(Tim Neumark Music)


Some music fans are saying that New Age instrumental music is becoming the classical music of the 21st century. Even though the music world went through giant upheavals in the 1970s and 1980s, with all that emphasis on synthesized sounds and electronics, many artists are returning to a more pure form of acoustic instrumental music and to that list you could add Tim Neumark. Neumark’s calling card is his meditative and personal approach to solo piano music. Having released five albums over the past decade, Neumark hits a high note with his 2015 album entitled Galaxy. Subtitled, Solo Piano, Op. 6., the 50 minute CD features a dozen solo piano tracks that offers an excellent balance of both memorable melodic cadences as well as a dynamic, free ranging approach to improvisation. Clearly one look at the Galaxy cover art and you can see that Neumark’s music is greatly influenced by thoughts of the cosmos and interplanetary phenomena, which one day, will no doubt be the norm. In fact, Neumark even calls Galaxy, “solo piano music for the universe”. Neumark has cited the most prestigious classical icons among his musical influences but let’s not forget great jazz piano improvisers like Vince Guaraldi, whose influence, subliminal or otherwise can be heard on track six here, a beautiful Neumark original entitled “Traveling Music”. As a matter of fact, the entire Galaxy album evokes a number of memorable, heartfelt piano moods and styles. With Galaxy, Tim Neumark brings his elegant solo piano music to a whole new level of sonic grandeur. www.TimNeumark.com


mwe3.com presents an interview with

: Can you tell us where you’re from originally? What are some of your favorite cities to visit when you have a chance?

Tim Neumark: I grew up in a small town in western Maryland, Frostburg, and now I live about an hour east of there, in the greater Washington, DC area. There are lots of cities I love to visit. Boston, New York, San Diego… these are some of my favorites.

mwe3: Your sixth solo CD, released in 2015, is called Galaxy. What was your musical mission so to speak on Galaxy and how does it contrast to some of your earlier albums, especially your earlier album Storm?. I like your subtitle for the Galaxy album on the back cover: “Solo piano music for the universe”. That’s a great way to look at it.

Tim Neumark: Galaxy and Storm were similar in that they both are thematic albums, unlike my fourth album Opus Four, which was really just a collection of songs with no theme. Storm and Galaxy are different in that Storm was more introspective, focusing on an individual's tragedy or sad time in life, while Galaxy is about the universe and its beauty. I always liked the "solo piano music for the universe" tagline, but you're the first to comment on it! I really think that the music on Galaxy is my gift of thankfulness for such an amazing place where we live.

mwe3: What was the writing and recording process like for the Galaxy CD? How much of your music is written with melodic intent and how much is written from a more “ambient / improvisational” perspective? I guess the approach differs track by track right?

Tim Neumark: For my past three albums, I've set out a goal to release music as I compose it. Once I get 12 tracks ready, I create an album for those tracks. I've been on a track-a-month release schedule since about one year before Opus Four was released in April 2013. I have the somewhat odd habit, as compared to other composers, of creating titles before writing the music, and this actually helps me to have a goal when I compose. Storm, in particular, was an album that told a story in a particular order… I was able to know which titles needed to be composed at any moment by looking at the title list.

And if I started an improvisation that sounded like something that could be a song, I’d look at the track list and figure out what needed to be composed, and then I’d steer the composition in that direction. Almost always for me, the title drives the music, and often the title is based on a mood or an idea. “Orbit” and “Vast”, two of the most popular tracks on Galaxy, were composed based on the mood that I thought should be expressed for those titles.

mwe3: Would you consider your music, especially on the most recent Galaxy album, to be more New Age or classical music based and/or inspired? In your opinion, what are some of the biggest differences between classical and New Age instrumental music? I’m beginning to feel like New Age is the classical music of the 21st century.

Tim Neumark: The genre for the music composed by solo pianists is often up for debate. If I had written an entire album that sounded like “Vast”, I think it’s safe to call that New Age, a few of the other pieces are more classical, or just “contemporary piano”. I think the biggest difference between contemporary piano and classical piano is the simplicity of today’s music, and the accessibility of it. I love classical music, but I don’t always have time to sit through brilliant modulations and variations. Sometimes I just want to listen to something that is beautiful. I think that’s what contemporary piano music does for people.

mwe3: I heard you were very influenced by the classical composer Dvorak. What were some of Dvorak’s works that inspired you most and when was his music written? In the liner notes, you write that the first track on Galaxy, called “Preludio”, is actually an arrangement of the first movement of Dvorak’s “Czech Suite”.

