(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Dan Tepfer, a New York-based pianist and composer, one of the most formidable jazz musicians on the international stage, will perform his solo project, “Goldberg Variations/Variations,” at the Hudson Opera House on Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 7pm, as part of the inaugural season of Classics on Hudson, designed to showcase internationally celebrated artists performing music from treasured classics to the present day.
Tepfer approaches J.S. Bach’s masterpiece with his own improvisations in this totemic work. “This is no stunt, but a fresh musical exploration,” writes Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times. “Mr. Tepfer invites you to hear this masterpiece through his ears. I bet Bach would recognize a kindred spirit in Mr. Tepfer.”
Tepfer’s recital – a Valentine’s Day benefit concert which includes a post-performance reception with the artist, proceeds of which are to benefit Classics on Hudson — is sold out.
At age 29, Dan Tepfer has developed a rare improvisational gift and a complex yet deeply melodic approach to music. He has performed the world over in contexts ranging from solo piano to full orchestra, exploring a wide variety of idioms but always in the service of a personal aesthetic, a unified artistic identity. He has chronicled his talents on the solo disc “Twelve Improvisations in Twelve Keys” (2009) as well as the trio sessions “Before the Storm” (2005), “Oxygen” (2007) and “Five Pedals Deep,” with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Ted Poor.
Tepfer has also had the extraordinary privilege of a sustained, ongoing duo partnership with alto saxophonist and jazz luminary Lee Konitz. The two documented their rapport on the acclaimed 2009 Sunnyside CD “Duos With Lee.” Whether they’re freely improvising, exploring Dan’s original compositions or applying their interpretive prowess to the Great American Songbook, the Tepfer-Konitz duo achieves stirring results and embodies the notion of jazz as an artistic exchange across the generations. In addition, Tepfer has had the honor of performing with Steve Lacy, Paul Motian, Bob Brookmeyer, Joe Lovano, Ralph Towner, Mark Turner, Billy Hart and other innovators.
Born to American parents in Paris, France in 1982, Tepfer began classical piano studies at age six at the Paris Conservatoire Paul Dukas. He took a somewhat circuitous route to a jazz career, earning a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. But beginning even as a toddler, Tepfer explored improvisation on his own. He played extensively on the jazz scene in college and enjoyed a brief stint as an opera conductor.
After graduating in 2005 from Boston’s New England Conservatory, where he completed his masters under the guidance of Danilo Perez, Tepfer moved to New York and quickly became an in-demand player and composer. In addition to working with his new trio, Tepfer continues to focus on full solo piano concerts of freely improvised music. His playing, whatever the context, is a model of fluidity and steady, effortless motion, immersed in jazz history but creating new history in turn.