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Monday, June 17, 2024
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Five-time Grammy winner and pianist Jon Batiste performs at UB

Batiste paints a portrait of intimacy and vulnerability with musical virtuosity and original compositions

<p>Batiste deviated from the stiff formality of classical music performances, encouraging the audience to treat the concert as a “living room recital.”&nbsp;</p>

Batiste deviated from the stiff formality of classical music performances, encouraging the audience to treat the concert as a “living room recital.” 

When five-time Grammy winner and pianist Jon Batiste performed at the Center for the Arts (CFA) Mainstage Theatre last Friday, he deviated from the stiff formality of classical music performances, encouraging the audience to treat the concert as a “living room recital.”

DSC02933_Batiste_Sean Krueger.jpg
Sean Krueger / UB Center for the Arts

Batiste didn’t hesitate to connect with the audience, at times daring to showcase compositions that were originally only intended for his friends.  

Being loud was welcome. As Batiste shifted from soft melodies to loud riffs and from instrumental melodies to powerful songs, the audience cheered. Applause and whistles lasted at least thirty seconds after each composition. 

Batiste didn’t hesitate to connect with the audience, daring to showcase compositions that were originally only intended for his friends. One such piece came from an audition for Juillard, where Batiste gave up sight-reading a complex piece and instead composed an original piece on the spot. 

It is these moments where Batiste feels that the music becomes “real.”

“I really just believe that when we make music, we’re vessels full with something that’s way bigger than us. We’re just a vessel. It’s not even me. It’s something else,” Batiste said. “This is a very special thing for me.”

Batiste ended the night with a total of three encores, playing hits including the Beatles’ “Blackbird,” and a Black spiritual hymn, “When the Saints Go Marching In.” One of them included a surprise call-and-response with the audience, having them sing a “healing melody” and wave their phones’ flashlights.

“That represents your inner light,” Batiste said. “You can lose track of it but you can never lose it. No matter how dark it gets, we can win. We can win. We can win.”

Mylien Lai is the senior arts editor and can be reached at mylien.lai@ubspectrum.com 


MYLIEN LAI
mylien-lai.jpg

Mylien Lai is the senior news editor at The Spectrum. Outside of getting lost in Buffalo, she enjoys practicing the piano and being a bean plant mom. She can be found at @my_my_my_myliennnn on Instagram. 

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