Daniel Greenbush discusses classical music

Why This Music at This Time?

“Classical music in America is now basically irrelevant — marginalized, not covered in any mainstream media and reduced to fodder for cheap jokes on TV sitcoms. Schools, unless you live in a wealthy school district, have virtually eliminated all meaningful encounters with western classical music … Arts blogs are filled with stories of another orchestra teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, or the dire straits many dance and opera companies find themselves in.

“There are glimmers of hope however.  In New York City you have “Le Poisson Rouge,” in Boston the “Goat Rodeo,” where artist of different stripes play in cabaret/tavern/grill settings.  In many large cities in the U.S. there are ventures where groups and venues rotate and classical musicians are literally ‘takin’ it to the streets.’

“Which brings me to selection of repertoire — It is more critical than ever that we pianists present a variety of musical offerings on concerts. As Horowitz used to say:  “A concert should be a pleasure.”

“In learning new repertoire I have to live with the music I choose on a daily basis for three-quarters of a year–it is imperative that I select music I love and believe needs to be heard. Each piece or group I select speaks of what it is to be human, as does all art, and is chosen because I believe in its beauty and distinct uniqueness with which it addresses this goal. My work in musical theatre taught me the importance of an emotional arc in any theatre going experience and I plan my concerts with that concept in mind — that entertainment and  moments of heart-stopping beauty could coexist. And I love to talk at my concerts … something that more and more musician’s are finding satisfying and important.’

“My technique and approach to the piano was infused at an early age with the Russian idea that the piano was a ‘singing’ instrument.  But composers from the late 19th century into the 20th explored the innate percussive capabilities of the piano.  Bartok, Stravinsky, Cowell, Prokofieff, Crumb, to name a few, are not primarily interested in imitating singing, so the pianist must change their approach accordingly.

Our Aptos-Santa Cruz Musical Audience?

“From what I can tell, your area, along with the Monterey Peninsula, offers unique and plentiful opportunities to hear solo piano recitals–a situation not found in any except the largest cities.  I can only say “Bravi tutti.”

His post SDSU faculty Career?

“I’m having the time of my life.  I am able to choose whatever I want to play and have an agent/friend of 45 years that arranges as many dates as I care to accept.  Since I don’t play golf, what could be better?

Daniel Greenbush is a classical pianist, former Music faculty of San Diego State University, music teacher and coach and Music Director for the Opera Theatre program.  He also worked with the San Diego Repertory Theatre, Theatre in Old Town, the Old Globe, Starlight CLO, Moonlight Theatre, the AVO Theatre, Sledgehammer Theatre, Lamplighters, and Patio Playhouse, among others, earning the award for Musical Director of the year in 2003.

DACS Artistic & Executive Director John Orlando says Greenbush was recommended by a highly respected music critic. “His program, one of the most interesting and varied of any previous performer, includes what I think is Haydn’s most delightful sonata, plus a fascinating panoply of piano preludes by Shostakovich, Schubert, Liszt, Gershwin, Debussy and Rachmaninoff. What’s not to like?  — this is a fabulous program performed by a consummate artist.”

In his visit for DACS Greenbush will also be performing piano for children in local schools with Santa Cruz pianist Lynn Kidder.  Kidder was awarded a Professional Development Grant this summer from the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County to attend the Golandsky Institute Summer Symposium for piano technique at Princeton University.

The Distinguished Artists Concert Series

 “This series seems to get better every year,” Orlando says. “This season is no exception. Following Mr. Greenbush’s stellar performance, James D’Leon, a phenomenal young pianist, will offer a completely different kind of program: Beethoven’s 32 Variations in C Minor, Litany by Takemitsu, a Liszt ballade, the Ghost Variations by George Tsontakis, concluding with Saint Saen’s Danse Macabre.

“And for something completely different, the great American classical guitarist, Benjamin Verdery will perform on November 4 in the intimate setting of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Aptos.

“Probably our most famous artist, Russian pianist Yevgeny Sudbin, will return to the Series following his spectacular performance at the Crocker Theatre one year ago.

“We are especially proud to welcome the return of Israeli cellist, Amit Peled, and his famous Guarneri cello made in 1685, unquestionably the most beautiful sounding musical instrument I have ever heard.

“The series concludes with a performance for young people by the charming and beautiful Chinese pianist Ang Li whose dazzling technique and daring have thrilled audiences throughout the world.”

2 Responses to Daniel Greenbush discusses classical music

  1. bob hart April 27, 2013 at 1:44 am #

    Hello Dan,
    Heard of a very good performance recently at Woodbury Hall in Pacific Beach. Sorry I missed it.
    Are you in the San Diego area around October 20th or Nov. 3rd? I am a Music committee volunteer for the SDPL (new downtown library on 330 Park Blvd ! ) trying to book a soloist last minute for the Inaugural 2013 Fall Concert Series. modest fee $190., we love music and talk., bring your own business license & liability insurance, or we can help, Steinway “B” recently voiced and regulated, brand new 350 seat state of the art auditorium on the eighth floor. Can you reply yea or nay at your earliest convenience… before next Friday May 3rd? All I need from you is a phone# for contact to relay to our chairman Vic Cardell at the SDPL… and he will then continue with details of concert promotion.
    Bob Hart
    ps. it is so very nice to read your blog!

  2. bob hart April 27, 2013 at 1:48 am #

    Truly hope you receive this email invite (and previous email) to perform a piano recital at the new SDPL auditorium Sunday October 20th or November 3 at 2:30 pm.
    I could not find you email address.
    Best wishes in good music and health!
    Bob Hart