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Award-Winning New York Jazz Pianist/Composer Dan Tepfer to Present Free Concerts and Workshops at SMU, Jan. 25-27

Music Blends Classical, Jazz, Improvisation, Computer Science and Astrophysics

Dan Tepfer SMU Meadows

The Meadows School of the Arts welcomes extraordinary jazz pianist/composer/recording artist Dan Tepfer for a three-day residency, January 25-27, which includes two free concerts and two workshops, all of which are open to the public.

Tepfer has made a name for himself as a pianist-composer of wide-ranging ambition, individuality and drive — “a remarkable musician” in the words of The Washington Post and one “who refuses to set himself limits” in those of France’s Télérama. The New York City-based Tepfer, born in 1982 in Paris to American parents, has performed with some of the leading lights in jazz, including extensively with veteran saxophone luminary Lee Konitz. As a leader, Tepfer has crafted a discography already striking for its breadth and depth, ranging from probing solo improvisation and intimate duets to richly layered trio albums of original compositions. 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. Bringing together his undergraduate studies in astrophysics with his passion for music, he is currently working on integrating computer-driven algorithms into his improvisational approach.

“I have always been in awe and profoundly humbled by Dan’s creative process, skills and his unique ability to combine his background in classical music, jazz, composition, improvisation, computer science and astrophysics in a seamless, logical and amazingly approachable and always esthetically beautiful way,” said pianist Alessio Bax, Johnson-Prothro Artist-in-Residence at SMU Meadows and an organizer of the residency. “His work is inspirational on so many levels, and we are thrilled to bring him to campus!”

The schedule of events is as follows:

Friday, January 25 – Workshops

12 p.m.: Chamber Music Class with Dan Tepfer and the Julius Quartet
O’Donnell Hall, Room 2130 – Owen Arts Center
1 p.m.:   Composition Masterclass
Room 2020 – Owen Arts Center

Saturday, January 26 – Concert: “Natural Machines”

O’Donnell Hall, Room 2130 – Owen Arts Center

7:30 p.m.: Tepfer will showcase his latest project, “Natural Machines,” in which he returns to his background in science for an exploration of the intersection between algorithms and improvisation. Using Yamaha’s Disklavier, he has written programs that respond in real time to his improvisations, leading to an exceptional melding of man and machine. Simultaneously, algorithmic projections create a mesmerizing visual universe that reveals the underlying musical structure. National Public Radio (NPR)’s 2017 short documentary on this project, Fascinating Algorithm, has been viewed over 1.4 million times on Facebook.

Sunday, January 27 – Concert: Dan Tepfer and the Julius Quartet

O’Donnell Hall, Room 2130 – Owen Arts Center

2 p.m.: Dan Tepfer’s second recital at SMU Meadows will focus on two works. In the first half of the concert he will play excerpts from his acclaimed solo album Goldberg Variations / Variations, in which he performs J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations masterpiece as well as improvising upon it to “build a bridge across centuries and genres” (The Wall Street Journal). New York Magazine called the album “elegant, thoughtful and thrilling,” while DownBeat declared it “one of the more audacious, accomplished recordings of the year.” In the second half of the concert, the vibrant Julius Quartet, Meadows’ Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence, will join Tepfer for a performance of his groundbreaking piano quintet, Solar Spiral, a three-movement piece commissioned by the Ravinia Festival.

For more information call 214-768-2787.

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