Teenage virtuoso

Auburn pianist plays with passion
By: Jenna Nielsen, Journal Staff Writer
-A +A
ROSEVILLE ” His hands move across the piano keys like a court reporter's move across the keyboard. His fingers are dancing to Mozart and Chopin. And he's doing this when others his age are barely thinking about getting their drivers licenses. I never really realized that I had this talent, 16-year-old Auburn resident Adrian Canfield said of his extraordinary piano skills. I used to believe that everyone could just sit down at an instrument and play it. If you have something natural that you are born with it is hard to grasp the concept that everyone can't do it. Canfield's talent has caught the eye of many of his colleagues and neighbors. His passion is the piano, said Terry Compton, Canfield's piano teacher, while going through a lesson at the Polish American Community Hall in Roseville Tuesday. He has an exceptional talent. Generally, students take classes to learn skills, but it is always special when you have one that excels like Adrian. Roseville resident Lois Grabar said she was immediately impressed the first time she heard Canfield play. He is beyond words, Grabar said. That night (I first heard him), this young man, just unassuming, walked up quietly to the piano and he sat down and began to play. My husband turned to me and said, ˜what in the world is this?' We were just blown away within two minutes. Grabar, who is also a student of Compton's, said she and her husband, Norman, often hold impromptu concerts at their Roseville home. The couple hosted Canfield Feb. 1 for family and friends. I don't just say this lightly, because I have known so many outstanding musicians, Grabar said. But he is truly a genius. I can not say enough about him. Grabar said it was also meaningful that Canfield's father, Robert Canfield, was home from Afghanistan at the time of Adrian's performance. He was delighted with his son's performance as all the guests were, Grabar said. Canfield first took to the piano when he was 6 years old. He has played in numerous concerts and has even entered a competition to play in the Auburn Symphony. He has also composed five pieces and plans on composing in all 24 keys. His interest in piano grew as a result in his disinterest for other things, he said. A lot of it has to do with my love of music in general, Canfield said. But I also knew I didn't want to own a restaurant chain or build hotels or become an electrician. Those involve things that are way over my head. It has helped me understand why other's don't understand music ” those things aren't for me. Canfield said he hopes to attend Julliard School of Music in New York City and to one day become a conductor. I like to play the piano, but not so much perform, Canfield said of playing in front of large groups. And when I am playing the piano, I only have control over one instrument, but conducting, I can have control over many instruments, and the music. Canfield's mother, Amanda Canfield, said as soon as her son sat down at the piano, she could tell he had something special. He took off, she said. He took to it like a duck on water. He never once said an assignment was too difficult. Canfield, who has been homeschooled from an early age, could identify notes by sound. Music has been Canfield's life since, Amanda Canfield said. I don't know what he would do if he didn't have music, she said. When he works at things there is nothing he can't do. That talent has gotten him to where he is, but Canfield said only he can determine how far that takes him. Talent was something I was born with, Canfield said. But talent cannot guarantee my success. I have to make sure that happens, I have to work at it. It's not just something that is going to happen on its own. The Journal's Jenna Nielsen can be reached at or post a comment below.