Thursday May 30, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Alki Steriopoulos is a real wise guy, and he had a smart answer when I asked what he was going to play at his concert this Saturday night at Centre Congregational Church.

"The piano," he replied.

Real funny.

But the truth is, that may be all you need to know. Alki Steriopoulos can play the heck out of the piano, any piano, and the fact that he’s playing a local concert, which he hasn’t done in a while, is reason enough to go.

Steriopoulos will perform at 8 p.m., at Centre Congregational Church at 193 Main St. Admission is by suggested donation of $20, but everyone is welcome no matter what they can give.

Steriopoulos promises a special experience for listeners. For one, he’s asking everyone to bring a candle or a tea light or to help create a special ambience.

"I have this idea to light the church with candles to make it almost like a little campfire," said Steriopoulos.

Another thing to make it special is the piano at Centre Church, a vintage grand piano that once belonged to the great Rudolf Serkin.

"I will be playing the great Rudolf Serkin’s piano, and instrument as monumental as the man himself," wrote Steriopoulos. "There are no pianos out there anymore. Pianos are becoming extinct."

As for what’s on the program, it’ll be a mix of music in different genres -- Steriopoulos is a master of many.

"It’ll be some songs of mine. There’s going to be some Brazilian music. There’ll probably be a classical tune or two. ... I think maybe there’ll be a couple of chestnuts and probably something from ‘21,’" he said.

Ah, yes, "21." That’s a musical Steriopoulos has written about the life of baseball hero Roberto Clemente. It has had two staged readings in New York, featuring 2011 Tony-nominee, Joshua Henry, in the title role. It is slated for two workshops at Dartmouth College and Northern Stage in White River Junction next spring. For details, visit www.21themusical.com.

The rest of Steriopoulos’ resume is impressive. He conducted "Those Were the Days" on Broadway, and "On Second Avenue" off-Broadway. He was musical director for "Gifts of the Magi" at the Lambs, "The Little Prince" starring Tony-winner Daisy Egan at the John Houseman, and the 25th Anniversary production of Jacques Brel at the Village Gate. He played keyboards for "Tommy," "Once On This Island," and "Catskills on Broadway" and served served as associate conductor and pianist for "A Chorus Line." He piano conducted the first national tour of "Five Guys Named Moe." He also musical directed/supervised the multi-celebrity benefit "A Call for Bread" at Madison Square Garden, and served as assistant musical director for Carnegie Hall’s 100th Anniversary Tribute to Ira Gershwin, a star-studded concert that airs on PBS’ "Great Performances" series.

With Oscar-winning film composer, Michael Giacchino, he has recorded and arranged for The Muppets, Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks Interactive, Pixar Films and George Lucas’ Lucasarts. His solo show, "Time 7:53," an exploration of time in word and song, premiered in October 2001.

He was composer-in-residence at the world-renowned La Mama theatre, and composed and performed numerous silent film scores for NYC’s Film Forum. He has three CDs of his own music, "Philately," "Music for Sentient Beings" and "As Is." He has written one novel, "The Man Who Came Late to his Own Funeral" and a short story collection.

As performer, he has appeared in concert with rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Famers, The Band, Richie Havens, Joel Gray, Bob Dorough, Eugene Friesen and Brazilian superstar, Milton Nascimento. He founded and led the New York Latin-jazz band, Zig-Zag and represented the United States on a two-month goodwill tour of Mozambique and South Africa with the Friends Across Borders Project.

For more information, visit www.IamAlki.com.