Saturday, December 09, 2006

Eric Barnhill and David Dolan

I've recently met Eric Barnhill (in person, at the ISIM conference) and David Dolan (via email), each a wonderful classically-trained pianist using improvisation in different ways. What is similar about them both is that they improvise in a common-practice musical language.

Eric, who has a blog of improvisations (such a great idea and one I may appropriate for myself), described his style to me as a mix of Brahms and Schubert; he's also a teacher of Dalcroze Eurythmics and has developed his own form of music therapy.

David heads the Centere for Classical Improvisation and Creative Performance at the Guildhall School in London, and teaches from time to time at Juilliard as well. His site has clips of him performing in the styles of Mozart and Chopin. What I find especially exciting about David's work is his emphasis on the relationship between improvisation (of notes) and interpretation of composed music.

It's that relationship that I found myself writing about more and more as I worked on the preliminary ideas for my book last spring. Good, alive classical music performance has many improvised aspects to it. Improvising music (including adding embellishments and ornamentation) and interpreting music in a flexible, improvisatory way, are both expressions of a performers musical creativity. To me, they are aspects of the same human drive.

1 comment:

Mike Lunapiena said...

Eric, thanks for those links, I just checked out Eric Barhnill's site & it's very interesting!!

Even cooler to discover is that he's done stuff in some of the same neighborhoods I live by (White Plains & New York City)

Anyway, thanks very much!