Pianist Mark Gardner has released his second solo piano CD, "The Price of Art." This CD contains eight new original piano compositions. This new release is amazing and addictive. Track after track demonstrates the unique and singular technical and compositional ability that only Mark Gardner can deliver. The songs are masterfully woven together and take the listener on an excursion to reunite with emotions they may have forgotten.
After a recent and informal performance, a listener approached Mark and said, "I noticed you made some of the women in the audience cry." Mark replied " I consider that the utmost compliment. That is the ultimate emotional response. It seems living in this world we often try to turn ourselves off. Who knows why we turn ourselves off. Maybe it is necessary just to survive in today's world. But sometimes, all it takes is just one intense chord or subconscious melody, and we explode with that fleeting moment of feeling, and knowing, and maybe understanding. That's what music is all about. It is an expression of emotions and feelings we simply can not convey with words."
Perhaps a piano is only metal wire stretched over wood. Somehow, Mark Gardner massages and hammers the spirit and soul of existence out of steel, copper, hickory and oak. No other pianist seems to have such an intense and individual style. The velocity of Mark's hands and figures is so fast, that they disappear into a blur with black and white keys melting into a pool of gray.
Mark has always been a rebel. He began taking piano lessons at the age of eight, an age considered too old to ever become a traditional concert pianist. His family picked his initial piano teacher based on her relaxed attitude and style. When Mark approached junior high school age, his piano teacher realized he had a very special talent, and that she had taken him as far as she could. She wanted him to have a demanding and technically exacting teacher. He therefore was transferred to the notorious piano teacher, Florence Sammons.
Many years ago, Ms. Sammons had been an acclaimed classical star in New York, performing world wide. Still young and with a stellar and increasing career ahead, she unexpectedly, and for unknown reasons, left the stage and glamour, and went to Wichita Falls, Texas to teach private piano lessons. No one knew why she had taken such a complete turn to obscurity. There were whispered rumors, as you would expect in a dusty small north Texas city, where locals could only dream of fame and world recognition. Why had Ms. Sammons returned to this place? Did she want to teach piano to the spoiled brats of oil barons and to the geeky children of secretaries who could barely afford the costs of lessons and sheet music?
New York's loss was Mark Gardner's gain. Under her cruel and demanding regimen, Florence Sammons gave Mark a remarkable technique. However, he was still not like all the others she had known or taught. He always preferred to play his own music. At first she fought him, threatening only 'Bach and buddies' had better come from those fingers. Resistance pursued, and more Mark Gardner was practiced than Mozart. He still loved Mozart and Beethoven, but other people played Mozart, and nobody was playing Mark Gardner.
Finally, in one of Ms. Sammon's major recitals (of course everyone who mattered in town was there,) unannounced, and not in the Official Program, Mark played an original composition rather than the published and planned Tschaikovsky. At first Ms. Sammons was angry. How could Mark Gardner, at such a young age, think he could compete with Peter Ilyitch? But soon she too was drawn into the fury of Mark's playing. The roar of the crowd's approval cemented her recognition. Mark was not like anyone else and embodied a unique and immense talent. She understood Mark's strength was not playing other peoples' music, but was instead, composing and playing his own brand of music. Mark performed an original piano composition at every Sammon's recital from then on.
After graduating high school, Mark attended the prestigious North Texas State University music program. At North Texas State, he passed the four year barrier requirement within his first semester. He also attended Cedar Valley College School of Music and the University of Texas at Arlington. Always the rebel, Mark eventually ran away to Los Angeles, California, to be the keyboardist for a band called Traveler.
His true love, however, was always the piano. He returned to his foremost medium, solo original piano. Unexpectedly selections from his first and home grown CD, "Original Piano," were featured on major classical radio stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, California. His second and latest effort, "The Price of Art," should establish Mark Gardner as one of the world's most amazing and unique piano composers and performers.
This CD represents his first work created in a truly professional environment. Ed Woolley, Recording Engineer at Firehouse Studios, was able to capture the true essence of Mark's rambuntious playing. Capitol Studios provided the venerable ears of Ron McMaster to control the final mix. Capital also utilized their world-renowned underground catacomb echo chambers to provide a rich resonance not available to most in this digital world.
If you find this music as addictive and enriching as I do, please help us support Mark. Help us expand his audience so that he can continue to develop and provide one of a kind, emotion busting, all original piano music.
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