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Peter Colclasure – Photo Credit: Adam Pearl
At any time of the day, you may have occasion to chill out, ground yourself, go within, or daydream of better times and better space. It can excite, it can bring joy, it can give cause for reflection. Some music is useful in terms of helping with that and even better when the creative expanse of a single artists is wide enough that they cover many of these bases.
San Jose’s Peter Colclasure is one such artist capable of manifesting this range of talent and dreamery. Serene, sometimes calming, sometimes narcotic and often instantly memorable. His diverse soundworld is reflected in his latest album – one created of passion and loving engagement and his third LP to date.
An award-winning pianist and composer, Colclasure’s new album Una Corda presents 12 astounding compositions worth putting on repeat. Legends like Michael Nyman, Philip Glass and Steve Reich immediately come to mind. This music is cinematic and minimalistic, while still being accessible. No doubt he will connect beyond the margins of modernism to a much wider audience.
Colclasure plays piano at the New Ballet School (formerly Silicon Valley Ballet), in addition to teaching at Evergreen Studio of Music and the Arts. He currently plays with several San Jose groups, including Cola, the Jean Jackets, the Rose Peddlers, and the Vanities. Occasionally he performs with groundbreaking artist Cellista and flies to Seattle to record and perform with the Foghorns.
The new album follows Colclasure’s ‘Long Form’ LP, released in early 2019 and debut solo instrumental ‘Artigo’ LP the year before. His compositions have been used for choreography by the eMotion Arts dance troupe, the Memphis Ballet and Boise Ballet Academy.
“This music was written and recorded during the winter of 2019-20, innocent of a looming pandemic. I wanted to create something calm. When the shelter-in-place order hit in mid-March, I was just starting to mix the record — a process that involved hours of close listening on various speakers and headphones, as well as frequent midnight walks to my car parked down the street to sit in the dark with a notepad on the steering wheel, deciding whether to pan a particular sound to the left or adjust the reverb,” says Peter Colclasure.
“The transition from routine to quarantine was sudden and disorienting. The grocery store shelves were emptied; the streets were silent; and as weeks went by, time seemed to expand in every direction at once. “Una Corda” is a musical directive that indicates the use of the soft pedal. It’s when things go quiet.”
Written, performed, recorded and mixed by Colclasure on his laptop computer, this album was mastered by Kenny Schick at Basement3Production. His sound and esthetic are inspired by the works of Max Richter, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich, as well as John Luther Adams and Arvo Pärt.
After graduating with a degree in piano performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004, Peter Colclasure spent a decade touring, recording and performing with various rock bands. While living in Seattle from 2007 to 2012, he discovered ballet accompaniment. He has played for Dance Fremont, Spectrum and Evergreen Ballet, providing live music for dance rehearsals, as well as composing and arranging original music for choreography.
The ‘Una Corda’ album is now available online via stores like Apple Music and streaming platforms such as Spotify. It can also be obtained directly from the artist via Bandcamp.
On Saturday, October 24, several of Colclasure’s compositions for piano and strings will feature in the New Ballet School’s live performance from the Hammer Theater in San Jose. This is a livestream event presnts this contemporary ballet world premiere, performed live for the first time by string quartet and piano. Tickets are available HERE.
Written & Performed by Peter Colclasure
Cover photograph by Doran Bastin
Milhows played 30 seconds of guitar on “Nur Wer Die Punkrock Kennt”
Mastered by Kenny Schick at Basement3Productions
Album design by Sabine Heusler-Schick
Also check out these two beautiful compositions from his previous album
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