November, 2006

Ran Blake Newsletter
News From Ran Blake HQ

November 2006

At Piano

Welcome to the November issue of Ran’s monthly newsletter.

Cat People Wrapup

catpeople2Ran would like to thank everyone who came to see the Cat People show on October 30 at Jordan Hall, as well as the dozens of performers and technicians who made it possible. Special thanks are due to Leo McFadden (producer); Lisa Nigris, Aaron Hartley and Jeremy Sarna (audiovisual); Jameson Swanagon (stage design); Bob Winters (lighting); and Josh Drake (assistant guru). More than 200 people attended the show, which combined music, film clips and poetry in a wide-ranging meditation on felines’ role in art and life.

Private Lessons

lessonThe time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s offers an ideal window to take private lessons from Ran. Potential areas of focus include long-term melodic and harmonic memory, repertoire development, and sequencing a performance. For details, contact Ran directly at

Studying Shostakovich

This year Ran’s annual summer class focused on Dmitri Shostakovich. Ran is continuing his study of the composer, whose centennial is being celebrated this year, by attending a course at Berklee on Wednesdays taught by Yakov Gubanov, who studied with Shostakovich. The course inspired Ran to revisit his recomposition of Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony.

If you’d like to experience some Shostakovich for yourself, Ran encourages you to check out performances in the composer’s honor on December 4th and 14th at Jordan Hall.

Alumni Magazine Features Ran

bardThe fall issue of The Bardian, the alumni magazine of Ran’s alma mater, includes a feature on Ran. Titled “All That Is Blake,” the story, by Mikhail Horowitz, highlights Ran’s years at Bard, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1960.

An excerpt: “At Bard, Ran famously connected with the late vocalist Jeanne Lee to create the Newest Sound Around, which atomized such familiar tunes as ‘Summertime’ and ‘Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child’ and then reconfigured them in ways that were indelibly tender as they were mesmerizing. But Lee was not his only source of inspiration while in Annandale. ‘There were two musical faculty members who were very sympathetic and offered me a great deal of insight, even if their field of expertise was not improvisation–Clair Leonard and Kate Wolff,’ he says. ‘Both were extremely flexible, sensitive, patient, yet also goading.'”

Horowitz also discusses Ran’s most recent album, All That Is Tied. “‘Sontagism’ lasts all of 59 seconds, yet Blake’s deliberate ruminations in the upper register suggest a lucid, questioning sensibility that evokes the late writer and thinker Susan Sontag, whom he remembers hearing speak at Bard.”

Holiday CD Special

buy 3 get 1 free

dukeWe already offer a discount on bulk orders (buy 4 CDs, get 1 free), but for the holiday season we’re going to sweeten the deal for readers of this newsletter: Until January 1, it’s buy 3 CDs and get 1 free. Order 3 CDs from Ran’s website, and then enter the word “newsletter” and the title of your bonus choice in the “Notes/
Instructions” box that appears just before you complete your order. Bonus album must list for $15 or less and be in stock.

Previous issues of Ran’s monthly newsletter are archived on the Biography page of Ran’s website. Have a good Thanksgiving, and we’ll see you next month.