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Adrian Carr: press

"Finding Charlotte," Adrian Carr's new album, was a full-circle journey. He found his voice.

"My music is always going to be Charlotte"

Staff Writer
Charlotte was a frail girl with a slight disability. Her hand shook.

She attended Herbert Hoover Junior High School in Buffalo. So did Adrian Carr.

"She had flaxen-colored hair and freckles," said Carr, who lives in Montreal. "The year started off, and all the boys were picking on her, myself included. This has stayed with me."

When he was in the seventh grade, he apologized to her.

"That was OK, but that wasn't good enough for me now. It was important for me to find her now, to touch base and say I was sorry. But the idea became bigger than that in my life. Finding Charlotte really became about finding my voice in music and getting back into the world of music and playing concerts here again in the North Country."


When he left New York City in 2004, he sold his piano and almost everything he had connected with music. Several years later, he asked himself what could he do to earn his way.

"The only answer here is well, hello, music. I trained all my life to be a musician. So the same way BB King's guitar is always called Lucille, my music is always going to be Charlotte."

"Finding Charlotte" is the title of his new 13-track CD, which he will perform in concert Friday and Saturday evening at the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts.

Looking back now, Carr sees that although Charlotte had a physical handicap, he had one also.

"My handicap was I went along with the crowd. I was unable to use my brain to think, to look at a situation. I wasn't mature enough emotionally to see things for what they were. The one thing that really sticks with me is when I apologized to her in the seventh grade, she had such a look of kindness on her face. It was like nothing bad I had ever said had touched her. That kind of kindness stayed with me for 37 years."


Carr recorded four tracks on Sundays in January at the NCCCA.

"I'm so grateful for that."

Alone in the century-old Merchant's Bank building, he watched light move across the walls. He recorded, stopped for Koffee Kat and Pizza Bono breaks, and returned to record some more.

"The pieces just kind of flowed, and they just came to me. The wonderful thing I do in concert is tell the story. There is a poem before each piece. I will be telling the story of finding Charlotte and a few other things. How this all came to be."

"Finding Charlotte" is the touchstone for all of the works, each of which begins with a preposition. The first track is "Within the garden of imagination," which was inspired by the day Carr met his wife, Debra.

"She was hiking. We were both on the Rocky Ridge Trail in Elizabethtown. I was just leaving after three days of camping up there, and she was just coming in. Our paths crossed, and she gave me her card. She lived in Montreal. That's how this thing started. I started seeing her."

The first track celebrates the incredible things that can happen in life.

"Life is really the garden of imagination."


Track 4, "Among dandelions and ghosts," was composed after Carr visited an abandoned train station in Buffalo.

"This was an incredible train station built in the 1920s in the art-deco style. I remember saying goodbye to my father as he departed for Chicago from this train station. I remember how big it seemed when I was a kid."

The last time he was in Buffalo, it still seemed immense.

"It was just as remarkable as when I was a kid. It's huge, marble floors. It's in limbo. They can't tear it down, and they can't get the money to restore it. There's been some famous photographers who have photographed there."

The station is in a state of disrepair with leaking roofs, crumbling plaster and broken glass. Still, enough art-deco details have survived the elements and looters to give glimpses of the Paderewski Street Central Train Station's former grandeur.

"Paderewski was a famous, very big Polish politician in Buffalo," Carr said. "He was their famous statesman and pianist. He edited the works of Chopin. He was a genius, and he was a statesman. It was a big deal."

Ignacy Jan Paderewski vowed not to return to his native Poland until it was free. He died before that happened.

"Finally, when Poland became free from the Soviet Union, his remains were removed to Warsaw."


Track 11, "At the heart of the bicycle song," chronicles the 2006 seven-day bike trip Carr and his wife made from Montreal to New York City.

"It was one of those magical trips. We found amazing diners as well as great places to stay. We discovered so many towns and areas of New York state that we never knew."

