Pianist

  • Interview with Steven Lutvak 2 Gentlemen’s Guide

    11-5-18 Interview

    11/5/18 The second half of our interview follows Steven Lutvak’s journey from college graduation, through the establishment of very successful coaching and cabaret careers, and then to the remarkable story of the creation of the hit Broadway musical Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, for which he was composer and co-lyricist, and which won the Tony for Best Musical. Listen to this dedicated and inspiring man tell his remarkable story, listen to original songs from his CD’s and come to Florida Studio Theater to see a production of The Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and appreciate that it was worth all of his effort.

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  • Interview with Composer/lyricist Steven Lutvak

    10-29-18 Interview

    10/29/18 In the first part of my interview musician, composer, lyricist, cabaret performer, coach and teacher Steven Lutvak, he says that his life’s work is song; “writing them, teaching people to write them, helping people sing them, helping people sing them better, helping people choose them, helping people understand what a song is, and of course writing them, which means music, lyrics and collaborating.” Steven was blessed with a talent that made all things music come easily to him. From his first piano lesson music simply “made sense” to him. With such talent his journey should have been effortless but Steven had to overcome numerous hindrances which would have derailed many others. Luckily Steven seems to be un-derail-able. Listen to this charming, thoughtful, intelligent, man describe the bumpy early part of his journey.

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  • Interview with actor, singer, dancer, musician Kyle Branzel

    7-30-18 Interview

    Actor, singer, dancer, musician, educator Kyle Blanzel realized that he was performer when his 2nd grade costar, Mrs. Claus, sang his line instead of hers and he went on with the show, just like a professional. Years of training and understudying Joe Kinosian, one of the writers of Murder for Two, in the National Tour of the show, made him the absolutely best choice to portray the role/s (12) he is currently playing in the Florida Studio Theater production. Don’t miss this!

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  • Interview with Paul Helm – Murder for Two

    7-23-18 Interview

    7/23/18 Pianist, singer, director, actor, musical director Paul Helm was lucky. From the elderly babysitter who convinced his parents to give four year old Paul piano lessons, to the choir teacher who “saw something in him,” to the agent who having seen Paul on stage, pursued him until Paul agreed to leave his beloved Wisconsin and make the leap to New York City, Paul has been led to the career which he “loves” and which although often difficult, he “wouldn’t have it any other way.” Listen to this enthusiastic young man talk about his work and don’t miss his delightful performance in the wacky and wonderful musical “Murder for Two” at Florida Studio Theater.

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  • Interview with Harpsichordist Mark Kroll

    7-16-18 Interview

    When he was five years old and had never taken a piano lesson Mark Kroll could play by ear the pieces his eight year old brother was studying. His brother was so embarrassed by his baby brother’s ability that he gave up the piano, but Mark never did. Dreaming of being a concert pianist Mark filled his life with music, studying, practicing and listening to his favorite works, by his favorite pianists and composers. At seventeen he fell in love with “early music,” but thought it didn’t sound quite right played on the piano. Then he heard Harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick play and his fate was sealed. Listen to Mark tell the story of his parents moving his bed out of the bedroom to make room for his harpsichord. And get a taste of Mark playing.

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  • Interview with Musician Jerry Bilik

    1-15-18 Interview

    5-28-18 Jerry Billik is a composer, arranger, songwriter, conductor, and director of stage productions. Although he downplays his skill and accomplishments Jerry’s career is extraordinary. A musical virtuoso by the age of 13, he has composed more than 50 pieces of music, from popular ballads to marches to his ‘Symphony for Band’. His concert march “Block M” composed for the University of Michigan Marching Band when he was a senior there has been voted by band composers as one of the top 100 marches of all time. He wrote the “M Fanfare” which is still played by the University of Michigan marching band prior to their playing the famous fight song. He has worked with many popular artists, including Danny Kaye, Dick Van Dyke, Leonard Bernstein, Barbra Streisand, and Neil Diamond. He has arranged music for several television series and serves as Vice President of creative development for Disney on Ice, having arranged all the music for the Disney on Ice shows, which he also writes and directs. Listen to this self-deprecatory charming man tell delightful stories of a life spent with music and theater like the ironic reason he taught himself to play piano.

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  • Interview with Actor Joe Casey

    4-2-18 Interview

    4-2-18 Actor, singer, dancer, musician Joe Casey brings his talents once again to Florida Studio theater’s cabaret, this time in Blue Suede Shoes where he gets a chance to play guitars and sing Elvis’s songs. In this interview Joe tells us that he was interested in everything; he wanted to be a scientist and a detective, he picked up the piano and the guitar, he painted in oils, and wrote music. Finally unable to choose amongst his interests Joe decided that as an actor to he could be all of these things. Listen to this charming, clever man tell the story of his path and come see him do justice to Elvis and all the other early Rock and Roller’s, in FST’s Blue Suede Shoes.

