David Scheel


The Art of the Pianist Composer


Keyboards have long been instruments of first choice for musicians, professional and amateur alike. True, there may be 30 violins in a symphony orchestra, but when it comes to solo instruments, the piano is the most popular, apart from the human voice itself.


From the early days of virginals, spinets, clavichords and harpsichords, the piano became pre-eminent toward the end of the 18th century, and has remained so ever since. More music has been written for the piano than for any other instrument, and many of the great composers were pianists who performed concerts exclusively of their own works.


Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and the great 19th century virtuosos such as Liszt and Chopin were all pianist-composers, specialising in their own music. Yet, when Paderewski and Rachmaninoff died in 1941 and 1943 respectively, the pianist-composer effectively died with them.


Today’s pianists do not perform their own works. They do what Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Liszt and Chopin did. They perform Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Liszt and Chopin! Why?


DAVID SCHEEL offers a revealing insight into the art of the pianist-composer, and he should know, because he is one of a mere handful of musicians who are keeping that art alive.


David is best known for concerts in which he mercilessly sends up classical music, in programs such as Maestro, A Shorte Hysterical Historie of Musicke, and the ever-popular Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player, which saw him dubbed the “new Victor Borge” very early on in his career. And there will be no shortage of hilarious stories in this musical offering, either.


But The Art of the Pianist-Composer is something of a new venture for David, for it has a serious side to it. He will not only trace the rise and fall of this unique type of performer, with illustrations both from, and in the styles of the great masters,  but will also show the audience how a composer’s mind works, even going as far as composing pieces on the spot, sometimes with the help of suggestions from the audience itself. (“Even this can be a lot of fun: I once asked the audience to give me an idea for a piece, and a lady called out - ‘Driving from New York to Boston when 8 months pregnant with twins’...Hmmm...”)


And there has been no shortage of praise for David’s compositions, starting when he won his first major prize at age 15.


...more follows


“Such a wonderfully entertaining, fun concert. But when it came to his own compositions - wow, they were something else!” [Dean of Faculty of Music, Oklahoma State University]


“A master of the keyboard with an incredible facility for parodying musical styles.” [The Times, London]


“His own compositions were simply beautiful” [Wanganui Chronicle, New Zealand]


“David Scheel is a very fine serious pianist and composer, and also an excellent raconteur.[Canberra Times, Australia]


“In the first rank of musical humorists” [Event Magazine, UK]


“The audience fell dead silent as he unveiled one of his own compositions, a piece that wove a mental picture with such majesty and flair that the imagery seemed to leap from each note.” [Fort Record, Fort Saskatchewan, Edmonton, Alberta]


Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see a performer who is almost single-handedly keeping an entire artform alive, and giving everyone a good laugh into the bargain!