In April 2011 Barron Ryan wowed the judges of the Young Artists Competition with a repertoire of Bach, Beethoven, and one of the most challenging pieces of music ever written for the piano, Mily Balakirev’s “Islamey.” The competition, sponsored by the Oklahoma Israel Exchange, awards the winner with a performance tour in Israel. On October 15th Barron’s tour begins.
Until 2012 the Young Artist Competition had been strictly classical music. Although a talented jazz musician, Barron’s success was based on his prowess in the classical genre. The pianist’s desire to bring a fresh take on classical music led him to create a program of American classical-infused jazz music. Gershwin’s jazz-styled classical music, Bolcom’s classical rags, and the works of Nikolai Kapustin meld for a concert that is simultaneously modern and retro.
Barron has tested this unusual combination on an international audience before: in June of 2012 Barron played a small tour in Japan’s Kyoto Prefecture. His jazz and classical concert received a standing ovation during his sold-out performance at the Galleria Kameoka. “Those performances were to help me prepare for this trip,” said Barron, “It was very well received, so I feel confident that it will be well received in Israel as well.” Much of the music from this concert will be on Barron’s debut solo album, which he will begin recording in December.