The goal was simple: To debut six Wisconsin composers’ piano pieces. Each work would compose a single piano solo piece inspired by the culture and wondrous physical features of the state near the Great Lakes.
Now, it has come to fruition with the assistance of pianist Jeri-Mae Astolfi. On Tuesday, March 10, the Piedmont College artist-in-residence will debut a collection of new piano compositions, with at least one piece being produced by one of the six Wisconsin-based composers. The collection includes the works of Geoffrey Gordon, Ryan Maguire, Joseph Koykkar, Yehunda Yannay, Donald J. Young and Joel Naumann.
“I am honored to have collaborated with the many people involved, including the six outstanding composers,” Astolfi said in a news release. “Each of the new pieces was based on a composer-chosen Wisconsin theme, which resulted in a wonderfully colorful and diverse variety of music.”
The composers based their compositions off of multiple influences, including but not limited to: specific geographical locations such as Mineral Point and Downer Avenue, visually-pleasing landscapes and events that manipulate the senses such as a herd of cows shuffling through a thunderstorm and the rush of river water in the middle of the forest. The album even expanded to include notes inspired by political turmoil within Wisconsin politics.
Astolfi performed these pieces for the first time on Sept. 30, 2012, at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Music Hall and featured a post-concert discussion with the composers. After the original premiere, Astolfi performed several other times at local venues.
Aside from her collaboration, Astolfi functions as a piano clinician and tutor and continues to premiere many outstanding piano works for composers, new and old.
The album can be previewed and purchased on iTunes.