Internationally renowned classical and jazz pianist and Steinway Artist Meral Guneyman invites her friends and fellow Steinway Artists Jed Distler and Christopher O’Riley to perform a concert of groundbreaking transcriptions to celebrate the musical odyssey of David Bowie.
Their collaborative performance, “FEARLESS: A Concert of Transcriptions,” will take place at The Times Center in New York City on Saturday, December 4, at 7:30 pmThe program will feature Guneyman’s piano transcriptions of works by Bowie, as well as a tapestry of works by classical and jazz composers who influenced him: Philip Glass; Igor Stravinsky; Richard Strauss; and Thelonious Monk.
Presenting this concert will be the World Council of Peoples for the United Nations (www.wcpun.org) – for which Guneyman has served as a cultural advisor since 2014.
“With Guneyman and FEARLESS, the World Council of Peoples for the United Nations is honored to pay tribute to David Bowie, the artist, the scholar, and his influences that reach across cultures and generations,” said WCPUN President Dr. Sherrill Kazan Alvarez de Toledo. WCPUN – a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization associated with the UN Department of Global Communications – is dedicated to facilitating partnerships across sectors internationally that promote awareness and implementation of UN goals.
“The art of David Bowie has evolved in my heart and mind over the past four years – from transcribing his lesser-known songs to studying in-depth the man, the artist and his private life and public persona,” Guneyman said. “The result has been a compilation of Bowie’s works, along with those of his favorite classical and contemporary composers. The works and composers I’ve included are among those Bowie admired most.”
For this concert, Guneyman plans to premiere “a selection of the most lyrical Bowie songs,” she says, including such unusual ones as “Lady Grinning Soul,” “I Would Be Your Slave,” and “Where are we now?” As part of the concert, Guneyman and Distler together will offer Guneyman’s two-piano score of “Some Are,” the second movement of the 1992 Symphony No. 1 (“Low”) by American composer Philip Glass, based upon the song of the same title from Bowie’s 1977 album “Low.”
Guneyman and O’Riley will present the late Russian composer Igor Stravinsky’s monumental, modernistic and avant-garde 1913 “Rite of Spring” ballet score. Among other solo pieces, Guneyman will perform her transcription of “September,” one of the late German composer Richard Strauss’ “Four Last Songs” collection from the late 1940s.
The concert will close with a collection of timeless standards by the late American jazz legend Thelonious Monk, transcribed by Distler for two pianos and performed by both Guneyman and Distler. Distler is a Monk aficionado whose own 2019 album of solo-piano transcriptions – “Fearless Monk: 29 Songs by Thelonious Monk” – helped inspire the title and nature of this coming Bowie-themed concert.
“Jed suggested this title for our concert, because of the adventurous nature of the program and its demands upon the performers,” Guneyman said.
Concerning her affinity for Bowie and his musical legacy, Guneyman said, “The fact that all this music is so close to my heart is as serendipitous as the fact that David Bowie and I both share the same date of birth (January 8) and record label (Rykodisc).”
Bowie, the late pioneering, iconic English singer/songwriter, 69, died in New York City in 2016. He released more than 25 studio albums and 20 live albums, among others, over the course of more than five decades.
Submitted by the publicist to Meral Guneyman
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