I wanted to post this earlier, but accidently published the raw press release. I finally got time to go back to it, with an extra tag:
January 17 pianist and Allderdice grad Christopher O'Riley helped the Spokane Symphony in one of those last-minute substitutions for which classical music is infamous. The originally scheduled pianist, Gabriela Montero got the call to Washington to "perform" (as we now know) at the Presidential Inauguration. That was all fine and good, and the orchestra hired pianist Orli Shaham to replace her. But, as luck would have it, Shaham got the flu and had to cancel a few days prior to the concert.
That's where O'Riley came in.
He had about a week's notice, more than some artists get in these situations, but -- really -- not much time to learn Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 even if you have performed it before. The Spokesman-Review in Seattle wrote positively about his performance, including:
Some of O'Riley's most impressive moments came in the solo cadenza to the first movement, with its harmonic adventurousness. Also striking were the tender dialoge passages between soloist and orchestra near the close of the Adagio. O'Riley and the orchestra seemed to have great fun with gypsy-tinged high spirits of the finale. So did their audience.
The extra bit I was referring to about O'Riley's bigger gig these days than soloing: his hosting of the National Public Radio and PBS program "From the Top." WGBH Boston Video just announced it will release the second season of "From the Top" on DVD March 17.