Gunnar JohansenJune 16, 2012 at 7:52 PM | Posted in Connections, Music, Piano | 2 Comments
Tags: Bach, Blue Mounds, David Dubal, Franz Liszt, Gunnar Johansen, James Colias, The Piano Matters
Gunnar Johansen, a Dane, a pianist who came to the United States in 1929 and died in 1991 at 85 in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin, outside of Madison, where he was Artist in Residence for many years at the University there, made 150 recordings, including the complete keyboard works of Bach and 51 (!) Liszt recordings.
Johansen composed 750 works.
Prior to three weeks ago I had not heard of him. Here is the string of events: David Dubal played something by Johansen on his show, The Piano Matters. He mentioned that he had once met him and that he was a great gentleman. That struck me and I looked him up on Arkiv, the Amazon of classical music, and came up light. I googled and found that he had made an enormous number of recordings and they were available from The Artist Direct in Blue Mounds. I sent an email and for a few days, silence. Then James Colias contacted me. His is the trustee of the Gunnar and Lorraine Johansen Charity Trust and — I was in luck – he had just arrived in Blue Mounds and could help me.
He did. Mr. Colias is a former student and friend of Johansen and he was wonderful on the phone. I ordered (though that is too strong a word) a number of recordings, mainly LPs with one CD (and Mr. Colias gave me one as a gift), and they arrived just yesterday. I’ve listened to the first album of Liszt and I am enchanted.
These are my first steps on a new path of discovery and connection. Another world has opened its door to me.