Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Ben Folds on New Concerto, Connecting with College Kids

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Ben Folds on New Concerto, Connecting with College Kids

Article excerpt


Ben Folds admittedly does not make it to the Sunshine State all that often but in a recent phone interview expressed an excitement for the Florida shows as well as heading back out on the road. We talked to him about his new album, the piano concerto he wrote and his continuing success with college students. He performs Wednesday, April 20, at the Mahaffey Theater in downtown St. Petersburg, accompanied by yMusic, the chamber sextet that perform on his latest record "So There."

How did this new album, "So There," come about?

Well, I was commissioned to write a piano concerto. So once I finished that I thought that would be the end of it but the shows went really well and it seemed like maybe I needed to finish an album on that theme. I met yMusic, who is the chamber sextet on the record and the people I am touring with, and just love working with them. So we just knocked out an album pretty quickly.

How did you end up writing a piano concerto?

I was at dinner with the head of the Nashville Ballet and we were talking about things that could be done with music and movement and I think it was his suggestion -- "why don't you write a long-form piece like a concerto and we will get a commission for it" -- and I said yes.

What was it like seeing the ballet perform to your concerto?

I was concentrating so hard actually performing what I wrote, which was a little bit over my head at the time, that I would see a leg fly by every once in a while. I couldn't really watch it.

Is there a message you hope people to take away from "So There"?

I think all I can really want out of a record is for someone to relate to it or to be moved, if that's necessary, or entertained or to step inside it. Just for it to be effective. I might mean one thing and they may get a completely different thing out of it and that's fine. I don't have a particular mission or that sort when I make a record. It's more like, "This is what I am hearing this is what I wake up in the morning pulsing through my head, I need to get that out there. …

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