Conrad Tao Piano Recital
May 31 | 2016
Conrad Tao PIANO
… une page d’éphéméride (“… and then you discover yourself”)
Carnaval, Op. 9
Fantasy in C major, “Wanderer”
“Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues” from North American Ballads
Expect the unexpected as Dallas Symphony Artist-in-Residence Conrad Tao brings his lyricism and dazzling virtuosity to Dallas in a solo piano recital at Dallas Contemporary. Stay after the recital for an informal conversation with Conrad.
- A 21-Year-Old Music Prodigy Takes Dallas By Storm: The Symphony’s Millennial Whisperer Opens Up Poss
The visual arts have long served as a source of interest for Tao, whose parents exposed him to multitude artistic mediums since childhood. “I grew up loving Rothko and Donald Judd,” he says. “Then as I got older I got into Ryan Trecartin, then Paul McCarthy and other video artists. That is a fairly important source of inspiration.”
BY CHRISTINA GEYER
Within minutes of speaking with 21-year-old musician Conrad Tao, the conversation will recall the kind of esoteric intellectualism one would imagine occurred in the most intriguing expat salons of Paris. Tao is the type who can wax poetic on art, music, philosophy and the au courant with aplomb. The likes of Gertrude Stein or Josephine Baker could perhaps keep up with Tao’s quick mind, but to mere mortals, he will appear to operate on a higher level, speaking in a tone of eloquence that exudes his character as equal parts dreamer, perfectionist, encyclopedic thinker and obsessive creator.
Tao, who lives in New York and spends occasional time in Dallas as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s 2015/2016 artist in residence, is in town this week for a piano recital at the Dallas Contemporary (Tuesday, May 31) as part of the DSO’sSoluna International Music and Arts Festival. He will tickle the ivories surrounded by the incomparable oil paintings from Dan Colen, the monumental sculptures from Helmut Lang and those whimsical feather bears by Paola Pivi, which have garnered much attention since the trio of exhibitions debuted in April.
“I’m inspired by those fluffy bears,” says Tao. “It’s a really inspiring place to perform. There is a different energy.” The visual arts have long served as a source of interest for Tao, whose parents exposed him to multitude artistic mediums since childhood. “I grew up loving Rothko and Donald Judd,” he says. “Then as I got older I got into Ryan Trecartin, then Paul McCarthy and other video artists. That is a fairly important source of inspiration.”
Tao’s youthful yet authoritative perspective on the arts also applies to the challenge of how to reach new, and in particular younger, audiences — a growing debacle the Dallas Symphony and myriad arts organizations the world over are focusing on as current patron bases begin to age. It is the on-trend question: How do you bridge the gap and engage the so-called millennial with the arts, particularly with classical music. Tao, a member of the generation in question, has his opinions, and it may not be what you would think. His views directly oppose the blanketed notion used by organizations that all young people should be tapped as future supporters of the arts.