Tag Archives: amanda sweet

Episode 10: Collaborating – strings attached

Every American Pianists Awards competition requires the finalists to perform in collaboration with other artists, as collaborating and accompanying others are fundamental skills for any musician to develop.

In this episode we explore the pairing of piano and string players through two such collaborations: on the classical side we talk with 2017 American Pianists Awards finalist Henry Kramer and violist Matthew Lipman, a much-lauded soloist. The pair recently released the world-premiere recording of the newly discovered Impromptu by Dmitri Shostakovich.

From the jazz world we explore how the genre-busting, Grammy-winning string group Turtle Island Quartet collaborates with renowned jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut, with whom the group is currently touring.

Episode 9: Singing with Sullivan Fortner

Episode nine of “The Journey” dives into the dynamic between singers and pianists from the perspective of 2015 American Pianists Awards winner Sullivan Fortner. We talk to Sullivan about his musical upbringing in New Orleans, explore his current approach to collaborating and hear him perform with great vocal talents including Cècile Mclorin Salvant, Dianne Reeves, Jean Baylor, José James and Paul Simon. Finally, we welcome two new contributors to the podcast: public radio reporter/host Jill Ditmire joins as co-host, and music publicist Amanda Sweet makes her debut as our field interviewer.

Sullivan Fortner explains how he started working with singers:

“It came out of church. My first musical experience was with singers. I remember hearing harmony and kind of listening to my mom and my mom’s brothers and sisters rehearse, and I’d tell them they’re singing the parts wrong. I’d say, “the alto lines go like this” and they’d say “boy, shut up,” and they’d listen back and say “yeah, that’s right.” So I always gravitated to singers because that’s what I first heard.”