Greg Anderson (pianist)

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Greg Anderson
Greg Anderson Piano Barbados Spring2009.jpg
Anderson playing a recital in Barbados
Born Gregory Neil Anderson
(1981-09-28) September 28, 1981 (age 33)
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Residence New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Nationality American
Alma mater The Juilliard School
Occupation Pianist, composer, video producer, writer
Spouse(s) Carl Berdahl (2010–present)[1]

Greg Anderson (born September 28, 1981) is an American pianist, composer, video producer, and writer. Greg's mission, as declared on his website, is to "make classical piano music a relevant and powerful force in society."[1][2]

Early years, education, and piano studies[edit]

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Greg Anderson began his piano studies at the age of seven. He soon became a student of Kim Craig, with whom he studied for eleven years at the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music. Craig encouraged Anderson to compete in regional piano competitions and participate in music festivals. During his high school years, he attended the Aspen Music Festival and the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival. He also sat as concertmaster of the Stillwater Area High School Orchestra.[1]

At the age of 18, Anderson moved to Manhattan to study with Julian Martin at The Juilliard School. He attended Pianofest in the Hamptons and the Banff Keyboard Festival during his undergraduate years.[3] During this period in his life, Anderson was influenced heavily by the intense energy at Juilliard and the friends he made there, including Elizabeth Joy Roe (who would become his piano duo partner), The 5 Browns, Helen Huang, and other members of Anderson's piano class. One of Anderson's most frequently cited memories from Juilliard is his piano class's creation of a musical production entitled "Life Between the Keys," which chronicled life at Juilliard and highlighted the camaraderie among members of the piano class, dispelling rumors of cut-throat competition at the conservatory.[2]

Anderson received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Piano Performance from Juilliard in 2004 and 2006.[4] He was also awarded the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship in 2004.[5] He then studied with Peter Frankl in the Master of Musical Arts (MMA) program at the Yale School of Music, where he is now pursuing a doctoral degree. Aside from his work in academic settings, Anderson also has a long history of studying with distinguished pianist and pedagogue Aiko Onishi.[1]

Solo career[edit]

Anderson performs as a solo artist around the world. He is known for his exciting thematic programming which runs the gamut from standard piano solo repertoire to his own compositions and arrangements. Anderson believes that the salon phenomenon, in which the performer engages the audience and encourages questions, comments, and participation, is the quintessential musical experience. Thus, many of his concerts include these elements.[6]

Anderson and Roe piano duo[edit]

In addition to playing solo performances, Anderson concertizes with his piano duo partner Elizabeth Joy Roe. During 2010, they played concerts in at least 15 venues in the United States.[2] They have achieved fame through their concerts, CDs, and, perhaps most significantly, their music videos (see below).

The duo's partnership has been characterized as "the intense synchronization of genius"[7] and "the most innovative piano duo around."[8] They are widely known for their daring four-hand piano technique, as described by the Southampton Press: "Their hand movements and the intertwining of arms, and it seemed at times of fingers, was elaborately and brilliantly choreographed. There were times when their hands seemed magically to occupy the same space, though they were playing different notes. The entire process was a small ballet of the hands, as wonderful to watch as to hear."[2]

Music videos[edit]

Solo videos[edit]

According to Anderson, producing music videos began as an experiment with the medium "for the fun of it." His two solo music videos, Ligeti's The Devil's Staircase[9] and Bach's Sheep May Safely Graze,[10] were two of the first videos he ever produced, and he clearly envisioned them as complementary works. During the introduction to the Ligeti, Anderson instructs listeners: "Imagine you're in hell and you want out." In the Bach video, on the other hand, he instead instructs listeners: "Imagine you're in heaven and all is at peace." These videos demonstrate that Anderson believes in contextualizing classical music for his listeners. This will become a theme in his later works.

Piano duo videos[edit]

Anderson also produces Anderson and Roe's music videos (all of which were produced after the aforementioned solo videos). The videos add several extra dimensions to Anderson and Roe's already stellar artistry. For example, as demonstrated in the video of Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos,[11] visual cues express the alternation of orderly and chaotic sections of Mozart's music when video frames show a symmetric performance stage juxtaposed with a stage in which the pianos begin to flicker and even disappear. Other videos, such as the duo's version of Piazzolla's Libertango,[12] demonstrate the sheer physicality, danger, and sexuality that four hands at one piano embody.

