Photo courtesy of the Weekly Beat
In this tour, I intend to perform a solo piano recital comprised entirely of American music in each of the fifty United States. The project relies on the adjustment of conventional ideas concerning the formal recital and recital hall, as I will offer the performances for free to any venue that accommodates. I have set my audience requirement to a minimum of one person.
Throughout the tour, I will create and prepare a narrative memoir of the experiences, lessons, and challenges that the project offers.
I will travel mainly on non-interstate routes, lodging in hostels, campgrounds, or the homes of acquaintances and volunteering hosts.
The recital program represents the diverse perspectives of four American art music pioneers; composers whose distinct lives and pursuits forged the paths for virtually all American composers who followed, whose work often unconsciously anticipates later musical trends that span genres and generations. Such expressions range from the abstract, the popular, the minimalist, the cynical, the impressionistic, the exotic, to the influences of jazz and Pan-American folklore.
I aim to share, discuss, and experience the music of this recital program - staggeringly unique and largely ignored by the mainstream classical establishment - with individuals who, for any number of reasons, will particularly value the opportunity to witness it up-close, in their communities, and from a performer invested in their response. Ultimately, I wish to cultivate an honest dialogue between artist and audience rooted contextually within the American music presented in this program.
American artists must consider the widely neglected but mutually important roles of individuals both allied with traditional art culture and those who - by any circumstance - stand disconnected from it. This negligence has alienated both communities and left each deprived and respectively misunderstood. Thus, any concentration toward actively clarifying the perspectives and responsibilities of both the country’s artistic circles and its general public will help to resolve the dilemma that presently divides the two, encouraging mutual perception, association, and definition to the each community’s roles and accountabilities.
On a personal level, the project symbolizes a comment on and a protest against the norm imposed upon most twenty-first century artists; the expectation that commands individuals within the arts to either compromise their integrity by submitting to the industry of illusory competitions, or indefinite trap themselves within the walls of academia, or to superficially commit their time and spirit to general workplaces far removed from their training and expertise. I quite expect to conform to any one of these approaches once the project closes, but through America 88x50 I intend to celebrate the past and the future through the present.