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Peace pianist to play in Sofitel

Peace pianist to play in Sofitel

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Perpetually perambulating philanthropic peace pianist Mark Damisch will tickle the ivories in Siem Reap next Friday, June 13.

Damisch, in town as part of a fundraiser for the Spitler School Foundation, will perform at The Explorer’s Tales Restaurant Lounge at Sofitel.

The free performance, titled A Classical Evening, will kick of at 6.30 pm with a drink (note the accent on the singular) and canapés.

Kids from the Spitler School will sing songs they learned during English classes.

At 7pm, Damisch will take the stage and perform a program including the works of Claude Debussy, Aaron Copland and Frederic Chopin.

Damisch is one of those odd people who thrust themselves onto the world stage as part of a lifelong eleemosynary endeavour.

He apparently first played the organ at four, performed his first piano concert three years later and orchestrated the first of three musical tours of eastern and western Europe in his teens.

He then embarked on career as a personal injury lawyer in the US, a stint as a corruption-busting prosecutor, and three terms as mayor of Northbrook, Illinois.

In 2000 he ended a 19 year hiatus and returned to the stage, although reportedly battling stage fright during his first series of performances.

In August 2010, Damisch and two of his daughters, Katherine and Alexandra, together known as K, K and A Productions, traveled to Germany and Austria to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the reunifications of Germany.

On this trip he is joined by his niece on her debut tour.

During his performing years, Damisch has traveled to a bewildering array of countries outside of his homeland, America, and has visited many of these countries several times. His country itinerary includes Austria, Germany, Russia, France, Switzerland, Iceland, England, Norway Japan, Denmark, Luxemburg, Hawaii, Ireland, Israel, Poland, China, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy, Egypt, South Korea, Mongolia, and Taiwan.

On this tour he will travel to India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia, and New Zealand.

In Cambodia, his Siem Reap performance is designed to promote the reestablishment of the country’s educational system.

He will also perform in Phnom Penh to promote western classical music, but times and dates for the capital were not available at time of writing.

Damisch’s appearance in Siem Reap was coordinated by Jim Latt, a senior volunteer coordinator with the Spitler School Foundation.

Latt told Siem Reap Insider that the tour came to be because of his past work with an organisation called American Voices, based in Bangkok.

He said, “This group brings American culture to developing countries through the performing arts. Mr Damisch contacted my friend with American Voices indicating that he was planning to be in Cambodia and thus began our correspondence.

“We thought this would be a unique entertainment opportunity in Siem Reap, and would also afford our foundation some exposure. Secondary to this, of course, is the hope to raise a few funds for the organisation.

“We approached Sofitel Angkor Resort with some ideas, and they were very supportive. Many thanks to Sofitel for their generous support of this free concert.”

Meanwhile, in on online bulletin on the weekend, the school claimed, “The 2011-12 school year was our most ambitious yet as far as adding programs and increasing our budgets.

“With the generosity of many donors, and the skill of our paid and volunteer staff, we were able to launch a comprehensive English program not only at Spitler School, but at Kurata School as well. We were able to continue our scholarship programs for both the 2010 graduates and the 2011 graduates.

Our success rate at keeping our graduates moving forward in middle school has been outstanding, and we have already receive commitments that should insure that we will be able to assist our 2012 graduating class as well.”

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