In summary, as Jay Wilson blogs, Anderson and Roe's videos "explore the narrative suggested by the music they play, [and they] allow the viewer access to the physical element of piano duetting."[13]

Composition[edit]

Anderson's oeuvre consists of arrangements, fantasies, and original compositions. Many of the works written for the piano duo are credited in concert programs and on CD notes as being by Anderson & Roe; however, ASCAP and the published scores list Anderson as the sole composer.[14]

Anderson's works have been premiered in such venues as the Rose Bowl, Alice Tully Hall, and the Grand National Theater in China. His compositions for The 5 Browns have appeared on the EMI, Sony/BMG, and E1 Entertainment record labels.[1] His compositions are published by Awkward Fermata Press.[14]

Web publishing[edit]

The websites Greg has created (andersonpiano.com[1] & andersonroe.com[2]) are a form of artistic expression in themselves, while they also allow his fans to interact directly with him and the piano duo. The websites include comment boxes where visitors can suggest works for future performances, ask questions of the performers, and vote in polls regarding their favorite classical music composers. There are also forums that recommend how audience members can best listen to classical music and forums that solicit advice from visitors on the same topic. Each website also includes biographies in two forms: a classic form and a choose-your-own-adventure form, which seems to espouse Anderson's reverence for audience and fan participation in all walks of life.

Music videos[edit]

Solo videos[edit]

Piano Duo videos[edit]

Other videos[edit]

Five pianos[edit]

Discography[edit]

Solo[edit]

  • "Bestiary" (in progress)
  • "On Wings of Song" (2006)

Duo[edit]

  • "Reimagine" (2008)

Other[edit]

  • Anderson G and Kaplan D (2007). "Interior Landscapes I & II" [Audio CD]. Connecticut, USA. Laderman ; Bagatelles, op 33 / Beethoven ; Concerto op 3 no 9 BWV 972 / [Vivaldi] ; arr. Bach ; Sarabande / Lully ; Menuet in A minor / Rameau.
  • A live performance by the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo is featured on the "Sounds of Juilliard" CD celebrating the school's centennial year.

Compositions[edit]

Solo piano[edit]

  • Mathilde, Marieke, et Madeline (2010)
  • Variation on "March of the Puritans" from Bellini's I puritani (2009)
  • Piano Variations (2004)
  • Etude No. 1: "Asimov vs. Huxley" (2003)
  • life is more true than reason will deceive (2002)
  • Piano Fantasy in D minor (1998)

Two piano[edit]

  • Arne: "The Glitt'ring Sun" from The Morning (2010)
  • Schumann: "Mondnacht" from Liederkreis, Op. 39 (2010)
  • Carmen Fantasy (based on Bizet's Carmen) (2010)
  • Mozart: "Soave sia il vento" from Cosi fan tutte (2010)
  • Radiohead: "Paranoid Android" (2009)
  • Bach: "Aus Liebe will mein Heiland Sterben" from St. Matthew's Passion (2009)
  • Saint-Saëns: The Swan (2007)
  • Danse macabre: remix (based on music by Saint-Saëns) (2007)
  • Schubert: "The Crow" from Winterreise (2007)
  • Daquin: The Cuckoo in Sussex (2007)
  • Turtle "Stayin' Alive" (based on music by the Bee Gees) (2007)
  • The Cat's Fugue (based on a fugue subject by Scarlatti) (2007)
  • Williams: Star Wars Fantasy: Four Impressions for two pianos (2006)
  • Bach: "Erbarme Dich" from St. Matthew's Passion (2005)
  • Saint-Saëns: Danse Macabre (2002)

Piano Four Hands[edit]

