Sunday, September 27, 2009

Whisperings Solo Piano Concert

I first became acquainted with composer and pianist David Nevue and his work in early 2005, when I read an interview with him in a California piano teacher's newsletter. I learned that he enjoys working with piano students, occasionally doing hands-on interpretive workshops with them. He lives far away, in Eugene, Oregon, so it seemed like a long-shot, but I decided to ask him if he might like to come to Atlanta sometime, and hear some of my wonderful students perform his music. To my surprise and delight, he was open to the possibility. We quickly laid the groundwork, and made plans for him to travel to Atlanta. That September, he did an afternoon workshop for a group of my students, and an evening concert at Piano Works in Duluth. Both were very successful.

So we ran with it. For September 2006, David organized a full-fledged Whisperings Solo Piano Concert, adding artists Wayne Gratz, Michael Dulin and Greg Maroney. The house was full. By the fall of 2007, David had a large enough following in the area to plan TWO Whisperings events. Joining him that year were Wayne Gratz, Michael Dulin, Greg Maroney, Stanton Lanier, and Grammy-nominated composer and pianist David Lanz. These six artists sold out both Friday and Saturday nights at Piano Works. And last September, David did a Whisperings concert with Joseph Akins.

In conjunction with each concert, David did a workshop for ten or twelve of my students. Let me tell you, these workshops meant A LOT to these kids. What a unique opportunity--to learn a beautiful piece of music and play it FOR THE COMPOSER, and to receive praise, encouragement, and advice on ways to improve--especially how to be more expressive. I love teaching this stye of music, which some call "New Age," although David Nevue prefers the label "neoclassical," and David Lanz jokingly refers to as "heavy mellow." So it really bothers me that so many of my peers do not consider this to be "real music." I find it to be perfect for teaching; it contains all the elements of classical style, and all my students, both children and adults, ENJOY practicing it. What is wrong with that?

This fall, David booked a three-week concert tour in the southeast; unfortunately, his travel schedule did not allow him time to do another student workshop. And he has outgrown Piano Works, which seats approximately 120. So last night, it was my pleasure and privilege to attend yet another Whisperings Solo Piano Concert at a larger venue, the beautiful Roswell Cultural Arts Center in Roswell, Georgia, featuring pianists (from left to right) Stanton Lanier, David Nevue, David Lanz and Joseph Akins.

It was a wonderful evening. The music was uplifting, soothing, and inspirational, with a generous sprinkling of comedy and plenty of musical surprises. I laughed; I cried. I was royally entertained--and deeply moved. I can't remember when I have enjoyed myself more at a musical event.

Afterwards, my friend William and Nathan and I had the privilege of going out for a bite with the artists.

The legendary David Lanz and I share a moment.

The four artists pose with Joseph's wife Unita Akins and me.

It was a magical evening. I will be glowing with stardust for a long time to come.


Carley said...

You have a different lifestyle that doesn't permit road performances like that, otherwise in my book you measure right up with them and could have been the fifth member of the group performing. You don't take a "back seat" to anyone and that's a totally unbiased opinion--so there!
Anyway, glad you were entertained and had such a good time. You deserved a nice evening like that wtih a little stardust in you life!

Pam said...

Thanks, Mom! You are my biggest fan! ;) If only I could write music like they do. But I sure love playing their sheet music!

Natalie said...

Awesome! I don't have any students at that level right now, but I also enjoy teaching Lanz music. The girl who was with me at the concert is a former student whom I introduced his music to and she still loves it. I need to go play through my "new" book!

Natalie said...

as far as the music goes....I haven't seen Nevue's sheet music, but Lanz's works are real music. They are written pianistically and have finger numbers unlike other "pop" musicians' sheet music. You can tell by looking at George Winston's music that it was transcribed by someone else. It's not quite written out correcly. Lanz's compositions (other than a few typos) are very well written for the piano. They remind me of Robert Vandall sometimes who is very well accepted in the piano world. Not sure why people poo-poo Lanz unless it is out of ignorance.

Pam said...

David's music is real music, too--but some of our peers consider only classical music or official "teaching pieces" to be "real" music. I mean, would you consider sending a student to a festival with an original David Lanz piece as one of his selections? I don't think it would be wise, because the judge might dismiss it. Also, since David's music is mostly available in only a downloadable format, it looks like a photocopy, so would not be accepted at a festival. I find this to be quite frustrating!

eric said...

The concert was a lot of fun... thanks for inviting us!

Pam said...

I'm so glad you could come! Thanks for being part of my "posse!"