Three Pianists Improvise on Bach, Schubert, and Gershwin at Bard

Tanya Gabrielian

Tanya Gabrielian

(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) – Classical pianist Tanya Gabrielian and jazz pianist Chris Pattishall join virtuoso André Mehmari on double piano in the world premiere of “Improv Cubed: From Bach to the Great American Songbook,” a musical journey spanning 300 years and featuring variations on works by Bach, Scarlatti, Schubert, and music from ragtime, Brazilian choro, and the so-called Great American Songbook, in the LUMA Theater in the Fisher Center at Bard College on Saturday, March 19, at 8pm. This is a coproduction of the Fisher Center and Catskill Jazz Factory.

History’s best composers were expected to churn out improvisational masterpieces with regularity, so why are our associations with improvisation so deeply tied to jazz, yet so little to the classic musical past? In this special concert, three pianists recreate the rich and hidden history of improvisation with variations on works by Bach, Scarlatti, Schubert, and music from ragtime, Brazilian choro, and the Great American Songbook.

Andre Mehmari

Andre Mehmari

Mehmari will give a free lecture previewing the concert at the Mountain Top Library in Tannersville on March 18, at 7pm.

This concert is part of an outstanding line up of Catskill Jazz programs curated and developed specifically for performances at the Fisher Center. The next program in the series is “Salute to Africa!” a world premiere, one-night-only lineup as part of a week-long residency with the Catskill Jazz Factory, with UHADI, masters of Johannesburg’s jazz scene.

Uhadi will be delivering a host of workshops, lectures and free performances across the region at venues including Hunter-Tannersville Central Elementary, Twin Peaks Coffee & Donuts, Millbrook High School, Webutuck High School, Kingston High School, Marist College, Bennett Intermediate School, and Bard College’s African and Jazz Studies departments.

UHADI is led by saxophonist McCoy Mrubata and features trumpeter Feya Faku, pianist Paul Hanmer, bassist Herbie Tsoaeli, and drummer Justin Badenhorst. In what promises to be a celebratory and joyful evening, UHADI will be joined by a host of special guests, including master Afro-Latin trombonist Chris Washburne, the remarkable trombonist Raynel Frazier, rising star South African vocalist Vuyo Sotashe, Zimbabwean mbira virtuoso Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa, blues guitarist Gary Wittner, saxophonist TK Blue, trumpeter Lesedi Ntsane, and vocal sensation Jazzmeia Horn.

Jazzmeia Horn is winner of the 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition — the most prestigious prize in jazz. Fellow UHADI special guest, Vuyo Sotashe, joined Horn in this year’s competition as one of three finalists.

The Catskill Jazz Factory

A sister program of the 23Arts Initiative, the Catskill Jazz Factory is a non-profit program founded in 2012 by Hudson Valley residents Piers and Lucy Playfair.

A powerful new arts model, the program offers in-school workshops and concerts, artist residencies, and world-class performances throughout the Hudson Valley. Through this programming, the Catskill Jazz Factory supports some of today’s best young jazz artists with educational, creative, and performance opportunities at diverse venues across the region. By partnering with educational facilities, arts organizations, and a variety of local non-profits and businesses, the Catskill Jazz Factory encourages audiences of all ages to participate in community building through jazz. Catskill Jazz Factory is funded by Friends of Tannersville Organization (FOTO), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.


The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College

Named for the late Richard B. Fisher, the former chair of Bard’s Board of Trustees, the Fisher Center has become an influential force in performing arts programming, earning critical acclaim for innovative productions of opera, orchestral, chamber, dance, and theater programs. The Center was designed by legendary architect Frank Gehry and distinguished acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, and has received international praise for its breathtaking architecture and superb sound.

Each summer the Fisher Center presents the Bard SummerScape festival, eight weeks of performing arts programs reflecting the life and times of the featured composer of the esteemed Bard Music Festival, now celebrating its 26th year. Fall and spring seasons include original productions, special one-night-only concerts, and touring artists from around the globe.

The Fisher Center is home to the Bard College Theater & Performance and Dance Programs, providing students access to exceptional theater facilities and opportunities to work with professional directors and dramaturges on publicly attended productions throughout the year. The Bard College Conservatory of Music and Bard College Music Program stage regular orchestral and chamber concerts.




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