  • Stölzel/Bach: "Bist du bei mir," arranged for piano, four-hands AND simple treble melody (voice, violin, clarinet, etc.). E-flat major. Low melody pitch: E-flat above middle C. High melody pitch: two A-flats above middle C. (2010)
  • Jackson: "Billie Jean" (2010)
  • Gluck: "Ballet" from Orfeo ed Euridice (also known as "Melody") (2010)
  • Kreisler: Tambourin Chinois (2009)
  • Mozart: "Grand Scherzo," based on the Finale to Act I of Cosi fan tutte (2009)
  • Rachmaninoff: "Vocalise" (2009)
  • Fantasy on The Last Rose of Summer (2008)
  • "Irish Tune from County Derry", arranged for piano, four-hands from the Grainger version for solo piano (2008)
  • Debussy: Clair de lune (arranged for piano, six-hands) (2007)
  • Khachaturian: Sabre Dance (2006)
  • Dukas: The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2005)
  • Piazzolla: Libertango (2004)
  • "A New Account of the Blue Danube Waltzes" (2004)

Piano Ensemble[edit]

  • Three Waltzes for Five Browns: Disney Waltz Medley, for five pianos (2009)
  • "Over the Rainbow: Fantasy for Five Pianos" (based on tunes from The Wizard of Oz by Harold Arlen) (2009)
  • John Williams: "Star Wars: Suite for Five Pianos," arranged for five pianos (2009)
  • Dario Marianelli: "Atonement," arranged for five pianos (2009)
  • "Happy Times," a traditional Chinese folk song, arranged for five pianos (2008)
  • Mozart: "Rondo alla turca," arranged for five pianos (2008)
  • "Ragtime alla turca" for five pianos, based on Mozart's Rondo alla turca (2008)
  • "Dance Macabre: Hootenanny for Five Pianos" based on Saint-Saëns' Danse Macabre (2008)
  • Holst: "The Planets: Suite for Five Pianos" – I. Mars, The Bringer of War; II. Neptune, The Mystic; III. Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity. (2008)
  • Debussy: Clair de lune (arranged for piano, six-hands) (2007)
  • "Everybody Loves Somebody" arranged for 5 pianos and voice (2007)
  • Rachmaninoff: "18th Variation" from Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, arranged for five pianos (2006)
  • Fantasia on "Dives and Lazarus," for five pianos (2006)
  • Anderson: "Sleigh Ride: A Holiday Excursion for Five Pianos" (2006)
  • "The Star-Spangled Banner, and then some," for five pianos (2006)

Other[edit]

  • Stölzel/Bach: "Bist du bei mir," arranged for piano, four-hands AND simple treble melody (voice, violin, clarinet, etc.). E-flat major. Low melody pitch: E-flat above middle C. High melody pitch: two A-flats above middle C. (2010)
  • Piazzolla: Oblivion, arranged for Euphonium and Piano (2008)
  • "life is more true than reason will deceive" for Soprano and Piano (2002)
  • Sarabande for Violin and Piano (2001)
  • French Overture for String Orchestra (1997)

Writing[edit]

  • The Art and Evolution of Piano Recital Programming (in progress)[1]

Media Appearances[edit]

Miscellaneous endeavors[edit]

  • Designing and organizing "Life Between the Keys," a concert featuring the Juilliard Piano Class of 2004
  • Broadway debut in 2005 playing the role of "Vernon Duke" in the musical Misia at New York City's 42nd Street Playwright Horizons.
  • Speaker/performer at 2008 and 2010 Entertainment Gatherings in Monterey, CA[8]

Honors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Web Site of Concert Pianist Greg Anderson
  2. ^ a b c d e The Official Website of the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
  3. ^ "Alumni Page". Stillwater Orchestra. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Alumni News: February 2009". Juilliard.edu. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Greg Anderson (BM '04, MM '06, piano) 
  5. ^ "Greg Anderson". Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  6. ^ Music Listening Manifesto by Anderson & Roe
  7. ^ Dunigan, Peggy Sue (June 22, 2009). "Anderson and Roe dazzles the ivories at PianoArts concert". ThirdCoast Arts Digest. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "EG List of Past Presenters". the-eg.com. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  9. ^ Ligeti: The Devil's Staircase
  10. ^ Bach: Sheep May Safely Graze
  11. ^ Mozart: Sonata for Two Pianos in D major
  12. ^ Piazzolla: Libertango
  13. ^ "From songs, music, and ideas". Blog of Jay Wilson. April 24, 2009. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "Title Search Result". ASCAP. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Videos". Muggle Net. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  16. ^ ""Live from Fraser" Media Website". WGBH. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Artists: A.". Steinway. Retrieved November 28, 2010.