"He is a composer whose works exhibit craft, wit, charm and beauty of sound. ... He also happens to be an extraordinarily fine pianist."
Thus says Lock Haven University professor David Curtin about classical pianist John Silva, who will play two free recitals in Williamsport this weekend.
Silva, a respected Philadelphia-area artist and teacher, has performed roughly once a year at Montoursville's New Life Presbyterian Church since 2000.
John Silva will perform at 7 p.m. Friday at Omega Presbyterian, 1307 Park Ave., and at 7 p.m. Saturday at New Life Presbyterian, 1500 Hidden Valley Drive, Montoursville.
He will play there again at 7 p.m. Saturday, with an additional show at 7 p.m. Friday at New Life's daughter church, Omega Presbyterian, in Williamsport.
"There is something intimate about the setting at New Life Presbyterian Church," Silva said. "I've always enjoyed it. The acoustics are pleasant as well.
"This will be my first performance at Omega. I look forward to it because each performance space has its own personality, and it's interesting to see how I perform in different places and how people respond."
Silva has been playing and improvising on piano since the age of three. He studied under Abbey Simon, Douglas Finch, Robert Marler, Martino Tirimo, Daniel Barta and William Pursell.
Holding a master's degree in music from Trinity College of Music in London, Silva has performed as a solo artist internationally and was a finalist in the Alfred Kichen Chopin Competition.
He is a fellow at the Royal Schools of Music in London, but currently lives and teaches in Philadelphia.
He has been praised by the late Dr. Samuel Hsu, who called his work "magical," and by award-winning Cuban pianist Erikson Rojas, who described one of Silva's recitals this way:
"John ... drew the audience inward, toward the music, with a rare kind of aural magnetism. ... The musical sounds themselves took an unadulterated preeminence."
This weekend's programs feature the work of Chopin and also Rachmaninoff, of whom Silva said, "He has written some fabulous music for the piano which I'd like to share.
"Many people who don't listen to classical music believe a classical recital is not for them," Silva added. "However, those listeners who have been brave enough to venture out through their uncertainty to one of my performances are surprised to find they really enjoy it."
Both recitals are free and open to the public; both will be followed by light refreshments.
New Life is located in Hidden Valley Homes, 1500 Hidden Valley Drive in Montoursville. Omega meets in the Pajama Factory, 1307 Park Ave.; visitors should use the parking lot at the corner of Park and Cemetery and enter through the door for the Williamsport Civic Ballet.
For more information, phone Rev. Andy Adcock at 651-3449 or Rev. Paul Browne at 337-8158.