ORONO — The University of Maine English and music departments will present the pianist Dan Tepfer in concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 29, at Minsky Auditorium, the university. The evening will include discussion and conversation on the art of improvisation as it applies to both music and beyond, conducted by professor of English Tony Brinkley.
Tepfer is in the forefront of today’s group of fast-rising musical stars, having been named a JazzTimes Best New Artist in 2010 and a DownBeat Magazine Rising Star in 2011. The New York Times called him, “Brilliant… A sharp young talent, rugged and emphatic… A young pianist of exceptional poise who is drawn to the deeper currents of melody.”
Trained in both jazz and classical studies at the New England Conservatory, he began learning piano at age 6 while growing up in Paris. He makes his home now in Brooklyn but tours almost constantly worldwide both as a solo performer and with his frequent collaborator, multi-reed player Ben Wendel. They have just released a new album, “Small Constructions,” on Sunnyside Records. After his Maine appearance he will head to Japan for a series of concerts.
Tepfer has made a name for himself as a pianist-composer of wide-ranging ambition, individuality and élan — “a remarkable musician” in the words of the Washington Post and one “who refuses to set himself limits” in those of France’s Télérama.
Tepfer has performed with some of the leading lights in jazz, including extensively with veteran saxophone luminary Lee Konitz.
As a leader, Tepfer has crafted a discography already striking for its breadth and depth, ranging from probing solo improvisation and intimate duets to trio albums rich in their melodic allure. His 2011 Sunnyside album “Goldberg Variations / Variations’ saw the prize-winning pianist performing J.S. Bach’s masterpiece as well as improvising upon it to “build a bridge across centuries and genres” as the Wall Street Journal put it.
Among Tepfer’s awards are the first prize and audience prize at the 2006 Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition, first prize at the 2006 East Coast Jazz Festival Competition, and first prize at the 2007 competition of the American Pianists Association.
The event is free and open to the public.