Filtering by Category: Personal

Do you teach?

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Do you teach piano as well?
 - Rae

Dear Rae,

No, I do not. I often give masterclasses, and I really enjoy doing so, but I simply do not have the time to teach privately. With all the composing I do, the performing, the writing (my book), the video editing, the answering (of questions on this site!), I hope you'll forgive me for not adding another entree to my plate. :-)

- Greg (Oct. 24, 2009)


Added on by Greg Anderson.
Your husband to be? You guys are engaged? when's the wedding date :P
  - Claire

Dear Claire,

That's right, my "husband-to-be." :-) Carl and I are happily engaged, and our wedding is set for the end of July. It's going to be a "guys" wedding if there ever was one. We're settling down into a life of adventure, after all. ;-) We're super excited for the wedding, but more importantly, we're ridiculously, awesomely excited that we were lucky enough to meet each other.

- Greg (March 7, 2010)

Composing for 5 Pianos

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Dear Greg,
I just recently saw the 5 Browns in concert and they played a few of your transcriptions. How do you do it? Also, I was wondering - do you tour? If so, how could we mid-westerners catch a glimpse of you, or better yet, you and Ms. Roe??
 - Eliza

Dear Eliza,

How do I compose for 5 pianos? Hmmm. I generally begin by conceptualizing how to best take advantage of my instrumentation (5 pianos). Even with the most challenging situations (slow and quiet music for five pianos, for example), I try to find ways to musically justify the existence of all the instruments on stage. I want my original compositions and arrangements for five pianos to sound like they couldn't have been written for any other instrumentation. In the case of arrangements, that often means completely rethinking my original musical source.

Unlike many composers, I don't really work at the piano. Instead, I usually hear everything in my head at once, and then I spend most of my time translating what I'm hearing to staff paper. The process usually takes a couples months to produce just a couple minutes of five piano music.

Do I tour? Yes, I do! Here's where to find the latest updates in my schedule, including the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo schedule. 

Hope to see you soon!

- Greg

Perfect Pitch & Hand Span

Added on by Greg Anderson.
hi Greg,
Do you have absolute pitch? What is your hand span?
 - Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Do I have absolute pitch? No. There are many times I wish I had perfect pitch; it would certainly make the process of composing much easier. Instead I have the much more common form of relative pitch.

What is my hand span? I can comfortably reach a tenth. If I approach the keys really slowly (stress: really slowly), I can reach an eleventh. Sometimes I wish my hands were smaller; it would make it easier to perform Mozart's music, but the large reach is useful for late-Romantic music and contemporary music.


- Greg


Added on by Greg Anderson.
Dear Greg,
Hi Greg, Noticing that you play the Saint-Saens Ctos. 2 & 4, I'll ask you something I've wondered over as a listener for years. The Ctos. 2 & 4 consistently get all the attention while the 3 & 5 get relatively ignored. Why I wonder this is, taking the Cto 5 with those exotic sounds in the middle movement (harmonics?) are so unique in the repertoire that they still sound somewhat revolutionary to me against other Romantic Ctos. All the best.
 - Bill Shurtleff

Dear Bill,

I love your question! Those who know me well know of my passionate advocacy for Saint-Saëns' fifth and third piano concertos. They're wonderful pieces, but they do have their share of weaknesses. Most people consider the second and fourth concertos to be more consistent from beginning to end. Nevertheless, the fifth and third concertos have some unimaginably beautiful and inspired moments. I particularly love the entire second movement of the third concerto and the ending of the fifth concerto's first movement. The second movement of the latter concerto does, indeed, feature some exotic and awesome sounds, but it was hardly revolutionary when compared to other music written at the time. Believe it or not, the work was composed after Prokofiev's first piano concerto, after the first version of Prokofiev's second piano concerto, after Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, after Debussy's Preludes, Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit, and many other revolutionary works of the early twentieth century!

Pieces enter my repertoire for a variety of reasons - some complex reasons and some simple. The pieces listed on my repertoire page are, by no means, a complete listing of the pieces I love. There are countless works on my "repertoire wish list" that I have yet to learn, and with some luck, I will have many years ahead of me to make my wishes a reality. Learning repertoire is a time consuming process; the notes can be learned in a matter of weeks, but it usually takes years of "living with a piece" before it becomes something I'm proud to share with the public. Incidentally, my "wish list" is still growing, and I seriously consider all of the suggested offered by visitors of this website. Recommend music here!

- Greg

Mainstream Musicians

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Dear Greg,
Have you ever collaborated with a mainstream musician? I think that you and John Mayer would produce some crazy awesome music (oh, to be a fly on the wall during that brainstorm session...). Just curious.
 - Susan

Hi Susan,

Yes, I have dabbled with popular elements here and there. The most obvious example: I arranged "Everybody Loves Somebody" for five pianos and voice. You can listen to the work on the 5 Browns' latest album, "Browns in Blue," performed by the 5 Browns and Dean Martin himself (in a previously unreleased vocal recording).

I'm sure that throughout my life, I'll continue to have unique experiences with mainstream musicians, but my true love is classical music. I love its shapes and forms, its complexity, its harmonies, its passions. It's sort of like mac and cheese -- I love all types of food in moderation, but I could eat mac and cheese for every meal if I had to. The same with classical music.

- Greg (October 24, 2009)