Hans Christian Andersen once wrote, “Where words fail, music speaks.” With the release of his sixth album, Beyond Words, pianist/composer Dan Chadburn elegantly expresses the unique voice that instrumental music has both to inspire and to heal. Serving as an antidote to the stresses of daily life, Chadburn’s latest recording for solo piano is a beautiful anthology celebrating life and love.
By The Creative Service Company * thecreativeservicecompany.com
“As a shy kid growing up, words often failed me. Music has always been, quite simply, the easiest language for me to communicate my innermost thoughts.” Deeply inspired by the people and events that shape our world, Dan composed pieces for this album, each of which captures a moment in time, a memory, an emotion, a hope, a desire. As an entire collection, Dan hopes the music will stir the listeners to take their own journeys, allowing them the freedom to create their own stories.
Beyond Words and Dan Chadburn’s previous albums — Solo Piano, Reflections, Nocturnes, Whispers the Falling Snow and Keys of Light — are available at his website (DanChadburn.com) and as CDs and digital downloads at a variety of online sales sites including CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic and many others.
Having received worldwide marketing and extensive airplay, each of Dan’s last three recordings went Top 10 on the international Zone Music Reporter Top 100 chart, and Top 5 on the international One World Music Radio chart (with Keys of Light being the first album to ever debut at #1 on OWMR). Whispers the Falling Snow was named by both ZMR and OWMR as one of the Top 5 Solo Piano Music albums of the Year. OWMR also named Keys of Light as #2 among the 10 best Albums of the Year and #2 among the 10 best Piano with Instrumentation albums.
Beyond Words begins with “Awakening,” a piece representing “that exact moment in time when you suddenly remember someone or something from earlier in life, perhaps even childhood…and the strong emotions once felt are still very much here.” This is followed by the upbeat “Joyful Morning.” As Dan describes on his website, “imagine children, without a care in the world, having the time of their young lives while jumping and playing in rain puddles.”
The ocean has long-served people as “Healing Waters.” According to Chadburn, “The sound of gentle waves has always brought me peace, and there is something cathartic about an early morning swim before it gets too hot or crowded at the seashore.” “Crossroads” contains several intersections of contrasts in music, symbolic of life’s journey which is not without questions and paths to choose. “Shelton Rain” was originally composed and recorded as a piano improvisation during a rainstorm in Shelton, Washington.
“Tears of Angels” was composed in memory of those shot and killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016. All proceeds from the sale of this track will benefit the OneOrlando Fund (oneorlando.org), a group committed to providing 100% of all money raised directly to victims’ families and survivors.
“Love is Love” is an expression of hope “that everyone in the world will eventually have the right to love and marry whomever they wish.” “Falling Forward” represents “those times when the only option of overcoming an obstacle or unknown is to step forward — and be willing to fall in the process.”
“Lazy Sky Afternoon” invites a respite from the rush of the day (“Look to the sky and its clouds and daydream the afternoon away.”).
The lovely melody for “Kal-Boy” was written in memory of Dan’s twenty-year-old cat, Kal, the evening Kal crossed the rainbow bridge. “Heroes” is dedicated to all who have lived to serve and protect others. The light and airy “Country Harvest” was inspired by Chadburn’s childhood in Oregon, where he spent many summers helping harvest crops on a nearby farm. “An Evening in Florence” is also a nod to Oregon, composed as a piano improvisation during a benefit concert for the Oregon Coast Humane Society. Dedicated to Chadburn’s parents, the album ends with “Lullaby for Peace,” not only symbolizing the human need for sleep at the end of each day, but also serving as a prayer of hope for all humanity to learn to live together.
A native of Oregon, Dan began taking piano lessons when he was nine years old and continued through high school where he also served as the accompanist for the choral groups and stage plays. Several times in junior high and high school, he was selected as an Oregon Music Teacher’s Association (O.M.T.A.) syllabus winner, which resulted in his performing in recitals on the state level. He went on to earn his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at Pacific Lutheran University, where he also began playing electronic synthesized keyboards. Chadburn moved to Los Angeles and enrolled in the Film Scoring Program at UCLA. Soon he was scoring for film and television and working as a session musician.
Wanting to further expand his musical vision, Dan moved to London to study electroacoustic composition with two pioneers in the field, Denis Smalley and Simon Emmerson. “I was very grateful for the opportunity to learn from these two masters in the genre and grow as a composer.” Considered by some to be on the outskirts of avant-garde, electroacoustic music is commonly void of traditional instruments and melody. Chadburn earned his Masters of Music in Electroacoustic Composition from London’s City University.
After moving to the Washington, DC, area, Chadburn began writing and recording hundreds of improvisational piano themes which led to his first album, Solo Piano, which received regional accolades. His second recording, Reflections, featured other musicians on viola, French horn, flute and english horn, as well as the vocals of Tom Nichols, Chadburn’s longtime musical partner and producer. Chadburn’s Whispers the Falling Snow is seasonal solo piano pieces, while Nocturnes and Keys of Light contain additional instrumentation on most of the tracks. Chadburn’s compositions most often start as improvisations, sometimes recorded in the studio as they happen, but other times conceived elsewhere and gently refined before the final recording.
Chadburn has been featured (alongside other pianists such as Suzanne Ciani, Spencer Brewer and Robin Spielberg) on several compilation recordings produced for charitable causes, including The Heart Aid Project which benefited the victims of the 9/11 tragedy and their families. Other Chadburn music has benefited The Boys & Girls Clubs, the Sitar Arts Center in Washington (an after-school youth organization for the arts), The National Family Resiliency Center (“to preserve a sense of family and foster healthy relationships”), and humane societies.
Chadburn’s performance venues have included Carnegie Hall in New York City, Symphony Hall in Boston and The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Additionally, his choral compositions have been recorded and performed in the Concert Hall of The Kennedy Center.
“I’m incredibly grateful, beyond words, for this life I have been given, and for my family and friends who continue to believe with me that music has the power to heal and inspire.”
Be sure to check out DanChadburn.com