Monday, May 11, 2015

Performing Schumann's "Kinderszenen" in the Amherst Ballet performance, Saturday May 16 1pm Bowker Auditorium UMass

Hello everyone,
I wanted to invite you to a unique performance this Saturday. I play the piano for dance classes in various places including at Amherst Ballet where I also teach classes for children. This Saturday (May 16) the Amherst Ballet performance will include a piece set to Robert Schumann's piano pieces "Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood)." I will be with the dancers onstage accompanying them on the piano. The choreography, like Schumann's music, evokes emotions from childhood experiences.
We will be in Bowker Auditorium at the University of Massachusetts. Bowker is in the brick building just across the circular driveway from the central campus parking garage. If you want the full ballet recital experience you can come at 1pm for the younger children's class dances. After intermission (around 1:45-2pm) begin the dances for the more advanced students, and Scenes from Childhood, although it is a multi-age cast, is in this second half of the program.
It would be lovely to see you there!
Please feel free to share this invitation with anyone who might be interested.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sideris - Toccata "Burning Kiev" - video for Editions Musica Ferrum

Composer Nikolas Sideris wrote this searing piece last February. It is a powerful reflection on war and its aftermath.
The Toccata is now available from Editions Musica Ferrum here. Here I am playing it with a transcript of the score. The recording was done at Northfire Recording Studios in Amherst MA by engineer Marc Seedorf.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bert Williams' Lime Kiln Field Day - Silent movie accompaniment! - Wed. Feb 25 7:30pm Amherst MA

Really, I've always wanted to accompany for a silent movie. It seems like one of the most fun things you could do from behind a piano. So I was tickled when an opportunity came along to accompany a silent film for the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival.

Then I began to learn more about the film, Lime Kiln Field Day. It's really quite a historic film. It was made in 1913 and then never released until the New York Museum of Modern Art unearthed it last fall. Created by legendary comedian Bert Williams, it is the first feature-length film with an all-black cast. It is a love story with many funny moments and a really terrific big dance number. Besides being just plain entertaining, the film is also a rarity in that it shows black characters not in the roles of servants or criminals, but as heroes of their own story, including a love story shown in a warm and positive way.

I'm planning a score for the film based on the works of black composers of the period: Scott Joplin, Will Marion Cook, and Samuel Coleridge Taylor. I will also play some pieces that the New York MOMA sent along which were probably used in a stage adaptation of Lime Kiln Field Day by Bert Williams' troupe. Two are songs by J. Leubrie Hill, who appears in the film.

I'm so happy and humbled to be part of this performance.

More about the performance, from the film festival brochure: