In contrast to the introspective and somber mood that some of this project's composers understandably express, I purposely decided to write an unabashedly virtuosic tango, whose dark corners nevertheless aspire to communicate joy, humor and perhaps a glimmer of hope.
Composer/pianist and Steinway Artist Jed Distler studied with Andrew Thomas, Stanley Lock and William Komaiko, and taught for more than 20 years at Sarah Lawrence College. Early in his career Distler gained acclaim for his transcriptions of jazz piano solos by Art Tatum and Bill Evans, while his new music piano recitals have offered premiers of works by Virgil Thomson, Richard Rodney Bennett, Frederic Rzewski, Alvin Curran, Lois V Vierk, William Schimmel and many more. Distler’s presenting organization ComposersCollaborative, Inc earned a 2013 Guinness Record for world’s largest keyboard ensemble, featuring an original work scored for 175 electronic keyboards. Distler has recorded prolifically for the high resolution Spirio player piano, while TNC Music released Distler’s most recent solo piano CD “Fearless Monk.” (available from Bandcamp). Among current projects include 1,827 Piano Bagatelles for the Beethoven 2027 anniversary year.
As Artist-in-Residence for WWFM.Org The Classical Network, Distler is the creator, host and producer of the 2017 ASCAP Deems Taylor Virgil Thomson Award radio program Between the Keys. Distler contributes reviews and articles to Gramophone and Classicstoday.com, and has written numerous CD booklet notes for Sony/BMG and Universal Classics.
As the artistic director of Center for Musical Excellence, I am always on the look out for new and undiscovered talents. They come to me, sometimes, by my colleagues’ recommendations and other times through young artists’ own research about our organization. Tyson Davis and Andrew Bambridge are currently on our roster of CME Young Artists, whom we mentor. Patricio Molina is a CME alumnus. Theo Chandler, Ji-Young Ko, and Daniel Newman-Lessler applied for our Grant program, and I got to know their work through that process. I decide on young artists when I notice a deep passion and drive within them, plus a certain kind of sparkle in the personality and lots of humility. In addition to musical talents, I believe these are the qualities that will take the young artists far. CME’s motto is "Moving Musicians Forward". I’ve chosen our Discovery Composers based on these qualities, whom we felt we could easily move forward.
- Min Kwon