Anthony Ranieri | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Anthony Ranieri 

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Anthony Ranieri is one of those classical performers and composers who work largely outside academia and the establishment concert circuit. Which is to say he's not as well known as he ought to be. A graduate of Lake Forest College, he's spent the last 35 years learning his craft in what some might regard as a haphazard fashion. He's studied composition at area conservatories, electronic music at Indiana University, and piano at Northwestern. And he's apprenticed as a recording engineer. These days he makes a living as a piano coach. Infatuated with exotic instruments, Ranieri knows how to play the gamelan and the shakuhachi (an ancient Japanese bamboo flute); his latest interest is the sitar. If he weren't talented he might be accused of dilettantism. But he is talented, as his body of eclectic compositions demonstrates. His scores for voice, piano, and tape, for example, quite effectively evoke a theatrical atmosphere, and in some of his piano pieces sound clusters cascade in an attractive manner. (He's also writing an opera based on the life of Giordano Bruno, the Italian Renaissance philosopher.) At this recital Ranieri will display the range of his keyboard repertoire, from the Baroque to the contemporary: the seldom-performed Froberger Lamentation Suite, Mozart's Sonata in F Major, and 14 Chopin preludes, as well as works by Bartok, Bernstein, George Rochberg, and Ranieri himself, including his Four Petits Contretemps and his latest sonata, which uses multitrack tape to create a feel of "surround sound." Saturday, 2 PM, auditorium, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State; 747-4850.

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