George Gershwin was an American composer, who is mostly known due to his combinations of classical and popular music genres.
George Gershwin grew up in a poor neighbourhood in New York. His parents were Russian immigrants who had trouble making ends meet. They did, however, decide to purchase an old piano so Ira Gershwin could study to become a musician. Yet, it turned out not Ira, but his younger brother George showed remarkable talent. Ira applied himself to writing song lyrics and together the Gershwin brothers became absolute greats in the world of 20th century musicals. Nowadays, George's compositions are still relevant, as is evidenced by the many performances of his Rhapsody in Blue from 1924. But the best example is the ageless Summtertime, which has been covered a countless number of times by a countless number of artists.
Pianist and composer Jean-Michel Pilc has performed with numerous jazz giants including Roy Haynes, Billy Hart, Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, Jean Toussaint, Rick Margitza, Kenny Werner, Martial Solal, Michel Portal, Daniel Humair, Marcus Miller, Kenny Garrett, Lenny White, Chris Potter, John Abercrombie, the Mingus Dynasty & Big Band, Lew Soloff andRichard Bona, among others. He has also worked with Harry Belafonteas his musical director and pianist, and has performed a duet with the legendary opera singer Jessye Norman.
Jean-Michel’s renowned trio featuring bassist François Moutinand drummer Ari Hoenig has released numerous standout recordings, including Together - Live at Sweet Basil and NYC - Vol. 1 & 2 (2000),Welcome Home (2002), Cardinal Points (2004) and Live at Iridium, NYC(2004). The group later released Threedom in 2010 after reforming under the collective name Pilc-Moutin-Hoenig.
An active solo performer who’s appeared in concert internationally, Jean-Michel has released four critically-acclaimed solo piano records: Follow Me (2004), Essential (2011) and What Is This Thing Called? (2015), and a new solo double album, Parallel, released on Challenge Records in June 2018.
In addition to extensive work as a sideman in a variety of ensembles, Jean-Michel’s diverse other personal projects include Modern Lights, a composition reflecting on Charlie Chaplin’s work that was premiered at the Caramoor Jazz Festival in August 2009. The project was funded through a New Works Grant from Chamber Music America.Additionally, in 2013, Jean-Michel was granted a Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, in the Music Composition category for the creation of Big One, a project featuring all new original music for octet. He was also the subject of a 2009 documentary by filmmaker John McCormick, titled Jean-Michel Pilc – A Portrait.
Jean-Michel has built a strong international reputation as a very unique educator. From 2006 to 2015, he was a NYU Steinhardt faculty member and gave private lessons (piano and other instruments), taught ensemble classes and held improvisation workshops. He also acted as Co-Director of NYU Summer Jazz Workshop in 2010. Jean-Michel also taught for the New School in New York City, as well as offering private lessons in his own studio.
Since September 2015, Jean-Michel has acted as Associate Professor at theSchulich School of Music of McGill University in Montreal. There, he teaches piano, jazz improvisation to all instruments and a Seminar on Improvisation in All Styles to 40 McGill jazz and classical students. He has acted as Schulich’sJazz Area Chair between 2016 and 2018. During this time, Jean-Michel has also founded the Improvisation Workshop Projectwith Rémi Bolduc, Kevin Dean and Jean-Nicolas Trottier, a research project funded by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Société et Culture (FRQSC).
He is now a Challenge Records recording artist, and has released a new solo double album Parallel, in June 2018. He performs solo as well as with NYC-based groups such as: Pilc-Moutin-Hoenig, Total Madness Quintet, duo with Sam Newsome, and NYC Trio with Sam Minaie and Jerad Lippi.