From Friday March 10 to Sunday March 12 KLAVIERHAUS offered music lovers a rare opportunity to experience established and emerging pianists in a unique and intimate setting. Billed as “El Mundo Del Piano Latinoamericano Piano Festival,” the ambitious lineup included pianists David Virelles, Arcoiris Sandoval, David Chesky, Hector Martignon, Elio Villafranca, Axel Tosca, guitarist Brandon Ross, bassist David Finck, saxophonist Vincent Herring, vibraphonist Christos Rafaildes and vocalist, Xiomara Lougart. The other” “star” of the evening was a majestic hand-crafted Fazioli piano, remarkable for its brightness, clarity, warmth and rich harmonics.
The evening began with jazz pianist and composer Arcoiris Sandoval. Originally from Arizona, she is a Fulbright award recipient currently residing in New York City and has performed at numerous festivals worldwide. Also, she and bassist Mimi Jones are the co-directors and composers of the D.O.M.E. Experience, an award-winning, environmentally and socially motivated orchestra featuring cinematography as well as dance and has a rotating roster of acclaimed musicians including Wayne Escoffery, Steve Wilson, Dayna Stephens, and many others.
ARCOIRIS (which means “Rainbow” in Spanish) opened with her original composition, “Spiral into Oblivion,” a response to the environmental changes induced by human activity and climate change, followed by an intrepid interpretation of Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints,” who she cited as an influence and kindred spirit. I enjoyed Sandoval’s passionate and tender interpretations of Billy Eckstine’s “I Want to Talk About You” and Brazilian composer Ivan Lins’ “Love Dance” and her powerful and imaginative interpretation of Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage.” For a taste of Sandoval and her trio, Sonic Asylum check out her debut recording, First Voyage, whichwon a Global Music Award at bandcamp.com.
New York-based, Colombian-born HECTOR MARTIGNON has composed, orchestrated, produced, performed, and recorded various genres, from Classical and Crossover to Jazz and World Music, to Rock and Pop. His five albums as a leader, two as co-leader (Mozart’s Blue Fantasies and Bach’s Secret Files), and his work on over a hundred albums, scores for five feature films, three Broadway Musicals, and multiple other projects showcase his wide-ranging area of expertise.
At Klavierhaus, Martignon’s prowess as a performer and composer was on full display. For the most part, he performed original compositions such as “Someday My Spring Will Come,” “Blind Date,” “Ode to Gismonti,” and “She Said She was from Sarajevo.” Still, I particularly enjoyed Martignon’s interpretation of the boleros “La Puerta” and “La Propuesta.” I was introduced to Martignon’s virtuosity through Ray Barretto and New World Spirit and, later, the albums “Refugee” and “Second Chance.” The series marked the first time I experienced the majesty of Martignon as a soloist, who is as masterful as his compositions are prolific.
Midway through Martignon’s set, he introduced the Greek vibraphonist, composer CHRISTOS RAFAILDES, who did a masterful job accompanying him. As evidenced by the lively and collegial interaction, the duo have a long-standing professional and personal relationship. For a taste of Martignon in a big band setting, check out Big Band Theory, which was selected by Downbeat magazine as one of the Best Albums of 2016.
The turnout could have been better despite the historic lineup and affordable ticket prices. Nevertheless, curator James Luce says he will return with a piano series, possibly dedicated to Thelonious Monk. It is worth noting total monthly consumer spending on music in the US decreased by 45 percent compared to pre-pandemic, with live music events and physical sales being the most severely affected. The good news? If you know where to look you can experience incredible live music at affordable prices. Klavierhaus is proof.
KLAVIERHUAS was founded in 1993 by Gabor and Sujatri Reisinger in New York City. The brothers became known for their high quality craftsmanship and their collaborative approach to creating instruments according to the individual needs of artists.
Their efforts have earned international acclaim from world-class performers as well as students, teachers, and music aficionados across all genres. Many of them found a friend in the brothers and a home away from home at Klavierhaus.
Musicians they have worked with include Richard Goode, Sir Andras Schiff, Gyorgy Kurtag, Angela Hewitt, Garrick Ohlsson, Herbie Hancock, Simone Dinnerstein, Yuja Wang, Geri Allen, and Jack DeJohnette.
Klavierhaus’ concert pianos have appeared on stage at venues such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the White House, Library of Congress, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and have been included in the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments.
They have worked with institutions worldwide including The Cooper Union, the National Theater of Costa Rica, Columbia University, N.Y.U., Smith College, WNYC, the Flagler Museum, and Vizcaya.
Klavierhaus has been featured in the New York Times, House Beautiful, Architectural Digest, and the Robb Report.