Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Pianist Roy Eaton Plays “7 Gershwin Preludes” On Roosevelt Island Oct. 6

[24/7+7: The Complete Preludes of Chopin, Gershwin & Still; Roy Eaton, piano; Summit (2002)]

New York City's Roosevelt Island, in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, celebrates its annual “Fall For Arts Festival” on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2007. Information is available at the website www.rioc.com Artists, actors, singers, dancers and musicians who live on the island will give free performances at a series of indoor and outdoor events. A highlight of the day will be an evening concert by African American pianist Roy F. Eaton in the chapel of the Church of the Good Shepherd. Eaton says:

I will be playing a short program featuring the 7 Gershwin Preludes at about 8 PM in the chapel. They've rented a beautiful Steinway B for me so the sound should be good.”

The pianist commented on the role of George Gershwin in the development of American music:

“Gershwin broke the categories that separate Classical, Jazz, Pop and Broadway in creating a unique musical sound heavily influenced by African-American roots. He was truly an American original.”

The pianist's website, www.RoyEaton.net, gives this overview of his career:

Roy Eaton, winner of the first Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Award in June 1950, made his American debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing Chopin's F minor Concerto under George Schick in 1951. He was re-engaged to perform Beethoven's 4th concerto the following season, and also made his New York Town Hall debut in 1952. His career was "temporarily" interrupted by 2 years of service in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict, then approximately 30 years in advertising at Young & Rubicam, then as V.P. Music Director of Benton & Bowles, then running his own production company. He is currently on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music. In addition to Chopin, his performances of the music of Scott Joplin have been particularly noteworhy. "My mission has been to restore Joplin's works to the domain that it was his intention that they live--as classical works in the tradition of the great European masters that constituted an important inspirational resource for him."

One of Roy Eaton's recordings from the Sony Essential Classics series is featured at the Scott Joplin (1868-1917) page of AfriClassical.com: Piano Rags, Sony SBK 833 (1995). More recently, Eaton has also released Scott Joplin's Piano Rags, Sony SBK 89886 (2002).

In the same year, Eaton released 24/7+7: The Complete Preludes of Chopin, Gershwin & Still Summit (2002).

A February 2007 release is Keyboard Classics for Children, Summit on which Roy Eaton performs works of Bach, Mozart, Eaton, Debussy, Pinto, Schumann, Joplin and Golson. Amazon.com gives this description of the recording:

Music inspired by the experience of childhood! Cover illustrations by Roy Eaton's sons, drawn when they were two years old. They have reopened the world of discovery for him, and this recording will do the same for parents and children everywhere. Eaton won his first piano competition in Carnegie Hall at the age of seven.”

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