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Jazz Pianist Jean-Michel Pilc Will Warm Up a Winter’s Night Jan. 21

October 13, 2017

Concert Promises Brilliant Improvisations and Inventive Technique

Middlebury, VT—Self-taught musician and composer Jean-Michel Pilc has been called “a dazzlingly inventive pianist” by the New York Times. In Pilc’s hands, the listener embarks on a journey, crafted with unexpected landscapes and powerful emotions. His brilliant improvisatons employ a wide spectrum of techniques and styles, from intimate lyricism to breathtaking virtuosity. His solo concert at the Mahaney Center for the Arts on January 21 is part of the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series.

Born in 1960 in Paris, now an American citizen, Pilc moved to New York City in 1995. There, he formed a trio with bass player François Moutin and drummer Ari Hoenig. They recorded a one-week engagement at the legendary jazz club Sweet Basil and, in 2000, released two CDs called Together–Live at Sweet Basil, NYC, volumes 1 & 2. Pilc then signed a record deal with Dreyfus Jazz. His first album for Dreyfus, Welcome Home, (featuring the same trio), was released in 2002. His next recording Cardinal Points was released the following year. Since that time he has recorded an impressive number of albums including Follow Me, Live at Iridium, NYC, New Dreams, True Story, Essential, Threedom, and the curiously named What Is This Thing Called?

His many honors include grants from the Chamber Music America New Works Program, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and a Guggenheim fellowship. He was profiled in a documentary by John McCormick titled Jean-Michel Pilc–A Portrait (2009, Living Jazz Archive).

Always a busy performer, Pilc has toured the world, including Japan, Taiwan, Europe, the US, and Canada. He has performed with numerous jazz giants including Roy Haynes, Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, Jean Toussaint, Marcus Miller, Kenny Garrett, Lenny White, Chris Potter, John Abercrombie, Mingus Dynasty & Big Band, Lew Soloff, and Richard Bona. He has also worked with Harry Belafonte, as his musical director and pianist, and has performed a duet with the legendary opera singer Jessye Norman. Pilc has been a special guest of the Orchestre National de Jazz de Montreal and a sideman of various Montreal musicians. He continues to play solo, as well as with NYC-based groups such as Pilc-Moutin-Hoenig, Total Madness Quintet, and his trio with Or Bareket and Jerad Lippi.

Pilc has also built a strong international reputation as an educator. He has taught at NYU Steinhardt, the NYU Summer Jazz Improv Workshop, the New School, and since 2015, the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal. He released a book, It’s About Music–The Art and Heart of Improvisation, the educational videos True Jazz Improvisation; Transcending the Instrument,  two video masterclasses on improvisational fluency for, and the French-language masterclass Anatomie d’un standard for iMusic School. All have been praised by his colleagues, and have been highly influential in the field of jazz education.

“There may be no more diverse, unpredictable jazz piano player, song to song, than Jean-Michel Pilc.”—JazzTimes

“Mr. Pilc seems to have dropped from the sky fully formed, with technique and his ideas in place. He is a physical and densely harmonic player, a splashy stunner who also has a Rubik’s-cube mind for chord substitutions.”—New York Times

The concert by Jean-Michel Pilc will take place on Saturday, January 21, 2017, at 8:00 P.M., in the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts’ Robison Hall. The Mahaney Center is located on the campus of Middlebury College, at 72 Porter Field Road, just off Route 30 south/S. Main Street. Free parking is available curbside on Route 30 or in the Center for the Arts parking lot, in rows marked faculty/staff/visitors. Tickets are $25 for the general public; $20 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to


Photo captions:

(top right and bottom right) Jean-Michel Pilc Performs at the Mahaney Center for the Arts Jan. 21. Photo Mathieu Zazzo

(top center) Jean-Michel Pilc Performs at the Mahaney Center for the Arts Jan. 21. Photo Steven Sussman

(left, second from top) Jean-Michel Pilc Performs at the Mahaney Center for the Arts Jan. 21. Photo Jim Rice

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax