Goldberg Variations/Variations

  • Windham Civic Centre Concert Hall 5379 New York 23 Windham, NY, 12496 United States

In what the Wall Street Journal calls a "bridge across centuries and genres", renowned jazz pianist and APA Cole Porter Fellow Dan Tepfer follows his performance of each of Bach's original Variations with an improvised variation of his own. Join us as we launch the 23Arts Windham Summer Music & Jazz Festival with this stunning display of jazz and classical mastery.

Dan Tepfer has created a kaleidoscopic experience with his solo album Goldberg Variations / Variations, the jazz pianist approaching J.S. Bach's masterpiece one of the classical canon's most totemic works as an inspiring font for creativity. Interspersed with his affectionate interpretation of the complete "Goldbergs" are his own improvised variations on Bach's variations. No Jacques Loussier-style swinging of the classics, Tepfer's variations are marked by a ruminative joy, spiced with contemporary dissonances and a deep feel for the source as timeless music beyond category. 

Although the Goldberg Variations are beloved now as an entrancing, virtually sacred work of art, Johann Sebastian Bach published the score consisting of an "aria" and a set of 30 variations in 1741 as a keyboard study, with the piece later nicknamed for the harpsichordist who might have been its first performer. From Glenn Gould to Pierre Hantaï, the modern world's greatest classical artists have performed and recorded the "Goldbergs." Investing himself totally in music he has known since childhood, Dan Tepfer recorded his Goldberg Variations / Variations completely solo, even engineering the late-night sessions himself for total immersion in the process. The result is both utterly individual and genuinely moving.

This is no stunt, but a fresh musical exploration... I bet Bach would recognize a kindred spirit in Mr. Tepfer.
— Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

Co-presented by 23Arts Windham Summer Music & Jazz Festival. Read more HERE.

Total runtime: 85 minutes, no intermission

Read 2013 The New Times Review of Dan Tepfer's Goldberg Variations Variations

Read essay by Dan Tepfer, Doing It Bachward: My Unexpected Goldberg Variations

About Dan Tepfer: Born in Paris to American parents, pianist-composer Dan Tepfer has translated his bi-cultural identity into an exploration of music that ignores stylistic bounds. As the New York Times has written, he “combines superb technique with a complex set of impulses: he's a deeply rational improviser drawn to the unknown”. He has worked with the leading lights in jazz, including extensively with saxophone luminary Lee Konitz, while releasing seven albums as a leader in solo, duo and trio formats. As a composer, he is a recipient of the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for works including Concerto for Piano and Winds, premiered in the Prague Castle with himself on piano, and Solo Blues for Violin and Piano, premiered at Carnegie Hall. Awards include first prize and audience prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition, first prize at the East Coast Jazz Festival Competition, and the Cole Porter Fellowship from the American Pianists Association. His recent soundtrack for the independent feature Movement and Location was voted Best Original Score at the Brooklyn Film Festival. 

A short feature on pianist Dan Tepfer's solo project Goldberg Variations / Variations, where he follows each of JS Bach's Variations with an improvised variation of his own. Goldberg Variations / Variations is available on Sunnyside Records.