News

Welcome! Here’s some news:

After a long series of concerts and conferences, the schedule will be a bit lighter until January.  I’m turning my attention to methods of sonata improvisation, drawing on excellent recent research (by others, not me!) into Galant schemata.  Schemata are short voice-leading structures that can be combined in many ways. They form the basic gestural vocabulary of (what we now call) the Classical era.  My goal is to complete a pedagogical method for sonata improvisation which is not too much of a jump from prior chapters in the book, yet allows for expansion into the inherent complexity of the form.  Improvisation pedagogy must always begin with small forms and few variables, then gradually introduce more options  as we increase fork-in-the-road-itude.

European Tour Details:

Plans are now complete for a three-month tour of Europe.

I’ll start in Malta in February 2018 to serve on the jury and give a concert at the Valletta International Piano Competition.  Malta is a beautiful and interesting country, a mix of Italian, Arabic, African, Spanish, and British cultures.  To my American ears, the Maltese language sounds like Arabic spoken with an Italian accent.  The Competition is certainly a lot of work, but also a great time to visit with musical colleagues from many countries.

After the Valletta Competition I will travel to Ireland to teach and perform improvised music at the Cork School of Music for a few weeks.  I have always wanted to see Ireland.  In addition to working with students and faculty at the school, I may bring along my Irish flute and show up at a pub session or two!

After that, in March and April I will serve as Visiting Professor of Classical Improvisation at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music in Riga, Latvia, teaching improvisation workshops and lessons, giving concerts, and touring the region to conservatories in Estonia, Lithuania, and Finland.  During that time I will live in the old city of Riga and do my grocery shopping at a former zeppelin hanger.

Concerning the Symposium:

The Classical Keyboard Improvisation Symposium took place at Cedarville University on September 9, 2017, with an outstanding lineup of faculty presenters (representing music institutions from five states), improv workshops, and a completely improvised concert to wrap things up.  The Classical Keyboard Improvisation Symposium is the only American conference addressing the practical elements of performing and teaching improvisation.  See the Improvisation Symposium page for more.  Currently thinking of ways to organize an event for next year.

The Book:

My new book, tentatively titled “The Pianist’s Guide to Classical Improvisation”, is is the final approval stage with a major international academic press. We expect a 2018 release date. See Improvisation page for details.