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  • Interview with pianist extraordinary Billy Marcus

    10-3-17 Interview

    9-13-16 The incomparable Billy Marcus joined the Al Hixon jazz jam team after the unforeseen death of beloved pianist Charlie Prawdzik. Bringing a passion and unique style to his solo’s Billy flawlessly supports the many and varied singers and musicians who perform at the jam. Named Miami’s Best Musician by Miami/South Florida Magazine, some of his credits include playing with Bobby Hackett, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, The Bill Evans Trio, The Horace Silver Quintet, McCoy Tyner, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Band, Maynard Ferguson, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins, Scott Hamilton, Al Grey, James Moody, Jack Sheldon, Pepper Adams, Mark Murphy, Eddie “Clean-head” Vinson, Kai Winding, Terry Gibbs, Richie Cole, Buddy DeFranco, The Buddy Rich Big Band, Woody Herman, Grover Washington, Freddy Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Spyro Gyra, Doc Sevrenson, Ramsey Lewis and Kenny Burell. Billy has appeared in clubs in Miami, Boston, New York Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, Switzerland, Paris, London, Rome, Amsterdam, Zurich, Bern, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Dubai. Listen to this modest man describe his haphazard journey to becoming the remarkable musician he is – and listen to a cut from one of his albums. Come out to see Billy at Al Hixon’s Jazz Jam on Monday and the Allegro Bistro in Venice on Thursday

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  • Interview with Jazz Pianist Roy Gerson

    9-19-17 Interview

    9-19-17 Pianist, arranger, educator, contractor Roy Gerson began picking out songs on the piano to amuse his blind grandmother when he was two years old, and he was playing with his father’s friends band when he was seven. His life was filled with music; studying classical music with his teacher and teaching himself jazz by listening to the music in his house and playing with the band. Although he “never had a plan,” it was always clear that music and specifically the piano would have a place in his life. Listen to the way a life that “never had a plan,” evolved into a life dedicated to making music; he arranged for Natalie Cole, and Lionel Hampton. Performed for Dustin Hoffman, Harvey Weinstein, Dan Rather, John Tuturro, Al Roker, Geana Davis, Donna Karen, Jeff Zucker, Patrick Swayze and Tony Bennett who was so impressed he managed Roy and got him his first album – That Gerson Person And hear cuts from tha Gerson Person and his other CD Gerson Swings Disney which includes vocals by Rosemary Cloney, Michael Feinstein and John Pizzarelli

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  • Interview with Joseph Holt – Fourth of July Concert

    6-27-17 Interview

    6-27-17 Joseph Holt is the Artistic Director of Choral Artists of Sarasota (formerly Gloria Musicae) as well as the Artistic Director of Artists Series Concerts, he is a virtuoso pianist who played all over the world, Before coming to settle in Sarasota Joseph performed with the United States Army Chorus in Washington, D.C., before U.S. Presidents and other dignitaries. He held the position of Associate Music Director for the illustrious Choral Arts Society of Washington for 15 years and led the ensemble in the Family Christmas Concerts at the Kennedy Center. Joe was apparently a hyper active child, who was “scattered all over the place” and “something of a hellion.” So much so that a committee was formed in the church where his father was pastor to pray for “the soul of little Joey Holt.” Hoping that an extracurricular activity would give him an outlet (focus) for all his energy, Joey was given a choice of several activities; little league, cub scouts or piano lessons. Even though his family didn’t own a piano and he had to practice on a paper keyboard, with a little encouragement from his grandmother, a pianist herself, Joey choose piano. And from the very first lesson it was clear that the Joe and the piano were linked. Listen to this still exuberant man describe his amazing career, what’s next for the organizations he shepherds and get a preview of the glorious music you will hear at this year’s Choral Artists of Sarasota Fourth of July concert.
    conductor, pianist, chamber music performer, arts administrator, educator and arranger.

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  • Interview with Judi and Alex Glover

    5-24-16 Interview

    Judi grew up surrounded by music; her father was a drummer, her older brother, a trumpet player and her younger brother, a saxophone player. So although she also loved to draw, Judi decided that piano would be her instrument. Luckily Judi had a teacher who, while teaching the basics and focusing on a classical repertoire, was also delighted to go along with the jazz exercises and pop songs Judi also wanted to play. And this varied training has made it possible for her to play and teach the classical repertoire and also to play jazz, accompany singers, first and foremost her husband Alex, and play in the pit for musicals. Come see/hear her play the very clever and tricky score for the current Asolo production of the musical Beatsville.
    Periodically in Alex’s life a “guardian angel” came along to help him. First his dad who, by challenging Alex and his sister to memorize the music and lyrics of a song he’d played for them, inadvertently set the stage for him become a singer At eleven years old, having seen The Beatles, Alex and his friend decided to become a band but their parents couldn’t afford to buy them instruments so they began by singing on street corners. The Janitor of their building, believing that they had talent. bought them a guitar and drums. Listen to Alex talk about a life spend in music, both as a performer and later as an agent. And hear cuts from Judi’s and Alex’s CD’s.

