CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: June 9, 1999
Jazz pianist Dan Knight releases CD of music inspired
by paintings at UI Museum of Art
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa City Jazz pianist Dan Knight
has recently recorded and released a CD of music inspired by nine paintings
in the permanent collection of the University of Iowa Museum of Art.
The CD, titled "Pictures at an Exhibition" after a
famous classical piece by Russian composer Modest Musorgsky, features nine
pieces by Knight, one inspired by each of the paintings. Five of the paintings
are also reproduced in a set of note cards that is available at the Museum.
Knight was first inspired by paintings in the museum's
collection several years ago. While working as a clerk-typist at UI Hospitals
and Clinics, he used to spend his lunch hour in the museum.
"I would just sit in front of the paintings as long
as I could," Knight said. "I knew exactly how long it would take to get back
to work, and I used every minute I could to refresh my spirit.
"I heard music the first time I saw some of the paintings,
including Feininger's 'In a Village Near Paris' and 'Blue Interior with Two
Girls' by Matisse. I would sit in the museum and listen to the music that
I heard in my head, and then I wrote it all down after I got home."
Knight played the first pieces he had written in response
to the museums artworks when he was invited to play at the monthly Music
in the Museum program in February 1997. Liking what she heard, Emily Vermillion,
the museum's curator of education, raised the idea of a CD of the music inspired
by the museum's collection. She also made it a point to invite Knight back
to open the Music in the Museum series for the fall of 1998. Knight added
a few more works to the set for that performance, played before a large audience
in the museum's Elliott Gallery. Surrounded by several of the paintings that
had inspired him, Knight talked about the origin of his pieces.
The success of that performance led Pamela Trimpe,
the museum's assistant director, to contact Knight in November and ask him
to play for the Friends of the UI Museum of Art in April of this year. For
that occasion he completed the series, adding pieces based on paintings in
the museum's brand new series of note cards.
The CD of the finished suite, produced with the assistance
of Jo Jones and Trimpe of the Museum of Art, was recorded in March at Clapp
Recital Hall and has been released on the After Hours Recordings label.
The nine pieces in the finished suite, and the paintings
that inspired them, are:
--"E", from "E" by Marsden Hartley (1915);
--"Edge," from "Edge" by Philip Guston (1960);
--"Under the Paris Sky," from "In a Village Near Paris"
by Lyonel Feininger (1909);
--"Blue Interior," from
"Blue Interior with Two Girls" by Henri Matisse (1947);
--"Portrait of H.M." from "Portrait of H.M." by Jackson
--"Rosalie," from "A Drop of Dew Falling from the
Wing of a Bird Awakens Rosalie Asleep in the Shade of a Cobweb" by
Joan Miro (1939);
--"New York -- Paris, No. 1" from "New York -- Paris,
No. 1" by Stuart Davis (1931);
--"Autumn," from "Le Automne" by Achille Emile Othon
Friesz (1907); and
--"A Travers Les Arbes," from "A Travers Les Arbes"
("Through the trees") by Maurice de Vlaminck (c. 1910).
The set of 15 note cards, 5 x 7 inches in size, contains
images of the paintings by Stuart Davis, Lyonel Feininger, Philip Guston,
Marsden Hartley and Jackson Pollock.
Knight, a Steinway Artist, teaches jazz piano at Grinnell
College. Claude Nobs, founder and artistic director of the Montreux (Switzerland)
Jazz Festival, said "Knight is incontestably one of the finest solo pianists
in the world. (He) is quietly establishing a place for himself among the masters
of jazz piano."
Knight's other recordings for After Hours Recordings
include "Dan Knight and the La Fosse Jazz Trio: Live from Studio III," recorded
with UI violin faculty member Leopold La Fosse; "Dan Knight: Montreux"; and
"Dan Knight: Do You Hear What I Hear." Recordings to be released soon are
"Dan Knight Duo: Live at Riverside Theatre" and "Dan Knight Quartet: Live
at the Cottonwood Club."
The Museum of Art has Knight's CD "Pictures at an
Exhibition" on sale for $15 and the museum note card set for $13. Both the
CD and note cards will be on sale at other locations in eastern Iowa. The
CD will also be available through Dan Knight's web page, at http://www.danknight.com.
For information on the UI Museum of Art, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~artmus
on the World Wide Web.