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Columbus Boy To Play Piano At Carnegie Hall

A Carnegie Hall performance many times is the pinnacle of an artist’s career. But for a Columbus pianist, it could be only the beginning. Alex Van Bibber will perform at Carnegie Hall next month. Alex is only 11-years-old. Alex Van Bibber is a typical fifth grader. He fidgets, and swivels in his chair. He loves to read, build with Legos and play with his buddies. He prefers Chinese food over canned green beans. And oh yeah, Alex, plays piano. A prodigy That’s Alex, who just turned eleven, playing Chopin’s “Waltz in E Minor.”

Two weeks ago, Alex received an invitation to play the piece at Carnegie Hall in March. “I was very happy and kind of surprised and excited when I heard the news," Alex said. The recital is part of the International Young Gifted Musicians Festival. The fesitval’s sponsor, AADGT, awarded him a gold medal for the Chopin performance. “I just didn’t know if my piece would make it," Alex said. "But it did.” Indeed. But this won’t be the first time Alex has played before a large audience. He played with a string orchestra in Minneapolis when he was 9.

Alex’s interest in piano appeared early, age 3. “He was at the piano tinkering around," Adrielle Van Bibber, his mother, said. Adrielle Van Bibber said her son wanted to play “Oh! Susanna.” “He threw a big fit and cried that he couldn’t make the right sounds." University student So the Van Bibbers signed up little Alex for lessons at Capital University. “Once it was obvious that he had more than just an average amount of interest in the piano and talent at the instrument, we met up with his current teacher," she said. "And she’s really just blossomed him into quite an artist.” “I could see that he had a wonderful ability for music and the piano," piano teacher Mary Craig Powell said. A renowned piano teacher, who has trained many pianists during the past 50 years, Craig Powell has taught Alex for six years. “He’s extremely dedicated. You know they say this it’s one part talent and nine parts hard work. He’s got both of it. He’s got all ten parts there," Craig Powell said. "He just loves it. He’s not anybody you have to push. He just really wants this.” The word prodigy is mentioned sometimes when Alex’s name pops up. Craig Powell reserves that title for few students. But she said, “He plays as well as a lot of prodigies.” Local performances Alex recently played at Mozart’s Cafe in Clintonville. Aptly dressed as a young Mozart, Alex is a crowd-pleaser. He spends about an-hour-and-a-half practicing each day. But as the Carnegie Hall performance draws near, time at the keys will ramp up as he polishes his Chopin selection. Alex really likes “Waltz in E Minor” because of its “fast and loud parts.” “There’s lots of little dynamics in between the pieces," Alex said. "But it’s fast and there’s this part at the end that gets really, really crazy.” Those thundering pieces Alex enjoys most. Vast opportunities His mom Adrielle Van Bibber thinks the performance could lead into an opportunity for Alex to study abroad. “Maybe experience with music theory or improvisation, other venues of performing," she said. "Just the idea of being surrounded by other children who have such gifts and such a work ethic would really be something new for him.” And that could parlay into what Alex said he hopes for the future. “Some sort of career that has to do with piano for music because I just really enjoy doing that kind of stuff and performing," Alex smiled.