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Lewis & Clark alumnus headed for Carnegie Hall

December 12, 2012

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Carnegie Hall may be a long distance from the chemistry classrooms Harsha Abeyaratne B.A. ’89 studied in at Lewis & Clark, but taking the stage this week as a solo pianist represents one more step on his uncommon journey toward a career in music and education. 

A native of Sri Lanka, Abeyaratne initially pursued a chemistry major at Lewis & Clark.

“I played [music] casually, only for my own enjoyment, but I wasn’t following any sort of disciplined path,” said Abeyaratne in an article in The Daily Jeffersonian.

Abeyaratne credits emerita professor Ann Miller, from whom he took lessons, with changing the course of his life. Miller encouraged him to consider a career in music, and during his senior year, Abeyaratne changed his major—a shift that required him to continue his studies for two more years.

“It was a scary decision,” Abeyaratne said. “I had a great deal of time and money tied up in my education in chemistry, but I couldn’t resist the pull of music and the playing.”

Since then, Abeyaratne has kept pushing forward. After earning advanced degrees in music, Abeyaratne began teaching music at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio, where his is currently an associate professor. He performs extensively in the United States as a soloist and collaborative pianist.

Abeyaratne’s Carnegie Hall performance will put him in front of a completely new audience, where he will tackle some challenging compositions, including Robert Muczynski’s Third Piano Sonata and Franz Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz. His concert begins at 8 p.m. on December 14.

Blue Lassiter ’15 contributed to this story.

Department of Music  Lewis & Clark Alumni