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Viewing entries tagged
Solo Piano

The Answer is: Yes

The Answer is: Yes

THE ANSWER IS: YES

Instrumentation: solo piano

Duration: 5 minutes

Composed: 2018

Premiere: October 10, 2018 by Gregg Kallor in the Catacombs at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY


Leonard Bernstein would have celebrated his 100th birthday in 2018. I composed a short piano piece in honor of the man whose singular ability to communicate passion to audiences around the world continues to inspire me.

Bernstein gave a series of lectures at Harvard University in 1973 in which he took Charles Ives' metaphysical "Unanswered Question" out for a spin. The wide-ranging discussion encompassed everything from music analysis and history to linguistics, aesthetic philosophy, phonology, and physics. To me, this exploration encapsulates Bernstein: passionate, thoughtful, inclusive, communicative, joyful.

Six lectures culminate in what might be considered Bernstein’s artistic credo - a celebratory, organic synthesis of many styles and ideas, shared with sincerity and exuberance. Bernstein concludes with an open heart and open arms: “I’m no longer quite sure what the question is, but I do know the answer, and the answer is: Yes.”



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“As a soloist, Kallor played a Bernstein tribute titled The Answer Is: Yes, and if you braced yourself for West Side Story cliches, you were happily surprised with an extravagant fantasy... that showed just how fine of a pianist Kallor is.”

–David Patrick Stearns, Condemned To Music


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“an attractive, jazz-inflected solo”

–Clive Paget, Limelight


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“There were no Bernstein musical quotes, but his spirit was present in Kallor’s own melodies, rhythms and dynamism. The seamless interplay between classical and jazz were Kallor’s alone.”

–Rick Perdian, Seen and Heard International


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“a short, breezy piece that while, very much in Kallor’s style, also cleverly weaved in moments that recalled bits of Lenny’s best.”

–Matt Costello, Opera Wire


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“Kallor premiered a new piece for solo piano in tribute to Leonard Bernstein, who happens to be buried at Green-Wood. It was an appropriate tribute to the maestro, blending classical, jazz and dizzying agility.”

–Richard Sasanow, Broadway World


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“Kallor then delivered another world premiere, solo, playing The Answer Is: Yes, a dedication to Leonard Bernstein (who according to the program notes is a permanent Green-Wood resident). The title is a typically exuberant Bernstein quote from a series of Harvard lectures, and rang true as Kallor methodically shifted gears between distantly Stravinskian, balletesque leaps and bounds, saturnine lustre and a little bittersweet blues. So many other composers  inspired by Bernstein end up aping him. Kallor did nothing of the sort.”

–Alan Young, New York Music Daily

Notes From Underground

Notes From Underground

NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND

Instrumentation: solo piano

Duration: 20 minutes

Composed: 2014

Commissioned by: SubCulture Arts Underground, New York

Premiere: September 16, 2014 by Gregg Kallor at SubCulture NYC

*The Waiting premiere: January 7, 2016 by Gregg Kallor at SubCulture NYC


You know that great feeling of being invited into someone's living room, where your super gracious hosts make everything warm and comfortable and welcoming? That's how I feel every time I walk into SubCulture, the gorgeous underground NYC venue where I've had the honor of being Composer-In-Residence. I love that place, and the fantastic people who work there. This suite was commissioned by SubCulture, and I premiered it on the first anniversary of SubCulture's opening.


Notes from Underground:

  1. Where You Are

  2. Ballerina Gone Bad

  3. The Waiting

  4. The Good Kind of Crazy

A Single Noon

A Single Noon

A SINGLE NOON

Instrumentation: solo piano

Duration: 45 minutes

Composed: 2010

Premiere: April 20, 2011 by Gregg Kallor at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City


 A Single Noon is a tableau of life in New York City told through a combination of composed music and improvisation. The nine movements are meant to be evocative snapshots – moments of caffeinated bliss, embarrassing subway mishaps, the buzzing energy of a city driven by dynamic, thoughtful, talented, and slightly crazy people.

NOTE TO PIANISTS: The interplay of freedom and structure is something I think about a lot. I strive to write music that can breathe in performance – specific enough to say something, dynamic and flexible enough to allow a musician to make it her own. In my own playing, improvisation keeps me on my toes by focusing my ears and deepening my engagement with the music. In A Single Noon, improvisation is integrated throughout the suite as a way for pianists to stretch the musical fabric. Since not all pianists are comfortable improvising, it was important for me to find a way to make the sections for improvisation optional, sort of like scenic detours on a highway; the musical narrative won’t be compromised if you stick to the paved road, so to speak – you’ll just arrive a little sooner.


A Single Noon:

  1. A Single Noon

  2. Broken Sentences

  3. Night

  4. Straphanger's Lurch

  5. Found

  6. Espresso Nirvana

  7. Giants

  8. Things to Come

  9. Here Now


Recordings of A Single Noon:

 
 

BROKEN SENTENCES

88 pianos. 5 boroughs. 1 crazy idea.


ESPRESSO NIRVANA

an ode to caffeine


FOUND

live at SubCulture NY