Steinway Salon: On Clipper Erickson

A look at our past, a glimpse of our future, and a celebration of how they connect.
Before our next edition of Steinway Salon, we wanted to share thoughts from composer and pianist Jed Distler about Clipper Erickson, who will be playing the music of under-recognized composer Robert Nathaniel Dett at Symphony Space on October 20th.

Dear Symphony Space audience,

As curator of the Steinway Salon Recital Series at Symphony Space, I want to draw your attention to a fellow pianist whom I admire greatly, Clipper Erickson. He’s making a rare New York appearance very soon on Thursday October 20th at 7PM, and I urge you not to miss it.

Clipper offers an unusually compelling program at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater for Symphony Space’s Steinway Salon Recital Series. This concert is part of Symphony Space’s month-long Project Americana. It celebrates a golden age of past and present American luminaries, with the spotlight on the pioneering and under-recognized African-American composer R. Nathaniel Dett (1882–1943). Clipper’s recording of Dett’s complete piano works belongs in any serious piano collection.

Also included on the recital are Laurie Altman’s Ten Miniatures, Samuel Barber’s monumental Piano Sonata, and works written especially for Clipper by David Finko and Richard Brodhead. The concert concludes with two galvanizing transcriptions from Aaron Copland’s ballet Rodeo.

I’m impressed with, and even envious of Clipper’s world-class virtuosity, insightful musicianship and joyful stage presence. Clipper’s fervent advocacy of unknown yet heartfelt, communicative American piano music deserves our support. When you leave a Clipper Erickson concert, your ears and mind have opened even more, and you inevitably feel recharged. That’s precisely why Clipper belongs on the Steinway Salon series, and why you shouldn’t miss him.

So join me October 20th and help us give Clipper Erickson the New York welcome that he deserves. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Musically yours,


Composer, Pianist, and Curator of the Steinway Salon Recital Series at Symphony Space, Jed Distler.
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