New York-based concert pianist Eric Barnhill, a specialist in classical-style improvisation, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the fifth concert of the Greencastle Summer Classical Music Festival, held in the sanctuary of Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church.
Admission is free, with donations accepted. York Chrysler Jeep Dodge of Greencastle is the underwriting sponsor of the series. This week's concert has been underwritten by Neal Abraham and Donna Wiley in memory of Percy Lavon Julian.
"I'm very pleased that the increasing financial support from the Putnam County community, from businesses and individuals, is enabling us to begin bringing outstanding musicians from outside Indiana," said Eric Edberg, professor of music at DePauw University and coordinator of the festival. "Eric Barnhill is one of the leaders in reviving the 'lost art' of improvisation in classical music. Most people don't know that Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin were great improvisers, as well as composers, and that until the 20th century it was common for pianists in particular to improvise between pieces on recitals. Eric knows more about this than just about anyone, and it's going to be an incredible concert."
Barnhill's program will include classical works, including pieces by Schubert and Chopin, as well as improvisations in the style of Chopin, Brahms, and Schubert. Barnhill is a champion of improvisation in classical styles, seeking and inventing ways to speak new thoughts in the great musical language of the past.
A graduate of the Juilliard School in piano performance and the Dalcroze School of New York, he has performed both solo improvisations and in improvisational collaborations with dance and theater.
Recent concerts featuring his improvisations include performances at Longy School of Music and the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze in Geneva, Switzerland.
He publishes the Internet blog The Daily Improvisation (ericbarnhill.wordpress.com), which presents near-daily recordings of improvised music in classical styles. He is also the creator of Cognitive Eurhythmics (cognitive-eurythmics.com), a method of music-movement neuromotor education for children with special needs, and on the faculty of the Special Music School for musically gifted children and the Mannes College of Music.
As a classical recitalist he has performed in concert halls from Maine to California as well as in concerts in Canada, France, Italy and Portugal. New York recital venues include Cooper Union Great Hall, Bargemusic, Merkin Hall, MOMA-Summergarden and the Bruno Walter Auditorium.