American pianist and conductor Charles Ketcham performs the works of G. I. Gurdjieff with percussionist Elizabeth Nott in a performance combining improvisational percussion with composed music on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. in Schroeder Hall at Sonoma State University's Green Music Center. Tickets are $8, free for SSU students.
Considered to be one of the leading interpreters of Gurdjieff's music, Ketcham is in the process of recording all of Gurdjieff's piano music. The first album, "In Search of the Sacred," was released in 2014.
As a conductor, Ketcham has worked with the London Philharmonia, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Colorado Symphony and the Portland Symphony. He has served as resident conductor with the Utah and San Diego symphonies as well as music director of the San Diego Master Chorale and principal conductor of Ballet West.
Gurdjieff (1866-1949) was a remarkable teacher, writer, composer and choreographer. His teaching, sometimes referred to as "The Fourth Way," blends the inner search of Eastern and Western traditions and speaks directly to the deeper questions facing spiritual seekers. In a unique collaboration with Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann (1885-1956), Gurdjieff created an impressive and inspiring body of music. The best-known material from their work together is "The Sacred Music," solo piano pieces composed purely for the sake of listening and meditation.
Photos: Charles Ketcham, top; G.I. Gurdjieff, bottom.
In this video, Charles Ketcham performs piano music by Gurdjieff/de Hartmann and discusses it in a phone interview.