April 02, 2015 5:30PM
Early this year, Steinway artist David Osborne accompanied a Pittsburg State University delegation to the Steinway factory in New York to pick out two very special instruments for PSU’s new Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. On Tuesday, April 7, Osborne will return to PSU to demonstrate what these exceptional pianos can do.
Osborne, known as “Pianist to the Presidents,” will perform as part of the David Osborne Trio at 7:30 p.m. in the Linda & Lee Scott Performance Hall in the Bicknell Center.
A native of Miami, Okla., David Osborne began playing the piano at the age of five.
Osborne earned a master’s degree in music from PSU in 1983. Previously, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa and began his graduate studies at Indiana University-Bloomington. In 2013, PSU honored Osborne with its alumni Meritorious Achievement Award.
Osborne said he returned to PSU from Indiana to complete his master’s degree when his mother, Nina Osborne, was diagnosed with cancer in 1982. Because he had taken classes at PSU when he was still in high school, Osborne knew the campus well and had close ties to faculty who had already begun to shape his career.
“The teachers were really great,” Osborne said. “They let me reach the level I wanted to.”
For the first decade of his musical career, Osborne performed in Florida for the Disney Company and at the Hyatt and Mariott Hotels. From there he moved to the St. Louis Symphony.
In 1999, on the advice of pianist Roger Williams, Osborne took a shot at Las Vegas, where he quickly made a name for himself in that city’s entertainment scene. Osborne performed at Caesar’s Palace for 12 years before moving to his current home at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
In the mid ‘90s, Osborne began recording a series of CDs for the North Star label that have been immensely successful. His 27 CDs, featuring his extensive repertoire of romantic, classical, jazz, pop, inspirational, patriotic and Broadway show tunes, have sold nearly 5 million copies.
Osborne earned his unofficial title of “Pianist to the Presidents” because of his popularity with no fewer than five presidents. He has performed numerous times for Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter in Plains, Ga., and he organized the president’s 75th birthday tribute in 1999. He has also performed at the White House for Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
In 2010, the Los Angeles Music Awards and Hollywood Fame Awards Committee chose Osborne to receive a lifetime piano achievement award and he received a star at the historic Paramount Theater in Hollywood, Calif. In 2012, L.A. Music Awards named him Concert Pianist of the Year. He is a member of the international roster of Steinway Artists.
Osborne is married to Jeanine Carter Osborne, and has four children: Katie, Joshua, Christopher and Hannah.
Tickets for the David Osborne Trio Steinway Concert are $20 for adults and $15 for PSU faculty and staff and persons 65 and over or under 18. Fee-paying PSU students are admitted free. Tickets are available at the PSU Ticket Office in the Weede PE Building, 1701 S. Homer, 620-235-4796, www.pittstate.edu/tickets. For more information about this and other events at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, call 620-235-4536, www.bicknellcenter.com.