Jonathan Crayford touring NZ with a Steinway Grand Piano
Acclaimed as a highly original compositional talent, Jonathan Crayford has been responsible for many film soundtracks, albums, and bands. His work today spans many different genres and disciplines, in many different parts of the world, working alongside the likes of Kurt Rosenwinkel, David Binney, David Murray, Groove Collective, Amp Fiddler, Questlove, Mambo Macoco, Bruno Lawrence and many others.
His most recent recordings Dark Light and East West Moon received great critical success, with the latter winning the 2017 Tui Award for Best Jazz Album.
Now he has a new project – to tour New Zealand with a Steinway D Concert Grand Piano.
“There is a huge difference between a full sized concert grand in good condition and every other piano. The big ones make a huge sound and the balance of low frequency to high frequency is glorious, the tone divine,” Crayford explains. “When a pianist performs on an instrument that can deliver such a sound - the instrument inspires greatness and in turn, the audience feel it. This is a special condition reserved only for venues with great pianos. So I proposed to set up a tour with a very special piano, to fill the gap and bring a truly great instrument to audiences throughout the country: We’re taking the music to the people.”
The piano is a 1955 full sized Steinway concert grand, signed by several concert pianists throughout its lifetime, including Lily Kraus – “a fantastic pianist from Hungry who had been in a concentration camp - became a refugee and started touring the world in the 30's and 40's. She was a specialist in Beethoven and Mozart and had quite a strong presence in NZ.”
“I decided on this tour as I personally relish the opportunity to perform on such an instrument - and this is why I have not previously toured NZ as a solo pianist. We are creating a template for future tours of the same nature and can increase and broaden the scope of the project to include other artists (International and National), and other venues around NZ that don't have the facility to host such artists.”
The Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter had a similar idea: "Put a small piano in a truck and drive out on country roads; take time to discover new scenery; stop in a pretty place where there is a good church; unload the piano and tell the residents; give a concert; offer flowers to the people who have been so kind as to attend; leave again."
“It will be a great pleasure for me to be able to perform on such a brilliant instrument to people all over New Zealand,” says Crayford. “We also have a wide range of venues: A cement silo, a wine cave, a concert hall and various other types of spaces.”
“I'm going to play everything that's been in my mind for the last 2 years since I came back to New Zealand to live close to my daughter and grand-daughter."
Crayford with be performing some Ravel, Bach, Ligeti, Monk, Ellington, Mingus, Mompou, Mario Bauza, Claire Fischer, Peter Gabriel, Lorca, and more.
The tour dates:
Sunday 25th February - Wellington - Nathan Haines and Jonathan Crayford Adagio concert for the International Festival of the Arts. Using a Steinway D piano but perhaps not this one. Jonathan Crayford on piano, Nathan Haines on flute/sax, plus a string trio. Playing Mahler, Albinoni, Barber, Ravel and Satie - a completely classical repertoire.
Friday 16th March - Auckland - Uxbridge Arts Centre
Sunday 18th March - Auckland - Jonathan Crayford and Trio - Lot 23, Auckland
Tuesday 20th March - Auckland - Solo performance - Silo Park, Auckland Arts Festival (cement silo)
Saturday 31st March - Queenstown - Sherwood Hotel
Sunday 1st April - Queenstown - Sherwood Hotel
Wednesday 4th April - Central Otago - Rippon Vineyard
Thursday 5th April - Central Otago - Gibbston Valley Winery (in the wine cave) TBC
Saturday 7th April - Dunedin - Hanover Hall (concert hall)
Wednesday 11th April - Christchurch - The Exchange
Friday 13th April - Nelson - Venue TBC
Thurs-Sat 19/20/21 April - Wellington - Suite Gallery (in the art gallery - 4 shows including matinee) TBC