- Featured: Pi-Hsien Chen
- Release Date: 7/1/2003
John Patrick Thomas was born in Denver, Colorado in 1941. His music studies began as a member of the American Boychoir in Princeton, New Jersey. At the age of 16, he became a composition student of Darius Milhaud and Charles Jones at the Aspen Music School and later studied with Andrew Imbrie and Seymour Shifrin at the University of California at Berkeley. After teaching at the State University of New York in Buffalo, he began a concert and opera career as a countertenor with a special interest in new music which brought him into contact with composers such as David Del Tredici, Lukas Foss, Betsy Jolas, Mauricio Kagel, Michael Finnissy, Elisabeth Lutyens, and Krzysztof Penderecki. He was also a founding member of The Five Centuries Ensemble. He currently lives in Hamburg, Germany, where he divides his time between composing and teaching singing. Since 2003, Thomas has been a member of the faculty of the Musical Department at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen. Pi-Hsien Chen was born in 1950 in Taiwan. At the age of nine she moved to Cologne, Germany, where, a year later, she joined the piano class of Hans-Otto Schmidt-Neuhaus. She won the first prize at the international ARD competition in Munich when she was 21. Later she won the Schönberg competition in Rotterdam and the Bach competition in Washington, D.C. She has performed in the major concert halls of Europe, Asia, and America and is one of the foremost proponents of new piano music in Europe. Her recordings include music by Bach (the Goldberg Variations and the Art of the Fugue), Barraqué, Boulez, and Schönberg's complete works for piano. After 1983, she was for many years a professor of piano at the Musikhochschule in Cologne and is currently a professor at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg. John Patrick Thomas LOST LANDSCAPES: Piano Music 1964-96 Notes by the composer All music comes from somewhere. My first musical experiences were centered around singing and playing the piano. My maternal great-grandfather was a professional band director in Berlin before becoming a farmer in North Dakota, one of my aunts was a talented pianist, and my mother was encouraged to pursue a singing career before she became my mother. The first instrument I remember is my grandparents' large, upright player-piano where, at the age of 3, with my hands, I pedaled my way through piano rolls of early 20th century popular songs, opera transcriptions, and also an original roll of Gershwin playing 'Whispering'. As a student, I was always more interested in improvisation than practicing. Because of this, my own piano technique is limited, but I think those hours of exploration and experimentation developed my passion for the sound of the instrument. This recording, suggested by Pi-Hsien Chen, to whom I'm profoundly grateful, contains the larger pieces I've written for the instrument since the mid-1960s. Each of them seems to represent the distillation of a particular moment in my life. I note there is an elegiac quality to all these pieces, but, given that, I think they still contain a fairly broad spectrum of expressive and technical intentions. I like music with a physical impulse, an awareness of the past, and hope for music of the future. I've written other solo piano pieces and works for two pianos and piano four-hands, but I've saved them for another day.
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