Presented by the College of Charleston School of the Arts’ Department of Music, guest pianists John Salmon and Annie Jeng will perform the works of musical legend Dave Brubeck (1920-2012). Designated a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, Brubeck was one of the most active and popular musicians in both the jazz and classical worlds. With a career that spanned over six decades, his experiments in odd time signatures, improvised counterpoint, polyrhythm and polytonality remain hallmarks of innovation. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Brubeck’s birth.
The FREE concert will take place on Thursday, January 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Recital Hall in the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St. Salmon and Jeng will play a mix of classical and jazz duet and solo pieces such as “Four by Four,” “The Duke,” “Glances” (which includes a movement named ‘Doin’ the Charleston’), “Dziękuję” and more.
John Salmon has distinguished himself on four continents, as both a classical and jazz artist. Critics have praised his “mesmerizing boldness and confidence” (Tallahassee Democrat, Tallahassee, Fla.) and called him “a tremendous pianist” (El País, Madrid, Spain) and “dashing performer” (Journal de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland). His broad repertoire covers the classics – Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms – though his involvement with contemporary music is equally strong. Salmon has been at the forefront of performing new works by such celebrated composers as Dave Brubeck (who dedicated two compositions to Salmon), Nikolai Kapustin, and Lalo Schifrin. His performances and recordings (on the Phoenix, Naxos, and Albany labels) have been heard on radio stations throughout the U.S., including National Public Radio, WNYC in New York, and WFMT in Chicago; and on the national radio stations of Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Moldova, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine. Salmon is a frequent guest performer at festivals in the U.S. and Europe, having appeared at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival (Charleston, S.C.), Piano Festival Northwest (Portland, Oregon), Festival for Creative Pianists (Grand Junction, Colo.), Festival Internacional de Música del Mediterráneo (Cartagena, Spain), and the International Bartók Festival (Szombathely, Hungary). Other special appearances include an all-Liszt recital in Mexico City for the American Liszt Society and an all-Brubeck recital in Washington, D.C. for the Music Teachers National Association. Salmon has been a member of the faculty of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Music since 1989. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Texas at Austin; the Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School; the Solistendiplom from the Hochschule für Musik, Freiburg, Germany; and the Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts (philosophy) degrees from Texas Christian University.
Annie Jeng enjoys a diverse career as an internationally active performer, educator, and arts entrepreneur. She has performed widely in such settings as Italy, Spain, China, the Kennedy Center, and given University guest artist recitals at University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Interlochen Arts Academy, University of South Florida, and University of Windsor. Performances have included Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra and Messiaen’s Oiseaux exotiques with the University of Michigan Contemporary Directions Ensemble. As a passionate champion of contemporary music, she has collaborated with ensembles such as Yarn/Wire, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and Roomful of Teeth. A Presser scholar, Jeng has presented at Music Teachers National Association conferences at the national and collegiate level, and had previous teaching positions at Schoolcraft College Piano Academy and The Faber Institute. She also serves as the Artist Fellow for the Brancaleoni International Music Festival in Piobbico, Italy.
Jeng’s essential goal as an artist is to make communities richer and more meaningful through the arts. To this end, she strives to make music accessible to audiences of all backgrounds by expanding and rethinking the traditional recital format to include interdisciplinary and interactive elements, all with the aim of encouraging audiences to engage with the artistic experience. Previous projects include curating concert series at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital and the Ann Arbor Distilling Company in Ann Arbor. She also led music workshops through the Prison Creative Arts Project at University of Michigan. Much of Jeng’s research is devoted to contemporary music and studying the pedagogical capabilities of contemporary piano techniques. In 2018, Jeng received the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship from the University of Michigan to create a pedagogical resource called Circles and Lines that will feature newly commissioned works by female composers that introduce unconventional piano techniques to intermediate pianists.
She is the founder and member of the piano and percussion duo, Back Pocket Duo, with Colin McCall. Their recent tour titled The Empathy Project was an interactive performance that explored the connections between art and empathy with the hope of every audience member finding a stronger sense of empathetic connection with others in their individual worlds. Jeng is also a member of Four Corners Ensemble and serves as their Educational Programming Coordinator. Committed to supporting musicians in finding their unique career path, she also worked as a Programming Assistant at University of Michigan’s Excellence in Entrepreneurship, Career Empowerment & Leadership Lab.
Jeng received her Master of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Michigan and her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance with a minor in Public Health from New York University. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Michigan. Her teachers include Logan Skelton, John Ellis, José Ramón Mendez, Miyoko Lotto, Anne-Marie McDermott, and Faye Bonner.