VAN WERT — Van Wert native Gerhardt Zimmermann brings the Canton Symphony Orchestra to Niswonger Performing Arts Center at 3 p.m. Sunday. The day has been proclaimed as “Maestro Gerhardt Zimmermann Day” with an official proclamation from Van Wert mayor Jerry Mazur.
Zimmermann was born and raised in Van Wert attending Washington Elementary, junior high and then Van Wert High School. He attended Bowling Green State University to major in music education. It was while he was at Bowling Green that a professor insisted he try out for the orchestra. Zimmerman tried out and secured a second trumpet seat. The first rehearsal, the orchestra performed Wagner and Dvorak.
“Once I heard those strings along with the winds, it was all over. I was hooked,” said Zimmermann.
Zimmermann also feels that westerns played a role in his love of classical music.
“I was a great lover when I was a child of the B western movies, like Roy Rogers and Lone Ranger. They all used excerpts from classical music, whether it be Rossini or the William Tell Overture. Once I made that connection, it sounded just like the music of the films of these B westerns, so I felt really at home with it,” said Zimmermann.
Zimmermann has been with the Canton Symphony Orchestra for 37 years.
“Must be my baby blue eyes,” Zimmermann joked.
Zimmermann and the Canton Symphony Orchestra will be performing an all-Tchaikovsky concert on Sunday.
“The first piano concerto will include a good friend and colleague of mine, Norman Krieger. He will be playing the piano. He’s a wonderful pianist,” said Zimmermann. “Then Symphony No. 4 which is probably on the top 15 list of all time classical favorites.”
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511