Advanced students of Wilton pianist and teacher Kyong Hee Cho will perform Sunday, Sept. 30, in Wilton Library’s Brubeck Room. It will be the 12th Playing By Heart Benefit Concert.

This year’s concert will benefit Norwalk Grassroots Tennis & Education (NGTE), an organization dedicated to helping “underserved children in Norwalk through tennis and education.” The organization’s goal “is to ensure each of our kids is on a path towards success on the court, in the classroom and in life,” a press release said. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.

This year’s concert will feature music by Beethoven, Brahms and Chopin as well as selections by more contemporary composers Debussy, Morton Gould and Dmitry Kabalevsky. The program is set by the choices of the performers, some of whom select a piece because they heard it performed by another student in a previous concert and often with the guidance of Cho, whose primary goal as a teacher is “ to develop music lovers as well as good listeners in addition to being proficient pianists.”

Preparation for the concert begins well in advance of the September performance as the students, with the help of sponsors and parents choose the beneficiary. Intensive practices and late summer rehearsals place a demand on these already busy students, several of whom play other instruments in symphonic, jazz and marching bands or school, local and regional orchestras. Performers need to transcend mere memorization of notes to wrestle with dynamics and tempo to develop a unique interpretation of a piece.

Although all play regularly in recitals, they concur that this is different because “people have paid to hear you play.” As Sharon Kesselman, one of the adults who will perform put it, “Without the performance, there would be not as much incentive to learn the piece. It’s about being nervous, wanting to show off my best, wanting not to fail —all of this helps with motivation to practice a piece that has already been practiced quite a bit, and then practice it some more. It’s about the journey.”

Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by emailing Cho at

This event is not sponsored, co-sponsored, or approved by Wilton Library.