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May 31, 2023

Arts Club of Washington

Haskell Small, piano

Haskell Small

Composer and Pianist Haskell Small has been critically praised for the exquisite blend of sound and silence in his compositions and for his prodigious technique and subtle touch at the piano. His discography of over a dozen recordings and his frequent national and international tours, including performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts, and Spoleto USA, have firmly established Small's stellar artistic reputation around the world. Small has received commissions from the Washington Ballet, Three Rivers Piano Competition, Georgetown Symphony and Paul Hill Chorale, among others.

Small’s discography includes recordings of his own solo piano and chamber compositions as well as the Goldberg Variations by JS Bach, Musica Callada by Federico Mompou and Gershwin in Black and White (a collection of piano transcriptions) on the MSR, Naxos, Centaur and 4Tay labels. MSR has also recently released Small's rendering of the 6 Bach Partitas and is about to release a disc of piano music of Alan Hovhaness.

His acclaimed artistry has spread further through his active YouTube channel on which his videos have received millions of views. Small has been featured on the nationally-broadcast PBS special “A Celebration of the Piano,” in a TedMed production, “What is the sound of E. Pluribus Unum?”, and is the subject of a forthcoming documentary about his return to music after a stroke rendered his left hand temporarily paralyzed.

After his stroke in February 2021, Mr. Small has used his rehabilitation journey as a creative muse. In April of 2022, he resumed presenting live and virtual performances of music by great classical masters that he arranged for the right hand alone, as well as his own composition Diary of a Stroke: The Adventures of Herb and Pete. This "comeback" was featured in The Washington Post by Classical Critic Michael Andor Brodeur with, "After a debilitating stroke, a pianist feels his way back to music (April 8, 2022)."

Today his rehabilitation has further progressed and he has returned to playing with full use of both hands. Currently, Small is preparing to fulfill his “bucket list” dream of performing Beethoven's sublime Diabelli Variations on a 2023/24 tour of the U.S. billed as "A Celebration of Healing."

Haskell Small received his musical training at the San Francisco Conservatory and Carnegie-Mellon University. He studied piano with Leon Fleisher and William Masselos, and composition with Vincent Persichetti and Roland Leich. He served as Piano Department Chair for the Washington Conservatory of Music where he remains on faculty today.

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