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Ben Folds Talks Piano Concerto, Bartok and the Babysitter Next Door with Gramophone

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Jul 02, 2014 01:07 PM EDT

Songwriting comes from a variety of instruments, the basis of songs never being dependent on one set medium (in this case, medium being the instrument the song derives from). For me, that is an acoustic guitar.

For Ben Folds Five frontman of the same name, this stemmed from his keen ear when learning the piano as a child.

A natural born drummer, yes, Folds found his percussive ear to be easier to train than his melodic one. But as time passed, and his babysitter at the tender age of 9 taught him some choice chords and melodies, he began to explore the various musical vineyards of his youth.

Growing up is as hard as any, but the deft songwriter found time in his youth to sit down and learn, though ignorant to the theory behind it, the piano and its various uses when starting to write rock music.

Folds sat down with Gramophone to discuss his latest piano concerto currently on tour through the U.S., U.K. and Europe throughout the June, July and August summer season.

He states, "My Piano Concerto came about in the way most of what I do comes about - it just happened."

"It was discussed over dinner with the head of the Nashville Ballet, and I don't know if he suggested it or if someone over the table suggested it, but anyway I said 'Yeah, I'll do it!' And I went down a crazy path for 18 months while I was working on it," he continued.

He continued to discuss the incessant listening sessions of Beethoven, Ravel, Rachmaninov and Bartok, (you know, the classics).

So make your way to Gramophone for a complete account of the musician's tumultuous love affair with classical music and his latest concerto.

Let's make him a standard because as he cantos, "My great dream would be that, after I perform it, it gets played by someone else at some point - that would be amazing."

In the meantime, here's Folds and WASO.

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TagsBen Folds, Ben Folds Five, Bartok, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Gramophone, Ravel, Nashville Ballet

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