Pianist Myra Melford will celebrate the release of her new solo album, Life Carries Me This Way (Firehouse 12 Records), with a solo concert at Greenwich House Music School, in New York City’s West Village, on October 27.
Melford—a 2013 Guggenheim fellow—recorded Life Carries Me This Way, her first solo outing, as a tribute to a close friend, the late visual artist Don Reich, whose rich, colorful paintings inspired each of the album’s compositions. About the process, Melford says: “Don took a wide range of approaches to painting, from very abstract to almost cartoonish. Seeing his paintings made me want to play the piano, and his very wide range from abstracts to landscapes to still life allowed me to cover a range of my own playing from dense, polytonal, high-energy work to very simple, beautiful melodies. I felt like there was room for all of that in the scope of his artwork.”
Reich, who passed away in 2010 after suggesting a number of artworks for Melford’s interpretation, was a longtime friend of the pianist’s family. It was that closeness that led Melford to choose his work as the basis for her long-awaited solo debut. “There’s something so immediate and personal about any kind of solo,” she says. “But particularly for me to play solo piano, I’m completely exposed, I’m not covered up by the orchestration or by other people playing. So that seemed to be the best way for me to communicate personally how I feel about Don’s artwork. There’s no one else to interpret it but me. … Don was a really quirky, unique individual and a very joyful person. He took great pleasure in life and was a really keen observer. He was very sense-oriented, so that also informed my perception and my response to his paintings.”
Tickets for Myra Melford are $15 ($12 for students), available at the door. Go to www.greenwichhouse.org or call 212-242-4770 for venue information. The Greenwich House Music School is located at 46 Barrow Street, half a block west of Seventh Avenue South.