“Conrad is the kind of musician who is shaping the future of classical music”
New York Magazine
“If NASA had a tenth of his talent, they’d be farming strawberries on Titan by now.”
San Francisco Classical Voice
On June 11th, 2013, Conrad Tao will celebrate his nineteenth birthday by kicking off the UNPLAY Festival, a three-day event conceived and curated by the pianist/composer. He will also release his debut full-length album on EMI Classics, entitledVoyages, featuring works by Ravel, Rachmaninov and Meredith Monk, as well as Conrad’s own compositions vestiges, for solo piano, and iridescence, for piano and iPad.
The three intimate evenings of the UNPLAY Festival (June 11-13), held in Brooklyn’s powerHouse arena, will broadly examine the musician’s changing role in contemporary culture. Themes will include the ephemeral nature of performance, the places where the past and the present collide and conflict, and the historical narratives surrounding classical music (including which works are considered “standard repertoire” and why). Performers will include Conrad himself, Face the Music, Iktus Percussion, Sideband, thingNY, Todd Reynolds and more.
Voyages, Conrad’s full-length debut album on EMI Classics (following his 2012 Juilliard Sessions EP) continues to develop the festival’s themes of change and progression, examining the shifting and unpredictable nature of movement in our lives. Says Conrad: “whether it be the surreal dream images of Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit or my own vestiges, the restless motion of Meredith Monk’s Railroad (Travel Song), or the various moods of Rachmaninov’s preludes, the most interesting transformations of our lives come about not so much in getting from point A to point B, but rather in what happens between the two points.”
At eighteen years old, Conrad Tao has already accomplished more than most musicians do in a lifetime. The Illinois native maintains a full international concert schedule, performing with the world’s great orchestras and in concert halls from New York to Moscow to Hong Kong to Sao Paolo. He has been named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and a Gilmore Young Artist, was the only classical musician on Forbes’ 2011 30 Under 30 list, and last year received an Avery Fisher Career Grant. His compositions have won him eight consecutive ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, as well as a commission from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Conrad currently attends the Columbia University/Juilliard School joint degree program in New York.
For many years, scores of music writers and insiders have been lamenting “the death of the classical music recording industry.” But early yesterday morning, the classical record industry surprised the world by rising from the grave, staggering across the lawn and feasting on the brains of several nearby citizens. Since then the carnage has swept across the eastern seaboard, leaving a ghastly trail of half-eaten bodies and tastefully-curated compilation albums in its wake.
It’s still too early to say what caused an entire business sector to suddenly reanimate and develop an insatiable lust for the flesh of the living, but reports have come in that the best way to stop these “Walking/Andante Dead” is with a direct shot to the head by either a multi-CD box set collection or a smartphone that’s been loaded with a streaming music app. People are cautioned, however, that any mention of “Tower Records” or the words “Long Tail” apparently sends them into a savage and untameable rage.
Heroic reports of other survival stories are surfacing, including a local amateur orchestra which managed to beat back a horde of the undead by bludgeoning them with violas. “We’re all just glad that we finally found a use for those things,” commented first violinist Daryl Dixon.
We’ll keep you up to date on the situation as it develops…
All of us here at EMI Classics want to wish you a wonderful holiday season and all the best in the new year! It’s been an exciting year for us, full of amazing music and extraordinary artists, and we’re looking forward to 2013!
We’ll close out the year with a few of our favorite holiday titles, enjoy!