ASU professor and renowned pianist Caio Pagano celebrates 75 years of life

The program for Caio Pagano’s celebration of 75 years at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. (Photo by Ryan Santistevan/The State Press). The program for Caio Pagano’s celebration of 75 years at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. (Photo by Ryan Santistevan/The State Press).

Caio Pagano's 75 years of life were celebrated at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Monday in a rousing concert that echoed the ASU professor's travels and world famous piano achievements. The school has been fortunate enough to be home to the talented musician and professor since 1986.

At age 5, Pagano started what would be a celebrated life of playing the piano. He explained to me why this instrument was his main forte.

"My mother was the inspiration," Pagano said. "She played the piano when I was leaning against the piano and feeling the vibrations. I remember thinking it was very cozy and comfortable."

ASU alumnus Brandon Ethridge graduated in 1990 and was one of Pagano's first students.

"In music, he really is the only music teacher who taught me anything," Ethridge said. "You're either world class or your not and he is."

Another alumnus, Jon Sigurosson, went to school in Germany for piano, but was recommended to attend ASU to be a part of Pagano's program. He said that he moved to Arizona with his wife for two years to attend here, graduating in 1995 without a single regret.

"I am very grateful for everything I've received," Sigurosson said. "He made my playing more natural and he freed things up."

Professor Caio Pagano (left) in his office with two of his former students, Jon Sigurosson (middle) and Brandon Ethridge (right). (Photo by Ryan Santistevan/The State Press) Brandon Etheridge (left) in his office with two of his former students, Jon Sigurosson (middle) and Professor Caio Pagano (right). (Photo by Ryan Santistevan/The State Press)

During the concert, Pagano performed compositions by Bach-Siloti, Schumann, Chopin, Brahms and a few others. He said these are currently his favorite to play.

"I like to play the musician that I am playing in the moment, doesn't mean I don't love others," Pagano said. "I have a focus now. So next month, I will change to another composer."

The woman next to me said she was a pianist herself and called Pagano a genius.

It's hard to use words to describe how magical his hands danced on the black and white keys during his performance.

There was not one minute that Pagano lost the interest of the people. It was as if the entire audience was in a trance. He could have played until the sunrise and everyone would have remained in their seats, gladly.

At the end of the performance, the distinguished Pagano stood, bowed and smiled as his audience gave him standing ovation.

A former student of his walked up and handed him a colorful arrangement of flowers. He accepted his gift with a hug and kiss, set them down and returned to the piano where he would officially end the night with a literal bang on the ivory keys.

The celebration has not ended just yet, as Pagano's former students will also be performing this week on March 18,19 and 20 at ASU's School of Music Katzin Concert Hall.

 

Reach the reporter at ryan.santistevan@asu.edu or follow @ryanerica18 on Twitter.

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