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  • Interview with virtuoso pianist Joseph Holt

    5-16-17 Interview

    5-16-17 Joseph Holt is the Artistic Director of Choral Artists of Sarasota (formerly Gloria Musicae) as well as the Artistic Director of Artists Series Concerts, he is a virtuoso pianist who played all over the world before coming to settle in Sarasota. He was apparently a hyper active child, who was “scattered all over the place” and “something of a hellion.” So much so that a committee was formed in the church where his father was pastor to pray for “the soul of little Joey Holt.” Hoping that an extracurricular activity would give him an outlet (focus) for all his energy, Joey was given a choice of several activities; little league, cub scouts or piano lessons. Even though his family didn’t own a piano and he had to practice on a paper keyboard, with a little encouragement from his grandmother, a pianist herself, Joey choose piano. And from the very first lesson it was clear that the Joe and the piano were linked. Listen to this still exuberant man describe his amazing career, what’s next for the organizations he shepherds and hear him play the compelling “Dance of the Giving Maiden,” live.

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  • Interview with Eleonora Lvov (re-run)

    12-29-15 – Audio Interview

    Eleonora Lvov began life under the grand piano in her parent’s one room apartment in the then Soviet Union. With two virtuoso pianists for parents little Eleonora spent her days surrounded by the glorious piano music her parents played. Soon she was being helped on to the piano stool, her fingers placed and her training begun. Is it any wonder therefore that today she too is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso pianist, concertizing widely in the US, Europe and Russia – and a master-teacher on the University level, as well as to all ages in her own studio in Sarasota. Listen to this exuberant woman talk about her relationship to the music she plays and her dedication to transforming her audience. Hear her play an excerpt from George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in a cut from one of her numerous CD’s. And come hear her in person on Sunday January 3, 2016, 4pm “New Year’s Romance on the Piano” Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 322 15th St. W, Bradenton FL 34205 www.manateeuuf.org Call 941-358-0235 and Sunday January 17, 2016, 4 pm “Grande Piano – Chopin & friendsUnitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota 3975 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota FL 34232 www.uusarasota.org Call 941-358-0235. Get more information at www.eleonoralvov.com

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  • Interview with Conductor Donald Chan

    12/8/15 Audio Interview

    The multi-talented Donald Chan is a conductor, musical director, pianist and composer. His repertoire includes 75 or 80 musicals. He has guest conducted at the American Conservatory Theater, the Seattle Repertory Theater and the Cleveland and Seattle Opera Houses. Donald was the musical director for the St. Louis Municipal Opera, the largest theater in the United States, for 12 years. Today, with director/choreographer Joey Mc Neely, he travels the world bringing the real version of West Side Story which he has conducted more than a thousand times. Luckily for us he is currently bringing his experience and expertise to the stage at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Although he has worked with Gene Kelly, Ethel Merman, Chita Rivera, Carol Lawrence, Joel Grey, Sid Caesar, Len Cariou, Clark Terry and Shelly Manne to name a few, Donald is soft spoken and self-deprecating. In this show listen to him talk about the outrageous schedule he kept during his time at the St. Louis Municipal Opera and his decision to courageously follow his passion to be a musician and a conductor, so clearly the right choice, even though it disappointed his father who wanted him to be a dentist, also hear Pam Wiley’s review of the Asolo’s production of West Side Story and some of its glorious music.

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  • Audio Interview Jazz Pianist Mike Markaverich Re-Run

    10-13-2015 Audio Interview

    If you live around Sarasota Florida you and have probably heard extraordinary Jazz pianist Mike Markaverich. Although blind from birth Mike was trying to play the songs he heard on the radio on his toy piano by the time he was three years old. A neighbor generously provided little Mike with his first piano, but pursuit of the music that would become his life, was very challenging. Listen to this extraordinary man describe the dedication with which he pursued his passion, experience his delightful sense of humor, and listen to cuts from his CD “Solid.” And come see him in person Friday and Saturday nights at The Haye Loft 5540 Gulf Of Mexico Drive Longboat Key, 34228

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  • Audio Interview with Mike Lang Re-run Part 2

    10-6-15 Audio Interview Part 2

    In part two of my interview Mike Lang talks about how he evaluated his choices as a musician, how he discovered that there was a career for recording musicians, how he found his way into it and became one of its most successful players. Playing Jazz with Paul Horn, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Milt Jackson, Lee Konitz and Arturo Sandoval, Rock and Roll for Phil Spector and Marvin Gaye, more than 2000 film scores for Lalo Schifrin, Henry Mancini, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, James Newton Howard, Elmer Bernstein, Hans Zimmer and accompaniment for Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Diana Krall, John Lennon and Frank Zappa, to name a few. Listen to this self-deprecating man talk about his remarkable career saying “when people say I’m a legend, I say I’m a myth.” There is nothing mythical about Mike Lang, he is the real thing. At the end of this interview listen to him play an original piece on his own piano in his own living room, a rare opportunity.

