CHRISTOPHER O’RILEY – SATURDAY, AUGUST 11, 2012 – 8PM
As a prestigious artist, pianist and national media personality, Mr. O’Riley has dazzled the world over on stage, the radio and his records. His memorable interpretations of traditional and popular repertoire make him a cherished bridge between musical tastes, genres and audience worldwide.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 11, 2012
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From Chopin to Radiohead: Classical Crossover Artist Christopher O’Riley to Perform at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts on Saturday, August 11, 2012.
Tori Amos: Mother
Radiohead: All I Need
Nick Drake: Place To Be
Pink Floyd: Us & Them
Elliott Smith: Cupid’s Trick
Nirvana: Heart-Shaped Box
Radiohead: Like Spinning Plates
Portishead: The Rip
Thomas Ades: Darknesse Visible
Tears for Fears: Mad World
Radiohead: Let Down
Radiohead: Paranoid Android
Elliott Smith: Bye
Radiohead: Fake Plastic Trees
Mr. O’Riley will also mix the works of many classical composers, including Chopin and Ravel. All pieces are presented with Mr. O’Riley’s unique musical style.
Mr. O’Riley says he lives by the Duke Ellington adage, “There are only two kinds of music, good music and bad.” He has taken this philosophy to present modern rock music in his own distinctive way. His first recording of Radiohead transcriptions, True Love Waits received four stars from Rolling Stone and was as critically acclaimed as it was commercially successful. His Hold Me to This: Christopher O’Riley plays the music of Radiohead followed suit. Tackling the deeply emotional and complex work from the troubled singer/songwriter Elliott Smith, Home to Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute drew critical praise from both classical and pop music critics. O’Riley’s fourth set of transcriptions from the contemporary popular songbook was Second Grace – The Music of Nick Drake, a collection of repertoire written and originally recorded by the late enigmatic British guitar wizard and songwriter.
Mr. O’Riley 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 and even clubs. As host of the popular classical music radio show, National Public Radio’s “From The Top,” Mr. O’Riley works and performs with the next generation of brilliant young musicians, demonstrating to audiences that these young artists are as interesting and diverse in their personal lives as they are in their music-making. Two years ago, PBS launched the weekly television series “From the Top from Carnegie Hall” featuring O’Riley as host, directed by Emmy winning director Gary Halvorson.
Growing up near Chicago, Christopher O’Riley took lessons in classical piano but played in rock and fusion bands throughout middle and high school before his family moved to Pittsburgh and he began experimenting with jazz. Still, it was to classical music that he turned as a profession, attending the New England Conservatory in Boston. His first releases followed in this vein, solo performances of works by composers like Schumann, Beethoven, Ravel, Busoni, and Stravinsky, and he even began hosting a radio program, From the Top, which was distributed by NPR and highlighted upcoming young classical musicians. However, it was when he branched away from classical that he began to gain wider attention in mainstream society. After hearing Radiohead‘s 1997 album OK Computer (albeit a few years after it came out), O’Riley became obsessed with the band and its sound and set about transcribing pieces for solo piano. True Love Waits: O’Riley Plays Radiohead came out in 2003, followed by Hold Me to This, another Radiohead tribute, in 2005. Around this same time, O’Riley, who didn’t consider himself a composer, also became aware of the music of the late Elliott Smith. He took a similar liking to his music and released Home to Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute in 2006, feeling that the singer’s words could be given adequate respect and representation through his piano. Second Grace: Music of Nick Drake came out the following year.
Mr. O’Riley’s exquisite and poetic interpretations have granted him phenomenal reviews and several recording contracts with labels like Sony Classical. His warm personality has brought him to host NPR’s “From the Top” for the last 10 years. 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 “True Love Waits” album, was awarded four stars in Rolling Stone magazine, along with many other reviews available in the attached press kit. Most importantly, it has also created a dedicated and diverse fan base that appeals to all ages, uniting them through music.
From his groundbreaking transcriptions of Radiohead to his powerful interpretations of repertoire classic and contemporary, pianist Christopher O’Riley 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 and even clubs. As host of the most popular classical music radio show on the air today, National Public Radio’s From the Top, 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 characterful 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. The series is now airing its third season.