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Interview with pianist composer Kobi Arad

Kobi Arad is one of the most Prominent, Prolific and Versatile pianists-composers-producers emerging from Israel. A Grammy Award voting member, he is the first musician to ever receive Doctorate in field of 'Third Stream' from New England Conservatory of Music, Boston -- with 20+ self-titled CD's presently available on Amazon. We have conducted an interview with him.

How do you feel being the first musician in history to receive the Doctorate in the field of Contemporary Improvisation and Third Stream?

I feel lucky and honored. When I was in Israel, and found out there was an established field in music called 'Third Stream' in the US, which was aimed at merging classical and jazz. I was enthused beyond words since I knew this was my calling in life. At the time I was in Israel, informing and educating myself of precisely this combination of styles. When I earned Masters and Doctorate from New England Conservatory in that field, it meant a lot to me, because it wasn't just an 'occupation' but my actual musical and artistic vision in life.

What is your favorite recording in your CD album?

My new upcoming CD 'Ellington Upside Down' feels like an inspired session. When I am inspired I don't pay attention to details, just flow above the tracks. Looking back at the recording, I could say I like 'Caravan,' since it has a very floating vibe to it, a bit eastern and meditative. I also use in it one of my "own" stylistic features I adapted. It has to do with melody played two octaves apart, then creating a space which is filled by strong and deep harmonic pound with two hands at the lower register. I used it before in various of my albums, including 'Vagabond' as well as 'Moments - Tribute to Gyorgy Ligeti'.


What other projects are you working on besides being a composer and pianist?

I had the pleasure to be approached by Claes Nobel of Nobel Prize for Peace. He asked that ai assemble 21 Grammy Winners and noms and produce them with the African pop group Ganda Boys. It all happened in LA in 2016 and was a very special experience for everyone involved. Special participants were Mickey Stevenson, Robert Margouleff (he worked on Stevie Wonder's Innervision as an associate producer). The project was for the cause of helping African refugees around the world.

I am now working on an interesting project with Kabir Sehgal (Grammy Winning Producer and NY Times Bestselling Author) to gather an Israeli all-star jazz musicians to record a project centering in a mystical notion of 'Kabbalistic Songs.'

I would say though that my main focus is as a pianist and composer, sharing my music with the world.

Do you sometimes utilize your musical sensibilities to enjoy music?

I often use my perfect pitch to learn new musical phrases and harmonies as I go (listening to earphones while riding the bike). I find it to be a gift that I could constantly evolve and learn new patterns even at times that are not devoted for that purpose per saè.

I do believe that perfect pitch is in a sense a sensibility towards musical colors. Much like people who could see colors may recognize "green" and "blue" - I could recognize the pitches, textures and tone colors in a heightened way. I am very appreciative of that, since, it intensifies the musical enjoyment.

Where are your compositions featured? Please share some prominent venues.

To name a few, my compositions have been featured in prominent venues including Israel’s National Radio, IBA (“Lullaby for String Quartet and a Tape,” & Several Full-Program interviews with Zmira Luzky); Jordan Hall, Boston (“Ancient Novice,” String Quintet, featuring members of Boston Symphony Orchestra) & (“Elegy for Violin Solo and Jazz Big Band,” Bob Brookmeyer’s Composers Orchestra); BMI Composer’s Workshop Orchestra, (“Awakened by Grace,” – A Tribute to Bob Brookmeyer); Rekanati Hall, Tel Aviv Museum (“Recomposition of Hindemith, ‘Wir Bauen Ein Stadt”, featuring Israeli Chamber Orchestra); Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYC (‘Up the Ladder’ featuring Jazz Trio); New Jersey Performing Center (“Sunshine Upon Our Face,” Featuring vocalist Aisha Hosley); Harvard–Epworth Church, Cambridge, MA, (‘Sufi Songs,’ featuring a Jazz Trio with Cecil McBee and Bob Moses); Einav Cultural Center, City Hall, Tel Aviv, (‘Free Jazz Large Ensemble featuring Lucas Ligeti and Steve Hornstein”); Hangar 13, Tel Aviv (“Overture-Fantasia” Suite for String Trio, Featuring Members of Israeli Philharmonic).

Interview with pianist composer Kobi Arad Reviewed by JaamZIN on 8:28:00 PM Rating: 5
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