Pianist to the presidents here Saturday

Published 9:32 am Thursday, January 14, 2016

If you were a pianist, imagine what a thrill it would be to be able to play a 1938 mahogany and gold leaf Steinway with eagle legs – a gift to President Franklin D. Roosevelt from Theodore Steinway –  all the while knowing the piano was used to accompany such great singers as Pearl Bailey.

Perhaps more impressive is knowing that the music you are creating is heard through out this historic building.

This is the world of David Osborne each time he performs at the White House. Bill Clinton once played his saxophone as the Osborne played “Heartbreak Hotel.” Clinton also sang along as Osborne played his traditional Christmas songs and was given a plate of Christmas cookies to take home.

David Osborne and Trio will perform at the Brock Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Two other professional musicians will play bass and drums. Reserved seating can be purchased at any time online at www.daviearts.org or by contacting the box office at the Brock Performing Arts Center Monday-Friday, noon-5 p.m., 751-3000. David Osborne is known as the pianist to the Presidents – a title passed along by Roger Williams as heir apparent. Williams had carried that same title performing for many of the United States presidents during his own career.

David Osborne has performed for Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 and current President Obama multiple times at the White House.  He has also performed at the invitation of the White House Tour Office as well as for private dinners hosted by Presidents and their First Ladies.

A native of Miami, Okla. Osborne began playing the piano by ear at age 4 in church and at his grandmother’s house. He started his formal training by age 5. He continued practicing in excess of six hours daily through junior and senior high school and started lessons with Mary Helen Harutun in Joplin, Mo. Her intense piano training and instruction birthed three national piano winners. Osborne began his professional career by the age of 13 as he traveled and performed on piano and organ in Oklahoma and the four state area.

Osborne graduated from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. with a bachelor’s degree in music performance. He then studied at Indiana University and attended master classes at the Juilliard School. In 1984 he completed a master’s degree in keyboard performance from Pittsburg State University.

Osborne met President Jimmy Carter at a book-signing event in Orlando, Fla. A 30-year friendship was forged that day, and Carter has called Osborne “one of the greatest pianists in the world.” He has played birthday concerts for President Carter for 30 years.

He also performed “Happy Birthday” for the President George W. Bush when he turned 91. This was following a Christmas White House performance by Osborne with Van Cliburn, Joss Stone, Darius Rucker and Kenny Chesney.

When he is not playing for the Washington set he performs as the artist in residence at the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas where performs on a Steinway that belonged to Frank Sinatra.  He had performed at Caesar’s Palace for 12 years. He travels extensively to play in well-known concert halls throughout the United States and Canada.

Osborne continues to be honored with awards for nhis ability to perform and his talent as a composer, having received the Los Angeles Pianst of the Year and Concert Performer of the Year. He has sold more than a million copies of his recordings.

Osborne was chosen to be a “Steinway Signature Artist.”