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Interview with David Lanz, February 2024
Interview with David Lanz, image 1
I saw David Lanz perform his first San Francisco concert in about 1989 and was already a huge fan of his music. He released his first album, Heartsounds, in 1983 and has gone on to release more than thirty albums. I taught his sheet music to my piano students for many years and took groups to see him in concert all over the Bay Area. We became friends and David did a couple of workshops with my piano students in Hercules, CA. When I moved to Florence, Oregon, David did a couple of the first house concerts here that I hosted. I have also been proof-reading his sheet music for quite a few years, so there are a lot of connections to this amazing pianist/composer. David just recently released his first solo piano album in several years called Valentine Hill, so it seemed like a great time to do an interview update. For more information about David and his career, there are links to the other interviews we have done over the years as well as reviews of most of his music on his Artist Page on MainlyPiano.com. Enjoy!

KP: Hey David! How are things on Cyprus?

DL: Spring is in the air now. Our two coldest months are December and January. It never gets below freezing (thank God!), and stays in the 40-60 degree range. We do get a fair number of rainstorms being so close to the Mediterranean coast. Our family has gotten through the cold and flu season with our six-year-old twins, who bring every germ they can home from school! ;-)  We also continue our home remodeling...that never ends! ;-)

KP: Since our last interview almost three years ago, you have released two albums and several singles, a few of which are solo piano. