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Rediscovering the lost art of classical improvisation | Dr. John Mortensen

We are delighted to have the renowned master of classical improvisation, pianist Dr. John Mortensen, join the show for the first time!

Dr. John Mortensen is a leader in the international revival of classical improvisation. Appearing frequently as concert artist and masterclass teacher at colleges and universities in America and Europe, he is noted for his ability to improvise entire concerts in historical styles, including complex compositions such as Baroque fugues.

His book on classical improvisation, “The Pianist’s Guide to Classical Improvisation” with Oxford University Press, will be a comprehensive method for training advanced pianists to improvise in historical styles.

He is a Steinway Artist and an Ohio Artist on Tour.  In 2017 he was selected as a Fulbright Specialist by the US Department of State to serve as an international artistic ambassador.

In 2018 he toured Europe for three months, performing and teaching improvised music at conservatories across the continent.

His articles appear in International Piano, Clavier, College Music Symposium, Piano Pedagogy Forum, and American Music Teacher. Mortensen studied with Lynne Bartholomew at the University of Michigan and Anne Koscielny and Raymond Hanson at the University of Maryland, receiving his doctorate in piano performance from the latter.  He holds National Certification in Piano through the Music Teacher’s National Association and was recently recognized as an Excellence in Education honoree by the Ohio Senate. He now serves as professor of piano at Cedarville University. In 2016 he was named Faculty Scholar of the Year, that institution’s highest award.

We talk about his background, his approach to classical improvisation, the different tools and techniques needed to improvise in classical music, his upcoming book “The Pianist’s Guide to Classical Improvisation” with Oxford University Press, his tour of Europe and much, much more!

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