In this latest from EAC Video, Gregory Biss presents his composition, Lupin Rag, written in 2004, along with a discussion of ragtime including points about history, tempo and ‘marvelous’ dissonance! The piece is the ninth of a Virtual Concert and Keyboard Talk series that EAC staff and volunteers have been working to produce since springtime 2020. Previous videos were Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E minor (1720s), Etude #3 by Philip Glass (1994), Mozart’s Rondo in A Minor (1787), Biss’ own composition, Nocturne, written in 1991, Chopin’s Nocturne, opus 9, no. 2 (1831), Anton Webern’s Piano Variations, opus 27 (1936), Chopin’s Impromptu, opus 51 (1842), and William Bolcom’s Graceful Ghost (Rag) (1970).
Special thanks to volunteer Bernie Cecire and Island Fellow Mark Macey, who have worked with EAC staff member Lauren Koss on camerawork and sound recording for this series. Editing was completed by Koss.
“As many of you know, I generally play a piano recital each summer at EAC and at Summer Keys in Lubec,” noted Biss. “It was in the midst of those preparations that COVID appeared, so those plans—together with billions of others around the globe—had to be altered. It was with pleasure that I agreed to make several videos of the music, thereby contributing to EAC’s growing portfolio of on-line offerings available on our website. This repertory ranges over piano music from the last 300 years and includes two of my own compositions.There is of course no real substitute for live music and this is digital. But, these were all recorded in two sessions, pretty much in single takes, so they do exhibit the multiple and regrettable foibles which occur in actual performance. And so they are perhaps, ‘kinda live.’ Be sure to view the many videos available at eastportartscenter.org. These represent just some of the things we are doing at EAC to fulfill our normal community mission in these most abnormal times.”
Biss, a composer and pianist, has lived in Eastport since 1975. He was born in Illinois, and educated chiefly in Boston and Germany. His music has been featured by the Denver Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic and he performed the Schumann Piano Concerto with the Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony Orchestra in 2012. His Violin Concerto: just a sec was recently premiered by Trond Saeverud. Biss had a 20-year career as a scuba diver in the aquaculture industry, has been a longtime member of the piano faculty at SummerKeys in Lubec and operates a small business as a piano technician. He is President of the EAC Board of Directors, assistant director of Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony Orchestra, a Peavey Library Board member, and for many years was an Eastport City Councilor. He and his wife Barbara raised four children and now have six grandkids.