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story.lead_photo.caption Pianist: Roger Lawson in his home studio. He will perform a piano recital featuring Romantic-era composers tomorrow evening at the South Arkansas Arts Center.

Pianist Roger Lawson will return to the South Arkansas Arts Center this week with a recital based on Romantic-era composers.

“A little nervous, but I’m always that way. It’s exciting to do it and I’m looking forward to it,” Lawson said.

Lawson last performed at SAAC four years ago. A piano instructor, he typically sticks to only playing at his students’ recitals. However, he said that now the time was right for another show.

“I just felt the need to do it,” he said. “I can still play the piano and I still have people that want to hear me … it’s good for me to do it and I hope it’ll be good for the audience to hear it.”

Lawson said Romantic composers typically wrote melody-driven, emotional pieces. With artists like Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Liszt and Shumann on his set list, Lawson’s concert will feature various types of music from the Romantic era (19th century).

“Great music is really important, especially now,” he said. “Things can get pretty tense sometimes in the world, and music just kind of relieves the situation and shows us a different way of looking at things. I just think it’s a wonderful outlet.”

He will also platy five songs he has never performed in public before.

A Ruston, La.-native, Lawson studied first at Louisiana Tech University then received his masters degree in piano performance at Florida State University. He taught at a college in Georgia for a period before moving to El Dorado in 1968, where he has been a popular piano instructor since.

Lawson said that when he’s not practicing or teaching piano, he spends most of his time listening to National Public Radio. At his home-studio, he has two grand pianos he uses for rehearsal and lessons. He said he is looking forward to playing on SAAC’s Steinway, which was rebuilt several years ago. He said it sounds like a brand new piano.

The recital will take place in the Callaway Theater Tuesday at 7 p.m. A meet and greet with Lawson will follow his performance. The event is free to attend.

“When I play a piece, it is my favorite at the moment, it really is,” Lawson said. “I love them all. Whenever I’m playing, that’s the most important piece that I have right then.”

Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or

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