The bicycle song is inspired by how a sense of accomplishment in one area of your life creates a positive momentum in other areas of your life. Shortly after Carr composed the work, he found the real Charlotte.

"It's been like a great trip," he said. "It's my 50th birthday this year. I think this album is kind of a celebration of me being 50."
Pianist/composer Adrian Carr at NCCCA
NCCCA presents "From Carnegie Hall to Plattsburgh"

Staff Writer
Adrian Carr's piano music is decompressive, fresh and uplifting.

At a Saturday evening concert at the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts, he presents seven pieces from his last CD, "Days of the Year," a collection of songs about special days in a six-year period. In 2004, he premiered the High Mountains Records release in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall.

"There's a piece in there, ‘How Many Days,' when my mother died," said Carr, who lives in Montreal. "When I was living in New York City, I wrote a piece, ‘Breathe,' for 9/11."

"Finding Charlotte" is his new album in progress.

"Charlotte was someone I knew from high school back in Buffalo. Charlotte is really about finding a part of myself that I lost over the years. I'm going back to a time in my life where I can access a certain creativity that I had that I'm using to go forward."

Born in Buffalo, Carr moved to New York City to attend the Juilliard School. After receiving his bachelor's degree, he attended Princeton, where he received a master's degree. In New York City, he established one of the finest acoustic music recording and mastering facilities. He received Grammy entry nominations for his work in classical and contemporary music categories. In 1998, "First Light" was produced by Narada Records.

Playing the piano was his father's idea.

"He always wanted to learn piano. He was a musical type of guy. He played jazz saxophone as an amateur. We always had a piano around the house. My mother played a little bit."

When he started, his youthful legs couldn't reach the pedals of the Baldwin grand piano.

"When I was 10, I was able to touch the pedals. I remember playing and performing then."

His father invariably asked him to perform one of his classical works at big Italian family gatherings.

"He paid for me to go to NYC to study at Juilliard when I was accepted. I was working with Milton Babbitt, an incredible teacher and one of the fathers of modern American music. It was a fantastic opportunity to work with him."

In 1978, he lived at a residence hotel. For $210 a month, he got fresh towels daily and his room cleaned weekly. The two most incredible experience were meeting Arthur Miller and seeing Leonard Bernstein.

The rhythm of Carr's life changed in 2003 when he met his future wife while hiking in the Adirondacks.

"I was just coming out after three or four days on the Rocky Ridge Trail in Elizabethtown. I was by myself. She was just coming in for a day hike. Our paths crossed, literally. We stopped and talked. I'm always very friendly on the trail."

She gave him her card. They communicated by phone, he came to Montreal and they started seeing each other. A year and a half later, Carr relocated to Montreal.

As an ex-New Yorker, he's happy living in Canada.

"I'm living in another country but I have very easy access to the North Country," Carr said. "I think this is really important for me. You don't think you will miss your country, but you do. I'm over the border at least once a week doing things."
This is one of those rare albums you will enjoy forever. Seriously. It's like a magic carpet ride that gently sweeps you off your feet and takes you to someplace lush and beautiful.
"Adrian Carr's music flowed seamlessly, propelling the dance forward with a gentle energy. Listening to his score for the Rebecca Kelly Ballet, leaves me wanting to hear more of his music."
Iris Brooks - Dance Magazine
Engaging and fluid like the movement traveling water.
Like the ambiance of a mountain stream flowing into the mouth of a roaring river, Days of the Year will make your soul do just that. The ripples in the music plunge ones emotions into joy, sadness, empathy or depression. It demands that one senses the complexity and simplicity of what can happen when you allow truth and honesty to just be. No barriers. No closed doors. Only the freedom to feel what melody is there to tell you.
A RISING STAR....WONDERFUL! a nice smooth yet exciting "ride." What I expect from New-Age sounds! A piece that when I close my eyes, I am guided through "it." Thanks for sharing, keep the sounds coming! Your kindness comes through your key strokes
Tsillpa - (Mar 10, 2007)