Dan Chadburn Composed His Nocturnes Album Late At Night
Pianist Dan Chadburn has created a recording that is a "journey through the night." Appropriately titled Nocturnes, the CD explores the dreams, fears, mysteries and quiet serenity that can appear after dark, with the music featuring Chadburn's piano entwined with other musicians playing English horn, French horn, violin and viola. "Night has always been a special time for me, " Chadburn says. "Much of my piano playing is done late at night and most of these pieces were composed at night. I loved playing Chopin's famous 'Nocturnes' when I was growing up. I chose the title Nocturnes because it is most commonly used for classical music and this music sounds and feels a bit like classical music to me as well as having classical instrumentation. Night is an interesting time when we might ponder our mortality, or take a hard look at our lives, or count up the good times, or fall asleep and explore our subconscious in our dreams. This music can serve as a soundtrack for any of those late-night musings."
Nocturnes begins with the solo piano tune "Twilight" ("The nighttime journey is just beginning, " explains Chadburn) and ends with the piano-and-faint-strings piece "Sunrise" ("representing a sort of resurrection and the birth of a new day"). In between Chadburn leads listeners toward the pleasures of sleep with two lullabies dedicated to female acquaintances ("Anne's Lullaby" and "Bella's Lullaby") as well as the childlike melody "Once Upon a Time." The piano-viola-French horn tune "Abundance" symbolizes a time of prayer and giving thanks for ample blessings bestowed.
Continuing the nocturnal theme, other compositions cover, according to Chadburn, "the radiant beauty of the 'Stars, ' the 'Mystery' of the darkness and the unknown, traveling through the night on 'The Road', the late night reflections of a 'Quiet Soul, ' and the 'Journey Home' as we return to wakefulness and consciousness." In addition, "Peter's Theme" was written late at night and is dedicated to Peter Fox, a musician friend who passed away during the recording of the album.
This is Dan Chadburn's fourth album. Solo Piano, Reflections, Whispers the Falling Snow and Nocturnes are available at his website (DanChadburn.com) and as CDs and digital downloads at a variety of online sales sites including CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic and many others.
Chadburn is a classically-trained pianist who found he enjoyed improvisation as much as playing traditional repertoire. Now he uses improvisation to compose most of his material on piano and electronic keyboards. For the albums Nocturnes and Reflections (which also features additional instruments), Chadburn created the arrangements and scored the parts played by the other musicians. On Nocturnes Chadburn is joined by several top musicians from the Washington, DC, area - Helen Hausmann on violin and viola, Carole Libelo on English horn, and Marty Hackleman on French horn. Chadburn plays solo piano on the first two tunes. He also plays synthesized harpsichord and bass on "Quiet Soul, " and adds soft synth strings to several of the tracks.
"While the piano is often the focal point of my compositions, I wanted the pieces on Nocturnes to feature other instruments as well, " states Chadburn. "As I improvised the piano tracks for the album, I could hear those instrument parts in my head and 'left space' for them. This allowed me to later score the album to contain a mix of solo piano pieces as well as ones in which my piano serves as an accompaniment to the featured instrumental soloists."
A native of Oregon, Dan began taking piano lessons when he was nine years old and continued through high school where he also served as the accompanist for the choral groups and stage plays. Several times in junior high and high school, he was selected as an Oregon Music Teacher's Association (O.M.T.A.) syllabus winner, which resulted in his performing in recitals on the state level. He went on to earn his Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance at Pacific Lutheran University. In addition he began playing electronic synthesized keyboards. Chadburn moved to Los Angeles and enrolled in the Film Scoring Program at UCLA. Soon he was scoring for film and television and working as a session musician.
Chadburn wanted to expand his musical vision so he moved to London and studied ElectroAcoustic Composition under two pioneers in the field, Denis Smalley and Simon Emmerson. "I was very grateful for the opportunity to learn from these two masters in the genre and grow as a composer. This was a non-traditional form of composition that some would say was on the outskirts of avant-garde. In this genre, traditional instruments and melody are frequently absent. My primary focus was to record odd sounds, transform them with audio processing, and insert them into symphonic works. For one piece, 'Dreams, ' I recorded and altered sounds made by various kitchen items such as jelly beans dropped into a bowl, spatulas hitting cake pans, water shaken in a jar, portable oven timers, etc., ultimately creating a surreal collage of sound to represent what one might hear and see after falling asleep." Chadburn earned his Masters of Music degree in ElectroAcoustic Composition from London's City University.
Chadburn's performance venues have included Carnegie Hall in New York City, Symphony Hall in Boston and The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Additionally, his choral compositions have been recorded and performed in the Concert Hall of The Kennedy Center.
After moving to the Washington, DC, area, Chadburn began writing and recording hundreds of improvisational piano themes which led to his first album, Solo Piano. The Washington Area Music Association nominated the album for "Best New Age Recording" in the WAMA Awards, and Chadburn was nominated for "Best New Age Instrumentalist." His second recording, Reflections, also sprung out of improvisations, but included other musicians on viola, French horn, flute and English horn, plus on one track the singing of Tom Nichols, Chadburn's longtime musical partner and producer. More recently, Chadburn has released the CD Whispers the Falling Snow containing solo piano versions of both classic Christmas carols and some original material capturing the spirit of winter. Chadburn's Nocturnes has earned a WAMA nomination for "Best Classical Recording" while Chadburn has been nominated again as "Best Classical Instrumentalist."
Chadburn has been featured (alongside other pianists such as Suzanne Ciani, Spencer Brewer and Robin Spielberg) on several compilation recordings produced for charitable causes, including The Heart Aid Project which benefited the victims of the 9/11 tragedy and their families. Among Chadburn's other special projects was a single, "Promise of Hope, " he wrote and recorded for a philanthropic program run by Choice Hotels International and benefiting The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and Metropolitan Baltimore. With Nocturnes Chadburn continues to donate to worthwhile causes. Proceeds from "Peter's Theme" are donated to The Peter Fox Project which in turn benefits the Sitar Arts Center in Washington, an after-school youth organization for the arts. In addition, the tune "Anne's Lullaby" benefits The National Family Resiliency Center "to preserve a sense of family and foster healthy relationships."
Over the years Chadburn has been inspired by the music of George Winston, John Williams, Michael Buble, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Claude Debussy, Frederic Chopin, Sergei Prokofiev, Itzhak Perlman, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Barbra Streisand.
Chadburn says, "I would like the music of Nocturnes to help listeners find peace in their lives, to assist them in coping with whatever problems they have, and to be used for times of introspection. I hope it will inspire, soothe and heal."
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