WANT TO GO?
An Afternoon with Bruce Adolphe, The Piano Puzzler
WHEN: 4 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Christ Church United Methodist, 1221 Quarrier St.
INFO: 304-344-5389 or www.festivallcharleston.com
Adolphe will teach a free Master Class followed by an improvisation/lecture from 10 a.m. to noon Monday in West Virginia State University's Ferrell Hall.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Bruce Adolphe's first piano teacher said he would never be a musician because he wasn't musical.
The teacher, whom Adolphe described as callous and sarcastic, would come into his house smelling of cigar smoke, would hog the piano bench and wouldn't play the music on the page. Adolphe's parents soon hired another local music teacher.
Her report about Adolphe's abilities was the opposite.
"[She] said she had very few students who were so involved and so engaged in music," he said.
Today, Adolphe plays on National Public Radio's "Performance Today," where he invents quizzes for "Piano Puzzlers" by rewriting a well-known tune using the style of a famous composer. He's also a composer and author and serves as resident lecturer and the director of family concerts for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the composer-in-residence at the Brain and Creativity Institute in Los Angeles.
Adolphe will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday at Christ Church United Methodist as part of FestivALL. His performance, titled "An Afternoon with Bruce Adolphe, the Piano Puzzler," will include piano puzzlers, discussion and improvisations based on audience members' suggestions, along with some highlights of his other work.
The show is geared toward all ages, and Adolphe said he makes an effort to include humor in his performance.
"I tend to be funny," he said. "Usually, I can't help it."
Adolphe's comedic side reveals itself quickly, when he talks about his 47-year-old parrot, Polly Rhythm. The parrot sings opera, and he prefers certain voices to repertoire. Adolphe said Polly likes sopranos, particularly those Adolphe listened to when he was small, such as Beverly Sills and Elly Ameling.