Emanuel Ax, one of the greatest pianists of our time, has arrived in Erie for a four day residency, culminating in a debut with the Erie Philharmonic on Saturday. His first performance in a busy schedule of free events, was an outreach to students at Emerson Gridley Elementary. "It's very nice for me to visit the town and not just the concert hall," Ax said. He told us he hopes that all children are inspired to play an instrument. "I think it's really nice for everybody to have the chance to maybe listen to music and to play an instrument, I think it should be like reading and arithmetic, it should be three R's and an M," he said.

Emanuel Ax was born to a Polish-Jewish family in Ukraine. He began to study piano at age six, with his father as his first teacher. He studied in Warsaw, and continued his studies in Canada, when his family moved to Winnipeg. He earned a scholarship to the Julliard school, became a U.S. citizen and won many young artist competitions.

Because he has a passion for keeping symphonic music alive across the nation, Ax has waived his artist's fee to come to Erie, something he chooses to do in one city each year.  While here, he is committed to reaching each community member with outreach events.  He wants to inspire the next generation of music lovers. On Thursday he will visit students at Walnut Creek Middle School in Millcreek.

As of Wednesday afternoon, we learned that Emanuel Ax's debut performance with the Erie Philharmonic Saturday night is sold out. Below is a list of the free opportunities to hear the Grammy award winning pianist.

Wednesday 7:00 p.m. - Free lecture and concert at the Jefferson Educational Society

Thursday at 12:00 noon - Masterclass at Mercyhurst University Walker Recital Hall, Ax offers one on one coaching with young pianists

Friday at 12:00 noon - Studio Q live radio broadcast performance and conversation at Mercyhurst University Walker Recital Hall.

Friday 6:30 p.m.- Fridays With the Phil - refreshments and open rehearsal Warner Theatre