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Traveling pianist to play his 32nd state in cross-country tour

Vermont musician to perform music of Charles Ives, Charles Griffes, Alberto Ginastera and Aaron Copland in free concerts

Posted: Thursday, November 03, 2005

Courtesy of Adam Tendler

  Piano man: Vermont pianist Adam Tendler will play Sunday and Monday night at the University of Alaska Southeast Egan Recital Hall, Room 112.

In June, Vermont pianist Adam Tendler set out on a yearlong tour of the United States, "America 88x50," with the hope of playing Charles Ives, Charles Griffes, Alberto Ginastera and Aaron Copland for free in all 50 states. His only requirement was that at least one person show up at each destination.

"The original concept of the program was that all the shows would just happen," Tendler said. "They weren't going to be planned."

That's led to some surprises, including an impromptu Fourth of July show in an oriental rug store in Iowa with a Steinway. But Tendler quickly discovered that a little logistics, however bare-bones, would make things a lot smoother.

Early this week, Tendler made it to Maui, where he enjoyed the unique Halloween celebration, the so-called "Mardi Gras of the Pacific," in Lahaina.

Alaska is the 32nd state on his tour. He plays at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 5-6, at the University of Alaska Southeast Egan Recital Hall in Room 112. Admission costs $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at Hearthside Books and the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council office, 206 N. Franklin St.

"I feel very strongly about this program," Tendler said. "This music deserves a lot more attention than it gets. It's a symbol for the diversity in American music, and a symbol for American art in general. Every time, the ingredients make it a very different performance. The only things that stay the same are the notes on the page."

In Concert

Adam Tendler, solo pianist

When: 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 5-6

Where: University of Alaska Southeast Egan Recital Hall, Room 112

Admission costs $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at Hearthside Books and the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council office, 206 N. Franklin St.

The program: Charles E. Ives (1874-1954) - "Three-Page Sonata (1905); Charles Tomlinson Griffes (1884-1920) - Three Tone-Pictures, Op.5 (1910-12) ;Sonata (1917-18, rev. 1919); Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) - Doce Preludios Americanos (1944); Aaron Copland (1900-1990) - Four Piano Blues (1926-48), Piano Sonata (1939-41).

Tendler was born in rural Vermont in 1982 and began classical piano training when he was 7. He graduated from the Indiana University School of Music in December 2003.

Last year, Tendler finished the first draft of "Psalm Cantata: Eight Meditations on a Theme by Mendelssohn through Psalm 119," for chorus, chamber choir, voice, strings, guitar and piano. He also started work as author and revisionist for the second edition of John Warthen Struble's "The History of American Classical Music."

Tendler raised money for "88x50" by teaching piano theory to students at the Monteverdi Music School in Montpelier, Vt., and working as a construction laborer on the Canadian border.

Tendler will open his show with "Kesson Daslef," a one-minute piece by the electronic music artist, and trained pianist, Aphex Twin. He picked Ives, Griffes, Ginastera and Copland for the influences they've had on jazz and folklore on North and South America.

"These composers were by no means trying to make any profound rebellious statement, and by no means were even intending to represent or make a patriotic statement," Tendler said. But they had this responsibility not only to assert themselves as creative composers, but also to assert themselves as American composers."

"Many times people have come away from this program very moved, but at the same time surprised about how they feel about the country," he said. "It gives a sense of honesty to the country, especially now, at a time when you don't have to be left-wing to be disenchanted with our surroundings."

• Korry Keeker can be reached at korry.keeker@juneauempire.com



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