When I talk about solo piano music, I'm talking about modern solo piano music. To be clear, this is not a discussion about classical piano music written by the "great masters." But rather, the "great masters" of today in the world of solo piano. At least I would call them "great masters."
Solo piano today, stylistically, is a combination of many different influences. And, just like any other genre, each composer has his or her own "flavor" of composition. The genre goes by many different names; "New Age" piano, "Contemporary" piano, and so on. Often those who don't listen much to the "solo piano" genre, haven't done their research, or are classical piano purists will dismiss this style of music, saying that it lacks technique and artistry. They couldn't be more wrong. It's different from what they're used to, and the scope of technique and artistry is vast, varying from pianist to pianist. It's an unfair and unjust assumption, and it's based purely on uneducated opinion in regard to "New Age" piano.
There is a very large market for New Age piano in today's world, and there is a very strong network of composers whose efforts have pushed this genre forward and into the public eye. Of course there are the pioneers, who include David Lanz and Will Ackerman. And there are those who've been around for a while like David Nevue, who with his "Whisperings" radio show and "Music Biz Academy" website have made invaluable contributions to the world of New Age music. And there are newcomers on the scene who are helping to shape solo piano music and further it's evolution into something fresh and new. Scott Davis comes to mind.
People who love New Age piano music are fiercely loyal. Often they become fans of numerous artists, enmeshing themselves in the beauty of these compositions. These are people who, typically, have a very open minded view where their tastes are concerned, ever expanding their palate to embrace more new and different material. These people really "hear" the differences from song to song, album to album, artist to artist. It's baffling to me how many highly educated pianists dismiss New Age music for reasons already stated, while many who can't play or sing a note embrace it. And in discussion, the uneducated are much more engaging and less opinionated. They have valid, creative things to say on the subject of solo piano, where the former group have critical words and a demeaning spirit. One doesn't have to wonder who's really more open, honest and receptive in their listening.
Solo piano music is certainly an enigma in and of itself in the year 2012. Its own style with it's own following. When I compose, I always begin with piano, and nothing else. Sometimes the piece stays that way, and there's nothing to be added. Sometimes, in my mind, there needs to be more. Strings, pads, percussions, the possibilities are endless. And what a journey it is to explore all of those possibilities. "Piano driven" music is my specialty, and I'm finding more artists who compose this way all the time. It just may be the next hottest thing in the piano world!
To listen to fresh, new, "piano driven" music, check out my online radio station at www.enlightenedpiano.com. I know most of the artists personally, and I can tell you that they're great people with even greater dreams and visions for our world, both socially and musically. Keep searching, and keep listening!
Donovan Johnson is an internationally recognized New Age pianist and recording artist. His music combines folk, classical and contemporary styles to create a unique sound all it's own, and is available through many websites and radio stations. To learn more, visit his website at www.donovanjohnson.net. Or visit his online New Age piano radio station at www.enlightenedpiano.com!