piano keys 88.
(photo credit: )
I have always wanted to play the piano. I even have a specific fantasy about it. I sit with a few friends at a hotel lobby somewhere. The conversation is pleasant. Everybody is drinking and laughing. Suddenly someone asks, "Hey Asi, why don't you play us something?" and points to a black piano standing in the corner. At first I am reluctant but they insist. Eventually I agree.
I'm not sure all of the 150 participants at the upcoming 11th Piano Festival had the same fantasy, but they must have had some inert desire to play the piano. Basically that's what this festival is all about - terrific artists performing unique and personal arrangements of their songs written especially for the piano.
Take for example Eran Tsur. "I see the festival as an event requiring the artist to create something unique," says Tsur. "My new album, Everything Human (Kol Ma She'enoshi) coming out this January, is based on a lot of piano." Tsur continues, "The musical director of this album is pianist Ohad Ben Avi and together we created an album with a dominant piano sound influenced by early David Bowie pianos. For me this festival is a great opportunity to give the album its first exposure."
Besides the songs from his new album, Tsur will also perform some of his old songs with new arrangements for piano.
"I love the new arrangements," he says. "For my song Erev Bet Kislev, the piano provided more harmony and allowed for subtler nuances." Tsur admits, "I have always loved piano. My voice is fitting for a piano. The piano is the father and mother of all instruments."
For Yirmi Kaplan the festival is an opportunity to show that a piano can be used for rock n' roll. "The festival is a fun chance for forcing oneself to think outside the box, to find a new way to connect to songs I have already sung tons of times," he reveals. "In the festival I play my entire first album with new piano, percussion and wind instruments arrangements."
Both Kaplan and Tsur don't view themselves as piano players, yet Kaplan is very much a piano lover. "Arie Ben Knaz is my keyboard player but he is originally from the world of piano. In this show he finally goes back to his roots," Kaplan affirms.
"The amazing Nitzan Ein Haber is on the wind instruments and my good friend Jango joins me as well. Jango and I used to jam a lot together when we were in our old band Escot Mix (Taarovet Escot) and it's great to play with him again. It's just another example of the great things that come out of this festival," Kaplan concludes.
The Piano Festival takes place in Tel Aviv November 10-15 at the Suzanne Dellal Center, The Center for Performing Arts and Beit Lessin. Other performers include Shlomi Shaban, Avi Greinik and Idan Alterman and even Zvika Hadar. For more info visit www.suzannedellal.org.il