For a solo performance at a small venue, there was a lot of anticipation.

The Simons Fine Arts Center Recital Hall was sold out Sunday afternoon for the opening of a series of performances by Leszek Mozdzer, a highly acclaimed Polish pianist.

It might be a pretty safe bet, though, to say that Mozdzer is not at the top of the name recognition list of most Western jazz fans. Nevertheless, Sunday's concert sold out days ago.

Evidently, the attendees knew what they were doing when they scored their tickets early.

About 300 people witnessed virtuoso mastery of the piano as Mozdzer improvised his way through a repertoire that was multi-faceted, layer upon layer of melodies and harmonies.

He said in a recent interview he wasn't going to plan a program way in advance so what we got is what he probably decided at the last moment, maybe even after he sat down to play.

Mozdzer came in known for his interpretations of his fellow Pole, Frederic Chopin.

Sunday showed why.

Tall with long, brown hair, Mozdzer addressed the instrument with grace. That, however, belies his aggressive, percussive approach to playing. He got everything the Steinway had to offer Sunday.

In fact, his interpretations were so lush, songs were virtually unrecognizable.

Throughout the program, he embellished his sound by placing objects on the strings of the piano, creating sounds, in turn, like a harpsichord or guitar or mandolin. One looked like an ice tea glass and another seemed to be some kind of wood block.

They weren't gimmicks. He's too good for that. They enhanced the music at times but as low tech as they were, it didn't seem worth it.

Mozdzer returns to the Recital Hall for six more performances.