Meet pianist Charles Szczlused – performer, record performer, artistic director, composer, church musician and producer. You’ve probably watched his awesome Star Trek and other transcripts on YouTube. As many hats as he wears, I am very grateful that he took the time to do this interview. We chatted in an email about her music growing up, acoustically shaping its color and depth, for her mother, a hobby that became company, and much more.
I asked Charles if he was ever surprised to wear a hat in such a selection and said, “As a person who is still busy with life, he always wants to learn new things and is always looking forward to the next project, it is understandable that a slow and steady development leads to where I am today. ”
Please tell me a little bit about growing up. Have you always improvised and composed?
Growing up, he never played a lot of classical music in my household. When I finished rehearsing, I turned to the pop piano excerpt from the Beatles, Elton John, Billy Joel, and others.
He pointed out that the piano part did not contain the melody, which is an important element in making the song recognizable! I said something outraged, like, “But it’s on a different line; I can’t read three lines! “He persuaded me to read the three lines together with a little more pampering and he was happy.
His exploration, which was beyond the piano part, had lasting effects. I started looking at the guitar chords, learned how to approach these sounds on the keyboard, and add them to the vocals and piano lines. I tried to fill in the textures and comments missing from the published layout. By the time I started high school, I knew full well that published pop music transcripts were approximations at best. I was also very aware that music is not the ink on the site; we heard those sounds in the air around us.
My mother’s simple question opened the door to directing, which in turn led to discoveries in composition and improvisation. By the time I was ten, I was writing original music, some inspired by pop music, others by classical music.
During my college studies, I had the good fortune to work closely with a live composer, Paul Aurandt, on one of his great, romantic works. These coachings consolidated what I discovered about pop music and helped apply these concepts to classical as well. Mainly, the notes on the page are at most an approximation of the music designed by the composer.
A glimpse into the composer’s mind was incredibly insightful to my interpretations and understanding of the classical repertoire. During my college studies, a teacher remarked, “You play the piece as if you wrote it.” I can’t think of a better compliment!
Who were and are your greatest mentors? Why?
I studied with Dr. Daniel Paul Horn at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music between the ages of 12 and 17, and between 18 and 23 with Professor Robert Hamilton at the Arizona State University. Dr. Horn has shown that studying music is a lifelong endeavor. You can enjoy what you have achieved, but the growth process never ceases. Professor Hamilton paid a lot of attention to detail in me. I remember working with him on a Mozart sonata. We spent 45 minutes exploring every conceivable game mode of the first beat, and we didn’t move on until we found every opportunity!
Paul Aurandt, better known as Paul Harvey Jr., became a writer and producer of The Story of Story radio show. When we first met, he characterized my game as if I was looking through a thin sheet of paper behind which I had the desired musical result. – Why are you putting the paper in there? asked. “Tear it through! “More broadly, it made me believe more than everyone in my game and my interpretations. It reminds me to trust my intuition and execute it.
Please talk about his latest album, Keys to the Cinema.
I developed the Keys to the Cinema concept in late 2013 after hearing that John Williams was conducting the Phoenix Symphony. The evening was magical due to the enthusiastic reactions of the audience. Every piece was known and loved.
After letting the concept bubble, I started arranging the music in early 2016. All my processing consists of ears without studying the written orchestral score. Liszt was a transcription of great sheet music, and his style of instrumentation strongly influences how I work and think about piano colors.