Acclaimed pianist comes to New West for intimate performance

A six-time JUNO nominee who’s known for fusing classical and jazz is coming to New West for an intimate performance.

John Stetch will perform at Old Crow Coffee Co. (655 Front St.) on Thursday, Nov. 29 as part of the Up Close Recital Society series.

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A write-up about the concert notes that the pianist, originally from Edmonton, has travelled a diverse musical path since being given a clarinet and music lessons at age nine. He was exposed to his father’s love of jazz, and he also played in a Ukrainian wedding band for many years – an experience that led to one of his most praised albums, Ukrainianism (2002).

In his late teens, he became drawn to the “rhythmic and harmonic possibilities and overall beauty and completeness” of the piano, as the write-up says. He switched to piano as his main instrument and earned a music degree from McGill University a few years later.

In 1993, he moved to New York City, where he became the pianist in jazz bassist Rufus Reid’s band and also found a classical teacher – Burton Hatheway – who changed his life.

Through the 1990s, Stetch collaborated with such artists as Jeff Ballard, Mark Turner, Chris Cheek, Joe Martin, Jorge Rossy, Mike Murley, Rodney Green and Bill McHenry.

Of the 15 CDs Stetch has recorded, six were JUNO-nominated, including TV Trio, which features rearranged TV themes, and Off With The Cuffs, which features Stetch’s “radical reinterpretations” of Chopin, Bach, Mozart and Shostakovich.

Stetch is currently pursuing a master’s of music in classical composition at UBC and is on the faculty of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music.

He divides his time between Vancouver and New York City, where his flagship group is Vulneraville, featuring Steve Kortyka, Ben Tiberio and Philippe Lemm. He recently released his 15th CD Vulneraville: The Vancouver Concert.

Tickets for his Old Crow Coffee Co. concert are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m., and music starts at 7:30 p.m.

See johnstetch.brownpapertickets.com for information and tickets.

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