Born: November 4, 1951 Primary Instrument: Piano
Pianist, percussionist and composer David Arner is a long time proponent of innovative music and spontaneous composition. A resident of New York’s Mid-Hudson valley, the Woodstock Times has hailed him as “one of the Valley’s most consistently inventive and stimulating musical improvisors.” Arner released his 1st CD, Solo Piano (Dogstar), in 2002. The album documents Arner’s ongoing series of spontaneous compositions for solo piano, both in concert and in the studio, applying his characteristic piano wizardry to a wide array of themes from mythology to the blues. Paul Elisha of Northeast Public Radio said of this CD that Arner “holds and transports listeners through the incredible maze of his seemingly unflagging imagination.” David Arner’s 2nd CD, Live from the Center (Dogstar 2005), features his solo piano music from one of his annual concerts at The Center for Performing Arts in Rhinebeck. Cadence Magazine’s Frank Rubolino said of this CD that Arner is an intense, introspective pianist who methodically constructs sound portraits of shattering dimensions... Inspiration comes in waves of light… Arner is a discerning musician who retreats inwardly to project his obsessions externally. His process will transfix and awe.
Arner curated New Directions in Jazz and the New Vanguard Series in Kingston NY, which presented improvisational and innovative jazz, as well as avant-garde classical music, every week from June 2003 to April 2007. He performed in the series about once a month. The New Vanguard Series was sponsored by Deep Listening Institute.
While well known for his solo work, over the years Arner has played with bassists Michael Bisio, Adam Lane, Dominic Duval, Steve Rust, Chris Sullivan & John Voigt, drummers Jay Rosen, Harvey Sorgen, Dean Sharp, Susie Ibarra, Brian Willson, Laurence Cook, Jackson Krall & Tatsuya Nakatani, horn players Avram Fefer, Joe Giardullo, Joe McPhee, Ras Moshe, Blaise Siwula & Dawid Kosiarkiewicz, violinists Rosi Hertlein and Michael Snow, cellists Tomas Ulrich and Martha Colby, trumpeters Matt Lavelle & Russ Johnson, trombonists David Taylor and Sarah Weaver, guitarists Dom Minasi, Rolf Sturm and Rich Rosenthal, and composer Pauline Oliveros. He has also collaborated with poets Charles Stein, Mikhail Horowitz & Janine Vega, and choreographer Susan Osberg.
In May 2005 at the 4th Annual Improvised and Otherwise Festival in Brooklyn, Arner performed with Susan Osberg's Workwith Dancers Company. At Bard College, where he served as Music Advisor for the dance department for 23 years between 1981 and 2009, he also composed pieces on a weekly basis for Albert Reid’s and Aileen Passloff’s choreography workshops. His compositions for dances by Passloff (Screaming Flower, 1985), Reid (The Ritual, 1987) and the late Jeanette Leentvaar (Opus 36, 1988) have been presented in Caracas, Paris, and in New York at the Merce Cunningham Studio. Other compositions for dance have included the music for Passloff’s Phantom Crossings developed as composer-in-residence at Bard College (1998), and Elaine Colandrea’s evening-length Fool’s Journey presented at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck (1999). Arner also served as Music Director for Jacques d”Amboise’s National Dance Institute in Arlington NY (1983-84).
Arner has been active as a pianist, percussionist and composer performing throughout the country for over 25 years. He has performed widely at such venues as The STONE and the Knitting Factory (NYC), the Klienert Art Center (Woodstock), Music Mountain (CT), and the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute (Utica) as well as several colleges. He received a Jazz Fellowship award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1980 as well as several Meet the Composer Performance Fund grants over the years.
David Arner is also recognized as a pioneer in the revitalization of live music for silent films. He has been scoring and performing innovative music for classic silents since 1986, including such films as The Wind, The Last Laugh, Peter Pan and The General. He has performed for films extensively throughout the country, including Upstate Films (Rhinebeck), the Knitting Factory and the American Museum of the Moving Image (NYC).
Arner is a graduate of Oberlin College. He studied classical piano with Edna Golandsky, jazz piano with Dwike Mitchell, and balafon with Yaya Diallo. He has also served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance at Bard College and is currently an adjunct music faculty member at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Bard College.
Awards:National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Fellowship Grant 1981
Arner has planted a valuable seed in the improvised piano field of dreams. JazzReview.com 2002
An intense, introspective pianist who methodically constructs sound portraits of shattering dimensions. Cadence Magazine March 2006
His touch was delicate and purposeful, intended for drawing an atmosphere and breaking it apart. His touch caused the sound to pulsate like groups of binary stars and whir like intergalactic dust winds. JazzReview.com 2003
Port Ewen, NY
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.