My response to this project was that quintessential American invention, ragtime - albeit, via our neighbors to the south in Havana.
(Scott Joplin’s Solace comes to mind). Toward the end is a nod to our other beloved American anthem.
Composer and pianist John Musto is that all too rare exemplar, the classical composer whose work is both critically acclaimed and widely performed, who has also distinguished himself as an instrumental soloist and chamber musician. His activities encompass virtually every genre: orchestral and operatic, solo, chamber and vocal music, concerti, and music for film and television. His music embraces many strains of contemporary American concert music, enriched by sophisticated inspirations from jazz, ragtime and the blues.
His music embraces many strains of contemporary American concert music, enriched by sophisticated inspirations from jazz, ragtime and the blues. These qualities lend a strong profile to his vocal music, which ranges from a series of operas – Volpone, Later the Same Evening, Bastianello and The Inspector – to a catalogue of art songs that is among the finest of any living American composer.
As pianist he has performed repertoire from Galuppi sonatas to Bolcom études, Bach keyboard concerti to Bernstein's Age of Anxiety, his own piano concerti, Schubert lieder to the Great American Songbook. He also performs frequently with his wife, soprano Amy Burton, in recital and cabaret.
Mr. Musto was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his orchestral song cycle Dove Sta Amore, and is a recipient of two Emmy awards, two CINE Awards, a Rockefeller Fellowship at Bellagio, an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, and a Distinguished Alumnus award from the Manhattan School of Music. He is currently on the piano faculty of the CUNY Graduate Center in New York, where he also serves as Coordinator of the D.M.A. Program in Music Performance.
Musto's work has been recorded by Bridge, Harmonia Mundi, Nonesuch, Cedille, The Milken Archive, Naxos, Harbinger, CRI and EMI, Hyperion, MusicMasters, Innova, Channel Classics, Albany, and New World Records. He is published by Peermusic Classical.
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