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  • Audio Interview with Pianist Mike Lang Re-Run part 1

    9-29-15 Audio Interview Part 1

    Pianist Mike Lang is a professional recording musician who has played with virtually everyone in virtually every genre of music. In this first part of my interview listen to the way his life in music began. Mike’s parents say that he asked to take piano lessons when he was four and a half. Serendipitously his early teachers taught him about a wide variety of music. His first teacher’s favorite pianists were Jose Iturbi and Liberace, so she had him playing written (classical) pieces and also popular music, and she taught him to play chords and begin to improvise. Mike says it was “a magical way to start because it set the tone for me being able to be about more than one thing in music.” Then he studied with the brilliantly eclectic George Tremblay who not only introduced him to a wide variety of musical styles but subjects as diverse as Shakespeare. Mike calls these “auspicious experiences” because they prepared him for a career which would include playing incredibly diverse music. Listen to this charming, thoughtful man talk about his philosophy of being in the present and the impact that philosophy has on his playing, also hear cuts from his only solo album, Days of Wine and Roses – the classic songs of Henry Mancini.

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  • Interview with Pianist Michael Royal (re-run Part 2)

    9-22-15 Audio Interview

    Based in Sarasota Florida, pianist Michael Royal has performed in London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Athens, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Bangkok, New York, Los Angeles and throughout the U.S. He has worked with Red Rodney, Mel Lewis, Clifford Jordan, George Garzone, Larry Coryell, Emily Remler, Ira Sullivan, and Mark Murphy in addition to his own groups. Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Michael began improvising at the piano at the age of five. Turning away from the conventional study of music and by fusing and uniting classical and jazz influences, Michael developed his own piano style, his unique brand of romantic jazz. While still performing, composing teaching, coaching and lecturing Michael continues to pursue his independent studies. His repertoire includes Standards from the Great American Songbook, Bebop, Ballads, Blues, and Classical Masterpieces. In this first half of my interview listen to Michael describe his early life and the way he discovered his unique path. Also hear 2 cuts from his CD – TRANSITION – released in 2008 with bassist Richard Drexler and drummer Steve Davis. And come see Michael play every Monday night at Starlight Café 101 Coconut Ave Sarasota 34236 and Wednesday’s and Friday’s at The Haye Loft 5540 Gulf Of Mexico Drive Longboat Key, 34228.

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  • Interview with Pianist Michael Royal (re-run)

    9-15-15 Audio Interview

    Based in Sarasota Florida, pianist Michael Royal has performed in London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Athens, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Bangkok, New York, Los Angeles and throughout the U.S. He has worked with Red Rodney, Mel Lewis, Clifford Jordan, George Garzone, Larry Coryell, Emily Remler, Ira Sullivan, and Mark Murphy in addition to his own groups. Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Michael began improvising at the piano at the age of five. Turning away from the conventional study of music and by fusing and uniting classical and jazz influences, Michael developed his own piano style, his unique brand of romantic jazz. While still performing, composing teaching, coaching and lecturing Michael continues to pursue his independent studies. His repertoire includes Standards from the Great American Songbook, Bebop, Ballads, Blues, and Classical Masterpieces. In this first half of my interview listen to Michael describe his early life and the way he discovered his unique path. Also hear 2 cuts from his CD – TRANSITION – released in 2008 with bassist Richard Drexler and drummer Steve Davis. And come see Michael play every Monday night at Starlight Café 101 Coconut Ave Sarasota 34236 and Wednesday’s and Friday’s at The Haye Loft 5540 Gulf Of Mexico Drive Longboat Key, 34228.

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  • Interview with Lillette Jenkins-Wisner

    Sept 8, 2015

    90 year old Harlem born Lillette Jenkins-Wisner well give her farewell performances at Ruth Eckert Hall in Clearwater, Florida. Dubbed Queen of the Keys, Lillette is an internationally renowned concert pianist and vocalist. At 3 years old she could “play anything she could hear.” and she began her career at the age of six. Initially trained as a classical musician she developed a strong interest in Gospel, Ragtime, Jazz and Popular music. Lillette traveled all over the world with the USO during 3 wars. She has always had a demanding schedule of concerts, shows, round-the-world cruises and club performances. She has shared the stage with Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Lena Horne and more recently Billy Joel. She performed on Broadway, in movies and was a regular on the TV Soap Opera All My Children. She has won many awards including most recently the Sachmo Award.

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