JACK’s first-ever Four Pianos Festival offer a rare opportunity for musicians and audiences to be a part of a three-day piano overload, with concerts featuring the city’s great improvising pianists playing simultaneously on four pianos. Curated by pianist Ron Stabinsky (Mostly Other People Do the Killing), the festival will include pianists Cory Smythe, Craig Taborn, members of ICE, Sylvie Courvoisier, Brian Marsella and Stabinsky himself, with other participants in the works.
Thursday, Dec. 17 at 8 pm:
First set: Ron Stabinsky and Brian Marsella
Second set: Ron Stabinsky, Brian Marsella, Cory Smythe and Teddy Klausner
Friday, Dec. 18 at 8 pm:
Craig Taborn and Cory Smythe present works for two pianos in a new collaboration commissioned by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).
Saturday, Dec. 19 at 8 pm
First set: Ron Stabinsky and Sylvie Courvoisier
Second set: Ron Stabinsky, Sylvie Courvoisier, Cory Smythe and Craig Taborn.
Pianos generously provided by Yamaha Artist Services.
Ron Stabinsky has performed on a regular basis with Peter Evans, Jack Wright and Mostly Other People Do the Killing. His mentors in the art of improvisation include Bill Dixon in Vermont and Joel Futterman in Virginia.
Cory Smythe has enjoyed a recital partnership with violinist Hilary Hahn, while also collaborating on the recording of In 27 Pieces, an album of Hahn’s diverse collection of commissioned encores, for which they won a 2015 Grammy Award. He is a core member of the new music group International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).
Craig Marvin Taborn began his career when he was in his teens, touring and recording with saxophonist James Carter. In 2011, Down Beat chose Taborn as winner of the electric keyboard category, as well as rising star in both the piano and organ categories. Taborn has released five albums under his own name.
Sylvie Courvoisier has performed and recorded with John Zorn, Mark Feldman, Yusef Lateef, Ikue Mori, Erik Friedlander, and Herb Robertson among others. Awards include Switzerland's 1996 Prix des jeunes créateurs, Zonta Club's 2000 Prix de la Création, and Switzerland's 2010 Grand Prix de la Fondation Vaudoise de la Culture.
Brian Marsella has been a member of Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista's internationally acclaimed band, Beat the Donkey, since 2004. Brian is also a founding member of the band Caveman.
The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), described by The New Yorker as “the new gold standard for new music,” is dedicated to reshaping the way music is created and experienced. With a modular makeup of 35 leading instrumentalists, performing in forces ranging from solos to large ensembles, ICE functions as performer, presenter, and educator, advancing the music of our time by developing innovative new works and new strategies for audience engagement. ICE redefines concert music as it brings together new work and new listeners in the 21st century. Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for ICE. www.iceorg.org
The Four Pianos Festival at JACK was supported by New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from the Helen F. Whitaker Fund, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust.
Photos above by Peter Gannushkin.