Pianist and visionary Christopher O’Riley will play selections from Radiohead, The Cocteau Twins, Arcade Fire and more at The Colonial Theatre on Friday, August 17 at 8pm at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield. The event is sponsored by WMHT.
O’Riley has dazzled the world over on stage, on the radio and on his records. His memorable interpretations of traditional and popular repertoire make him a cherished bridge between musical tastes, genres and audiences worldwide.
Christopher O’Riley differs from other artists in two ways. First, his repertoire spans classical styles, from Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Chopin, Ravel and Busoni to contemporary artists such as Radiohead, Nirvana, Pink Floyd and Elliott Smith. He is the deﬁnition of a Classical Crossover artist. Second, O’Riley ‘s unique, passionate and heartfelt piano interpretations of both classical and popular music create unforgettable musical performances and astonishing audience experiences. His most famous recording, Radiohead’s True Love Waits album, was awarded four stars in Rolling Stone magazine. It has also created a dedicated and diverse fan base that appeals to all ages, uniting them through music.
O’Riley’s warm personality brought him to host NPR’s From the Top for the last 10 years. As host of the most popular classical music radio show on the air today, Mr. O’Riley works and performs with the next generation of brilliant young musicians, demonstrating to audiences, with humor and a lack of pretense, that these young artists are as interesting and diverse in their personal lives as they are in their music-making. In 2007, From the Top was ﬁlmed for public television in Zankel Concert Hall at Carnegie Hall and debuted on PBS in the spring.
Just as his radio show and his contemporary classical recordings have created extraordinary buzz, so have his performances in traditional classical context. In November 2004, O’Riley toured the U.S. with the world-famous Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Orchestra visiting 10 cities in 2 weeks, playing Bach, Mozart and Liszt concerti. He has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, the Minnesota Orchestra, the symphonies of Pittsburgh, Detroit, Colorado, Atlanta and Baltimore. The illustrious group of conductors with whom he has collaborated includes Marin Alsop, David Zinman, Leonard Slatkin, John Williams, Neeme Järvi, Bobby McFerrin, Hans Graf, Yoel Levi, Hugh Wolff and Andrew Litton.
From early in his career, the pianist was honored with many awards at the Leeds, Van Cliburn, Busoni and Montreal competitions, as well as an Avery Fisher Career Grant. He was also a ﬁnalist at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1981. Among his many solo releases are a Scriabin disc for Image Recordings and an all-Stravinsky disc on Elektra Nonesuch, featuring “Three Movements from Petrouchka” and Mr. O’Riley’s ﬁrst foray into transcriptions with his own versions of “Apollo” and “Histoire du Soldat.”
In addition to his own transcriptions, he has ventured into alternate territory on tour with other classical artists. He has developed programs with fellow pianists: “Heard Fresh: Music for Two Pianos,” with the jazz pianist Fred Hersch; and “Los Tangueros,” with the Argentinian pianist Pablo Ziegler, a program of two-piano arrangements that feature Astor Piazzolla’s classic tangos. In 1999 he collaborated with choreographer and director Martha Clarke, who staged several stories of Anton Chekhov set to the piano works of Alexander Scriabin, performed live on stage. This production, titled “Vers la Flamme,” toured Europe and the United States, and was presented by Jacob’s Pillow, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center, among others.
Tickets for the Christopher O’Riley concert are $15-$45 and VIP tickets are $55 and include preferred seating and a post-show reception with O’Riley. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street or by calling (413) 997-4444 or online at www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org. The Ticket Office is open Monday-Friday 10am–5pm, Saturdays 10am–2pm or on any performance day from 10am until intermission.
O’Riley continues to create new directions in which to take the solo piano recital, the demand for his work internationally has continued to grow. From his groundbreaking transcriptions of Radiohead to his powerful interpretations of repertoire classic and contemporary, pianist thea artist has redeﬁned the possibilities of classical music. He has taken his unique vision to both traditional classical music venues and symphonic settings, as well as to entirely new audiences on the radio, at universities, clubs and now at The Colonial Theatre. This concert will be filled with classical beauty and musical surprises.