdi on Sept. 6 at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) in downtown Florence.  

Gualdi has performed around the globe for several music organizations, such as Cadogan Hall in the United Kingdom and the University of Shanghai in China. He has been performing for the Florence community since 2009 and currently serves as a professor of music industry at FMU.  

Gualdi has been performing at the PAC since it first opened in 2011. He has played with the Florence Symphony and created an annual chamber music festival that occurs every February.   

“[The PAC] is my favorite place to perform, and I have played countless times here,” Gualdi said.  

Gualdi started the night’s recital with César Franck’s “Prélude, Fugue, et Variation, OP. 18.” He followed it up with several pieces by Franz Liszt’s “Années de pèlerinage,” with those being the “Canzonetta del Salvator Rosa,” “Sonetto 47 del Petrarca,” “Sonetto 104 del Petrarca” and “Sonetto 123 del Petrarca.” He topped off the performance with three selections from Claude Debussy’s “Images:” “Reflets dans l’eau,” “Hommage à Rameau” and “Mouvement” and then ended with Debussy’s “L’isle joyeuse.”  

The selection granted Gualdi a sense of continuity, such that he could perform as if the music was a singular piece. Despite placing brief gaps between each piece, the tonal connection between songs held.  

“There’s always some sort of connection when I put programs together,” Gualdi said. “I try to tell a story or have some connection between the composers. For example, tonight, it’s an exploration of late-romantic and into the impressionistic period. Usually, what I try to do in a program is enjoy myself so the audience can also enjoy the journey through these songs.”  

While the program was not tied together thematically, it aligned tonally. Gualdi did so without altering the works, as he still played every piece note-for-note as it was written centuries before.  

“This is the traditional classical format,” Gualdi said. “I am playing every single note as they were written a couple hundred years ago. It may sound like an incredibly limiting approach, but if we are still playing and listening to pieces that are two or three hundred years old, there is a reason for it: it’s the reinvention of works. Every night I play, or anybody plays, the same pieces with exactly the same notes, nobody is going to play the same way twice.”  

The PAC has a variety of performances in the fall, starting with Enrico Elisi on Sept. 14. Finishing out the month of September is multi-instrumentalist Daniel Clarke on Wednesday, Sept. 28 and country music star and Hannah, South Carolina native Josh Turner on Thursday, Sept. 29.   

For more information regarding Gualdi, you can visit his website at  

For more information regarding upcoming PAC events, you can visit their website at