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Versatile Excellence: Pianist Jonathan Miles Freeman

When you come across someone described as "versatile," you often find they can certainly do a lot of different things, but each only adequately. Pianist Jonathan Miles Freeman is not one of those people. Freeman does everything, and he does it excellently.

For instance, when Jonathan was here to talk to Jill, we put him in our performance studio and set him in front of our sometimes finicky piano. This is a piano unknown to this pianist - he's never seen it, heard it or played it.  And yet, he played it brilliantly, as though he's played this instrument his whole life.  What's more - it was all improvisation as he moved effortlessly from classical music to standards.  You'll hear the result on the show this week.

Freeman talks with Jill about his early influences (listening to Maurice Ravel at age 3 and Roger Williams later), and his life and times right up to the present. We'll also hear some of his privately recorded performances and a couple of works recorded in our studio, including the aforementioned improv.

Crossover with Jill Pasternak airs Saturday morning at 11:30 am on WRTI-FM, with an encore Friday evening at 7 pm on WRTI-HD2.  Both airings can be heard on the All-Classical web stream at wrti.org.

It's his parents' fault. For Joe's sixth birthday, they gave him a transistor radio. All of a sudden, their dreams of having a doctor or lawyer (or even a fry cook) in the family went down the tubes.