What are you looking for in pieces of new piano music? Paul Barnes



Paul Barnes
Photo by Don Hunstein

Given my basic core belief that music at its best can function as a type of sacramental bridge between the physical and the spiritual, I look for music that explores these types of metaphysical themes. It’s also one of the reasons I tend to be drawn to minimalism, which I consider one of the most refreshing aesthetic positions available to today’s composers, audience and performers.

The work I’ve done with Philip Glass ranks among the most musically and spiritually rewarding collaborations of my musical career. Consciously rejecting the “cult of the difficult”, Glass’s music has forced me to consider the deeper issues of music and piano playing such as absolute sonority and rhythmic vitality. With all the pretenses of musical shape, musical events, and musical climax essentially rejected, one has the sublime experience of concentrating on and contemplating what I consider the significantly more essential musical elements of pure unadulterated sonic beauty and the primal rhythmic energy that for me creates the most compelling musical events for today’s audience.