Celebrate Installation of New Concert Piano at Saint Peter's Church


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Elio Villafranca


NEW YORK, NY -- The Jazz Ministry of Saint Peters Church, Noble Art Pianos and pianoculture.com proudly announce the arrival of a new Sauter Omega 220 Concert Piano at Saint Peters Church. To celebrate the arrival of the new piano, Saint Peters Church and pianoculture.com present a concert series entitled Pianoculture at Saint Peters, featuring giants of the world stage as well as rising stars of Brazilian, Tango, Cuban, Classical and Jazz music.

The series begins with a weekend piano celebration featuring Edsel Gomez on December 17, Harold O'Neal on December 18 and Elio Villafranca on December 19. Each concert is set for 7:30 pm. Concerts will take place approximately one weekend each month throughout the spring of 2010 with compelling solo performances by some of the most important practitioners of the art form today. Upcoming concert dates are: February 5, 6, 26, 27 | March 19, 20 | April 30 and May 1 | May 21, 22 | June 4, 5 | July 9 and 10.

Edsel Gomez earned a Bachelor of Music Degree at Berklee College of Music with a Count Basie Award for outstanding musicianship in 1985 while expanding his performance credits working with Gary Burton, Claudio Roditi, Bill Pierce, Don Byron, Chick Corea and Jerry Gonzalez, among many others. He relocated to Brazil from 1986 to 1996 where he studied Brazilian Music and worked with Caetano Veloso, Joao Bosco, Lucinha Lins, Angela Maria and Trombonist Raul de Souza, recording de Souza's The Other Side of the Moon. On the Brazilian scene, he worked as a pianist, arranger, composer, conductor/musical director of Broadway-like shows, educator, and producer and manager of his own recording studio/production company. Within a short time, most Brazilian musicians considered him one of ours. Gomezs personal approach to fusing jazz, Latin and Brazilian music gives him a unique personality and musical voice. Since relocating to New York in 1997, Gomez has been featured on four albums by saxophonist David Sanchez, including Coral, which won the Latin Grammy. Edsel also has toured and worked with Dee Dee Bridgewater on her Grammy-nominated recording Red Earth: A Malian Journey and on Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri's Grammy-winning recording Simpatico. Edsel received a 2007 Grammy nomination for his own recording Cubist Music.

Harold O'Neal was born in Arusha, Tanzania, where he lived until the age of four when he moved to Kansas City. He began playing the piano at 14, and by the age of 16 he was working professionally as a musician. After graduating high school, Harold studied at Berklee College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. In 2001, he joined saxophonist Bobby Watson, and in 2003 also began working with saxophonist Greg Osby. Today, ONeal tours the world in both of these ensembles. His credits also include stints with Elvin Jones, Bob Hurst, Vanessa Rubin, Kenny Garrett, Richard Davis, Nicholas Payton, Joe Chambers, Carl Allen, Rodney Whitaker, Victor Lewis, Essiet Essiet, Gary Bartz, Paquito D'Rivera, Jimmy Heath, Roy Hargrove, Bobby Watson, Jeff Tain Watts, Clark Terry, Wynton Marsalis, Phil Upchurch, Marvin Smitty Smith, Curtis and Carmen Lundy and others.

Born in the Pinar del Ro province of Western Cuba, Elio Villafranca was classically trained in percussion and composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba. Since his arrival in the U.S. in late 1995, he has been involved in jazz and Latin jazz scenes on both the East and West Coasts. Inspired by jazz and other musical genres that developed as a result of the African Diaspora, Villafranca creates original cultural and musical fusions notable for their spirited, groundbreaking innovations. Elio has also composed and arranged original soundtracks for PBS documentaries and a variety of independent films. Over the years, the Elio Villafranca Quartet has included such giants as Grammy-nominated Blue Note recording artists guitarist Pat Martino and the Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnett and trumpeter Terell Stafford, among other notable instrumentalists. As a sideman, Villafranca has collaborated with Jon Faddis, Wynton Marsalis, Sonny Fortune, Dave Valentin, Lenny White, Horacio “El Negro" Hernndez, Ralph Peterson, Giovanni Hidalgo, Eddie Henderson, Miguel Zenn, Cndido Camero and Johnny Pacheco.

Noble Art Pianos is the exclusive East Coast representative for Sauter Pianos. Under the direction of industry veterans Peter Becker and Elizabeth Campbell, the Noble Art Pianos Church Piano Program is reinvigorating music ministries throughout the United States by installing brand new Sauter concert instruments supported by concert programs. For more information, contact 610.285.8188 nobleartpianos.com

For nearly 200 years Sauter has been making upright and grand pianos in Spaichingen, Germany. Using balanced scale designs, choice materials, hand-craftsmanship and superior quality finishes, Sauter pianos possess all the superior acoustical and physical properties you'd expect in a handcrafted instrument. Fine native woods are given a mirror finish polish or a matte beeswax finish by hand. Some design details emphasize modern features.

Since its inception in 2005, pianoculture.com has been dedicated to the pursuit of broadcasting, recording, presenting and producing many of the worlds most important jazz and classical pianists, including Vassily Primakov, Dang Thai Son, Joel Fan, Simone Dinnerstein, Aaron Diehl, Clarice Assad, Ran Jia, Mulgrew Miller, McCoy Tyner, Randy Weston, Cyrus Chestnut, Edoardus Halim, James Weidman, Simon Mulligan, Junior Mance, Gerald Clayton, Frank Kimbrough, Sachiko Kato, Osmany Paredes, Chuchito Valdes and many others. All of these world-class musicians demand a superior instrument while many colleges, churches and institutions need inspired creative problem-solving to afford to replace, rebuild or restore their worn-out instruments. In todays economic environment, the need is greater than ever. As independent consultants, pianoculture.com has the connections and the means to assist institutions and individuals in need of a real-world solution to their piano needs.

Tickets for the pianoculture.com series are $25 with funds supporting the purchase of the piano. Tickets are available online at pianoculture.com or by calling 484.560.6319.

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