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Jed Distler's BROKEN RECORD World Premiere to Set Guinness Record for Largest Keyboard Ensemble, 6/21


Make Music New York presents the world premiere of Jed Distler's Broken Record, a piece composed for 175 battery-powered Yamaha keyboards and one Yamaha acoustic grand piano on Cornelia Street in the West Village on Friday, June 21st. There will be two performances at 11am and 12 Noon in front of the Cornelia Street Café.

This is a special featured event as part of Make Music New York's popular Mass Appeal series. Players will include luminaries of the piano world, local amateur pianists, school children, and city officials. Highlighted guests: Eleonor Sandresky, Kathleen Supové, Gene Pritsker, Patrick Grant, Joseph Pehrson, Simon Mulligan, Andrew Byrne, Robert Paterson, Victoria Paterson, Taka Kigawa, Stephen Gosling, Darynn Zimmer, Molly Mokorski, Alexandra Honigsberg, Tristan McKay, 15 year-old Christopher McGinnis and more.

This performance will set a new Guinness Book record for the world's largest keyboard ensemble. Following the performance, Yamaha will donate all of the keyboards to the New York City Department of Education. This event is produced in collaboration with ComposersCollaborative Inc, Peppergreen Media, the Cornelia Street Café, Yamaha and Viacom.

Solo piano and multi keyboard performances will be featured for the rest of the day. Artists TBA and will include Jed Distler.

Jed Distler on Broken Record:

"Think of this piece as a sound sculpture, where the keyboards are set up from one part of Cornelia Street to another in waving formations. Audience members can walk through the ensemble, and experience the music as it unfolds from different perspectives. While the music is notated, the performers have a lot of freedom, and no single performance is identical. Through bringing 175-plus participants together, from students to professionals, from avid keyboard enthusiasts to newcomers, we hope to create a joyful sense of community."

The performances take place on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 11am and 12 Noon, out in front of Cornelia St. Café, 29 Cornelia Street, New York, NY. For more information, visit

Jed Distler, Composer & Pianist: "Distler isn't sure whether a childhood spent in West Orange, NJ, has much to do with his having achieved a state of "Cool-dom" but if you were to ask (the reviewer, he'd say) definitely yes." (Michael Redmond, Star Ledger) Indeed, Jed grew up with Bugs Bunny cartoons, Art Tatum records, Wagner's Ring, William Carlos Williams, etc. under one roof, making for an exotic musical upbringing in the wilds of New Jersey. The son of a published poet, Jed studied with Clarence Major in college. His savvy with words colors his music making. The Death of Lottie Shapiro, an early work for four sopranos and piano, is an evening-length song cycle featuring text by his mother, Bette Feitelson Distler. Jed penned original autobiographical texts for his Assault on Pepper (1997), a deconstruction of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album for speaking pianist. Distler's other noteworthy piano works with text include Anegada (1998) for pianist Kathleen Supove, a Duke Ellington centennial fantasy entitled Am I In Tune With The Piano? (1999), The Seduction of Commonplaces (2003) with texts by Hector Berlioz, and his magnum opus The Gold Standard (2007), a piano theater collaboration with playwright Ed Schmidt.

Called "an altogether extraordinary pianist" (Star-Ledger) and "the Downtown keyboard magus" (The New Yorker), Jed has premiered works by Frederic Rzewski, Lois V Vierk, Virko Baley, Wendy Mae Chambers, Andrew Thomas, Simeon Ten Holt, Virgil Thomson, David Maslanka, William Schimmel, Kitty Brazelton, Alvin Curran, and Eleanor Hovda, many of which were written especially for him.

In addition to commissions from Jenny Lin, Symphony Space, IonSound, the American Composers Forum and Song in Music, his works have been recorded by Margaret Leng Tan, Guy Livingston, and Quattro Mani, among other New Music luminaries. His String Quartet No. 1 (the Mister Softee Variations) is a summertime tradition on New York Public Radio.

Jed co-founded the presenting organization ComposersCollaborative, inc. with his late wife Célia Cooke, creating and curating such innovative festivals as Solo Flights, Non Sequitur, Mano-a-Mano Piano Festival and the long-running Serial Underground series at New York's landmark Cornelia Street Café. He has led highly acclaimed large-scale performances of Terry Riley's "In C" on Cornelia Street and, more recently, on Governors Island. The 2009 Make Music New York festival featured Jed in the four piano version of the late Simeon ten Holt's legendary Canto Ostinato, in front of the Café/ Jed also has served as guest composer/pianist in residence hosting the keyboard show Hammered! for WQXR's internet radio stream Q2.

Highlights of recent seasons include residencies at Denver University, Colorado College, the University of Nevada/Las Vegas, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, plus an ongoing tour with a recital program encompassing jazz legend Thelonious Monk's complete songs interwoven into a seamless musical fabric. A regularly featured CD reviewer and blogger for Gramophone and where he mostly writes about piano music, Jed helped uncover the notorious Joyce Hatto scandal in February 2007, and has authored numerous CD booklet annotations, including comprehensive box sets devoted to Leon Fleisher, Gary Graffman, Martha Argerich, Maurizio Pollini, Leopold Stokowski, Leonard Bernstein and Vladimir Horowitz. He taught for more than 20 years at Sarah Lawrence College, and has received grants from Meet the Composer, plus a coveted Macdowell Colony residency and a 2012 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. Jed's 2011 CD release Meditate with the Masters is available on the Musical Concepts label. For more details of Jed's rich musical life, visit

Photo Credit: Paula Court

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