Works performed by Earplay:

Piano Trio

Charles Ives 1874-1954, United States) was one of the first American composers of international renown. Though Ives' music was largely ignored during his life, and most of his works went unperformed for many years, over time he came to be regarded as an "American Original." He combined the American popular and church-music traditions of his youth with European art music, and was among the first composers to engage in a systematic program of experimental music, with musical techniques including polytonality, polyrhythm, tone clusters, aleatoric elements, and quarter tones, foreshadowing many musical innovations of the 20th century.

Sources of Ives' tonal imagery are hymn tunes and traditional songs, the town band at holiday parade, fiddlers at Saturday night dances, patriotic songs, sentimental parlor ballads and the melodies of Stephen Foster. He was heavily influenced by his bandmaster father, George Ives, and in particular by his childhood experiences of hearing his father's band and several others simultaneously playing different music from various positions around the town square in Danbury, Connecticut.

While Ives defined himself primarily as a composer, he earned his living in the insurance business, ultimately creating an agency that long outlasted his retirement. He recognized the divergence of his life from the more conventional path of teacher/conductor/composer that certainly would have been open to someone of his gifts; however, he relished the freedom that his business success brought to develop his experimental compositional style without regard for its marketability. In addition to his musical legacy, Ives is credited with inventing the modern system of estate planning.

[from program for March 19, 2012 concert]