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Famed Pianist Brings Bach Tunes on City School Tour

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A world famous pianist is going back on tour, but instead of the concert hall circuit this time she's bringing live classical music to city schools. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.

Simone Dinnerstein is going Bach-packing as in Johann Sebastian Bach. The acclaimed New York pianist is giving interactive performances of Bach's music at city schools over the next two weeks. Her first stop: Bank Street School for Children in Morningside Heights.

"We're kind of having a crisis in classical music because there aren't so many children that are interested in classical music and that are studying it. And so I felt like I should get in there and try to do my part," says Dinnerstein.

It helps to relate to the audience. Dinnerstein compares the importance of two hands in a Bach piece to a Jay-Z-Justin Timberlake duet.

"I didn't think that Bach would relate to any pop or artists like that so it was cool to hear that," says Fifth Grader Eki Uzamere.

Of course a digital Yamaha keyboard can't fit in a backpack, but Dinnerstein does in fact pack it up and take it to schools that don't have their own pianos so she can bring music to even more kids.

"The great thing about bringing a digital keyboard is that I can play it with the piano setting where it sounds like something that you might hear normally and then I can show them the instrument that Bach wrote this for which is the harpsichord," says Dinnerstein.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Dinnerstein took lessons in the same neighborhood as the school. And though she's gone on to play Carnegie Hall and top the music charts, school and community concerts remain at the heart of her work.

"Having a person right there whose hands you can actually see making the music before your eyes I think it will be very inspirational," says Bank Street School for Children Music Teacher Erika Blumberg.

Dinnerstein has a new Bach CD coming later this month and she'll be playing a full evening of Bach's music at Miller Theater at Columbia university on January 23.

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