Michael Arnowitt in Concert
Pianist, composer, and event organizer Michael Arnowitt is one of the most creative musicians of today. His imaginative musical landscapes and extraordinary sense of touch at the piano have delighted audiences in concert halls around the world, from his home base in Vermont and Toronto to France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, and Korea. His life and music is the subject of a documentary film, “Beyond 88 Keys” (2004). The documentary, filmed in both the United States and Europe, has been broadcast on public television and has been shown at a variety of film festivals and venues including the Rode Pomp, an arts center in Gent, Belgium and the Anthology, a theater in New York City's East Village. Once international touring resumes, he will be performing an 8 concert tour of China with the guitarist Steve Blair where the duo will perform in Beijing and other Chinese cities.
In 1989 Michael Arnowitt began his novel, 26-year long presentation of the complete 32 Beethoven piano sonatas, matching up his age as he performed the various sonatas with Beethoven's age as Beethoven composed them. The eight concerts in the series, spaced out over 26 years, became a study in the psychology of aging and development: audiences have heard how Beethoven developed as a composer, how Arnowitt developed as a pianist and the intersection of the two processes
Other creative projects have included “If Music Be the Food of Love,” a performance of classical and jazz music about food with the simultaneous serving to the audience of the food tastes that inspired the composers, and an intriguing collaboration where he combines his piano improvisations with the live creation of paintings on stage by visual artists. He also performs with the photographer Marjorie Ryerson in a multi-media program Water Music where piano music about water is combined with the projection of water photographs and spoken readings on the subject of water written by leading musicians of today.
In 2013 his composition Haiku Textures for three cello soloists and orchestra was premiered. In this composition the three cello soloists, mirrored by different trios of orchestral instruments scattered in the four corners of the hall, symbolize the three lines of a Japanese haiku poem. A 2 CD set of 14 of Michael Arnowitt’s jazz compositions, Sweet Spontaneous, was released by Parma Recordings in July 2018. He is currently working on a new composition, Sound Essence, for jazz quartet and Indonesian gamelan orchestra. Michael Arnowitt is also developing a new concept of a multi-sensory performance event where he will be collaborating with a fabric artist, a chef, a botanist, a scent artist, and technologists to create a novel concert where the audience will be presented music paired with related simultaneous experiences in all the senses - touch, smell, sight, and taste.
Michael Arnowitt has also distinguished himself as an event organizer. In September 2000, he was the artistic director of the Vermont Millennium Music Festival, whose concept was to present in chronological order music from the year 1000 to the year 2000. An extraordinary chronicle of the music and culture of the past thousand years, the festival’s 24 concerts and special events created over a 4-day span an effect akin to time-lapse photography. Michael Arnowitt has also been the principal organizer of a number of large-scale fundraisers for humanitarian aid, among them an April 1999 benefit concert that raised $10,000 for Balkan war refugees; in addition to the monetary funds, the concert collected 300 emergency first aid kits and needed clothing for the refugee camps.
In 2016 he organized a benefit concert of Syrian music and literary readings that raised $14,000 in aid for Syrian refugees. Arnowitt created a thought-provoking program surveying Syria’s diverse cultures, with thirty performers presenting Syrian secular and sacred music, poetry, short stories, and drama, with special Syrian-born guests from Chicago, Albany, New Haven, and Vermont.
The Washington Post said of a concert Michael Arnowitt performed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., “he played with an exquisite sense of touch, color and musical imagination.”