“History’s best composers were expected to churn out improvisational masterpieces with regularity, so why are our associations with improvisation so deeply tied to jazz, yet so little to the classic musical past?” So ask the folks at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College and the Catskill Jazz Factory; and it’s a good question. The latest collaboration between the two regional arts think tanks is a three-piano extravaganza scheduled for this Saturday evening, titled Improv Cubed: From Bach to the Great American Songbook, intended to stretch the boundaries of the way that we think today about improvisation as an ongoing force in musical expression.
The featured performers are classical pianist Tanya Gabrielian, jazz pianist Chris Pattishall and virtuoso André Mehmari on double piano. Spanning 300 years of musical history, their world-premiere performance will include variations on works by Bach, Scarlatti and Schubert as well as ragtime numbers, Brazilian choro, jazz and pop standards and showtunes.
Mehmari will give a free lecture previewing the concert at the Mountain Top Library in Tannersville on Friday, March 18 at 7 p.m. Improv Cubed will be performed at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 19 in the Fisher Center’s LUMA Theater. Tickets cost $30 and can be obtained by calling the box office at (845) 758-7900 or visiting https://fishercenter.bard.edu. The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts is located on the Bard College campus, just east of Route 9G in Annandale-on-Hudson.