Tim Neumark: Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, known as the New World Symphony, is one of the most popular pieces of classical music today, and it is rare in that it was a huge success as soon as it was first performed in 1893. Some composers write initially unpopular works that got famous later, and some compositions were once famous and now we don’t know them! But his ninth symphony, it has always been popular. That’s certainly my favorite of his works, but I’m constantly finding little gems that he created that aren’t as well known.

He was Czech, but he wrote Symphony No. 9 and some other famous works, while he was the director of the National Conservatory in New York City. Tying back into my space-themed album, a recording of the New World Symphony was actually taken to the first moon landing in 1969. The Czech Suite is written for orchestra and is five movements… the first movement sounds very welcoming and spacey to me - I knew I wanted to arrange it as track one for my album.

mwe3: What about the other big classical composers you mentioned such as Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky? What works of those composers stands out for you and how do you feel these icons are different from the composers of the 21st century? This may seem far-out, but do you think composers like Dvorak and Beethoven were influenced by the cosmos, or similar things, that we’re all influenced by in the 21st century? I guess they didn’t have telescopes and spaceships back then, but maybe they were thinking of it.

Tim Neumark: Well clearly Beethoven’s 9th Symphony stands out among all pieces, and it is widely regarded as the greatest composition of all time. I certainly feel that way. It’s hard to know how these composers differ from people today. For one thing, almost every orchestral composer today gets to hear a piece before it is performed, since they are composing on a computer and listening to a score as they compose it. Often, their pieces aren’t performed at all but are only played on a computer. I wonder how this technology would have helped or hurt the famous composers of the 18th and 19th centuries. It’s hard to imagine they were writing on paper and hearing all the complexities of an orchestra in their head! I’m not sure if any of them were directly influenced by space, but I know Beethoven thought big. One of my favorite quotes about classical music is “Mozart composed for Saturday. Beethoven composed for eternity.”

mwe3: Where do you see your music fitting in the world of 21st century New Age music? You have mentioned Yanni and David Lanz as being important influences. What albums of New Age instrumental music influenced your music and what about current artists that you might consider your peers?

Tim Neumark: Honestly I don’t try to think about some of those things. I just try to put music into the world that I think people will enjoy. Thankfully it seems that they do! I think the first solo piano album I heard that sounded like something I wanted to do was Skyline Firedance by David Lanz. I had just never heard something like that on piano. There are a few other inspirational albums, but that one really opened my eyes… and ears as to how music could be accessible to current audiences.

There are lots of contemporary artists who I call peers, and almost all of them I also call friends. I’ve met many artists because our music plays on the same radio stations, and then through social media sites like Facebook we get to know each other, and eventually meet and play some concerts together. It would be hard to name a few without leaving someone out!

mwe3: Where have you brought your music to, in a live setting and otherwise? Have you done shows in some of the major concert halls or is that something you’d like to do in the future? Speaking of which, can you say something about that great pic that features you playing piano in Times Square in NYC? Concentration is everything! lol

Tim Neumark: I’ve played in quite a few places in the country, but usually in smaller venues like churches, piano stores, and house concerts. The solo piano genre is an intimate style of music, and those venues work best. The house concert is really terrific because there’s no separation between performer and audience. Sometimes those big stages say “look I’m up here playing and you’re sitting way over there!” I prefer the smaller environments where people can really get to know about the artists and hear the stories behind the music.

That said, Storm is nominated for Enlightened Piano Radio’s album of the year, so I’ll be playing in Carnegie Hall in October. Carnegie, it should be mentioned, is where Dvorak’s 9th Symphony had its premiere. As for the NYC Times Square picture, this was part of the “Play Me I’m Yours” project that pops up in major cities from time to time. It was actually quite easy to sit there and play because I doubt anyone could hear me… I could barely hear the piano myself!

mwe3: What are your plans for you for the second half of 2015 and into 2016 as far as writing, recording, and possible live shows and other musical events moving forward?

Tim Neumark: I will be playing in Carnegie Hall at the Enlightened Piano Radio awards show, and I have a couple other concerts I’m hoping to schedule. Also, I’m always accepting offers to perform in house concerts, so people should contact me if interested! As for writing and recording, I hope to have a surprise or two by the end of the year, but I don’t have any more details than that for now.


Thanks to Tim Neumark @ www.TimNeumark.com


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