Versatile pianist joins Marian McPartland on her award-winning ‘Piano Jazz’

April 30, 2003

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Eastman Office of Communications, 585-274-1050

ROCHESTER, NY — Music lovers across America will have the chance to get to know the versatile pianist Tony Caramia a whole lot better in May.

That’s because the Eastman School of Music Professor of Piano — acclaimed as a classical, jazz, and ragtime pianist — will be the featured guest on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, National Public Radio’s award-winning and long-running jazz series. The hour-long show, made available to NPR affiliate stations nationwide on May 6, will air locally on WXXI-AM 1370 at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 10. It will be repeated at 10 p.m., Monday, May 12. (Outside of Rochester, it can be heard via the internet on www.wxxi.org or by checking the airdate with local NPR-affiliated stations.)

Piano Jazz showcases both acclaimed artists and up-and-coming performers sharing music and memories with their legendary host and jazz pianist, Marian McPartland — who, just last weekend, performed in Eastman Theatre with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. McPartland has had a long affiliation with both Rochester and the Eastman School, and in 1999 created a concert series with the School’s jazz department that showcases up-and-coming jazz pianists in Kilbourn Hall.

“I was deeply honored to be asked by Marian to participate in her show,” said Caramia, who has been a member of the Eastman faculty since 1990 and currently directs the School’s piano pedagogy program and its class piano program. “The entire experience was delightful, exciting, and exhilarating.”

An active performer and educator, Caramia has presented concerts, appeared in festivals, and conducted workshops around the world, earning a reputation for his innovative programming. He also has four recordings: a solo jazz piano release called Tony Caramia, Live! Zebra Stripes, highlighting syncopated solo piano music of European and women composers; Brass Knuckles, a recital of contemporary ragtime; and Nimble Fingered Gentleman, featuring the music of English composer/pianist Billy Mayerl.

Caramia’s interest in Mayerl, specifically, caught the attention of McPartland, who got her start in the music business when she joined Billy Mayerl’s piano quartet in the late 1930s. On Piano Jazz, which was recorded last fall, the two pianists discuss Mayerl’s legacy, and Caramia plays the composer’s famous melody, Marigold, before teaming up with McPartland on a more contemporary favorite, Jobim’s Meditation.


Note to editors: Tony Caramia is available for interviews. A photograph is available as well.