SOURCE: Rykodisc

May 14, 2007 09:00 ET

Pianist Meral Guneyman to Release "Playful Virtuosity" Featuring Legendary Musician and Composer Dick Hyman June 5, 2007 on Rykodisc

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 14, 2007 -- On June 5, 2007 Meral Guneyman will release "Playful Virtuosity" featuring Dick Hyman. For her Ryko debut, the versatile pianist (and official Turkish State Soloist) Meral Guneyman teams up with legendary piano player, arranger and composer Dick Hyman to trade "playful" interpretations of a diverse group of works including Gershwin and a tribute to Django Reinhart. The album is a musical banter between two masterful artists who clearly delight in their craft and feed off of one another's unique, creative spirit.

Pianist Meral Guneyman made her orchestral debut in the United States under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas as first prize winner of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's Young Artist Competition. She was then promptly reengaged by Tilson Thomas, who describes Guneyman as "a highly sensitive artist with a wonderful, warm, romantic sound," to play the Schumann Concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony. She made her Carnegie Hall debut as winner of the East & West Artists' International Competition. After winning the prestigious William Kappell International Competition at the University of Maryland she performed with Leon Fleischer and the Baltimore Symphony. Her accolades include winner of the Juilliard School's Chopin Concerto Competition and Laureate in the International Naumburg Competition, which, once again, brought her to Carnegie Hall, this time to the Isaac Stern Auditorium. Ms. Guneyman, a Turkish-born American citizen, holds the title of "State Artist" of Turkey, representing the Ministry of Culture of the Turkish Republic, worldwide.

Famed musician and composer Dick Hyman comments, "Working with Meral has been astonishing. She is such a fantastic pianist that it is a great pleasure to be her partner. Her technique is incredible and her familiarity with jazz and jazz piano conventions combined with that mastery leads to wonderful piano playing empathy and a considerable challenge!" Hyman has had a long and varied career ranging from pianist, organist, arranger, music director, and composer. His immense expertise has resulted in film scores, orchestral compositions, concert appearances and well over 100 albums recorded under his own name.

"Playful Virtuosity" first breathed life in late 2004 when it became clear to Guneyman that a Carnegie Hall concert was about to materialize, and a longtime friend encouraged her to "forget Schumann" and to do jazz instead, asking Dick to join her. She states, "Dick accepted the invitation and the next thing I knew we were rehearsing at the Yamaha showroom on 5th Avenue! When we finished, I remember Dick saying, 'This looks like the beginning of a very good musical adventure.' The concert was sponsored partly by the late Ahmet Ertegun and was a huge success. Later, Dick and I entered the studio and recorded 'Playful Virtuosity.' For me, this album evolved naturally, a lot like jazz itself."

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