This is a casual hour-long journey through some of the multifarious trends that constitute 20th- and 21st-century piano music. “Piano 20/21” is geared for pianists, composers, music-lovers, and non-musicians alike.

For this program, Blair will play, demonstrate, and discuss piano music by Aaron Copland, Annie Gosfield, John Cage, Marco Stroppa, György Ligeti, Fred Hersch, and Ray Charles (among others). Blair will touch on many trends: the influence of jazz and improvisation on recent piano music, today’s “alt-classical” generation of composers, extended techniques at the piano and what “works,” and (for composition students) the clearest way to notate a piano or keyboard part. Perhaps the most important question addressed in this lecture/demonstration is: what makes a piece of piano music memorable, convincing, and worth coming back to, both as a performer and as a listener?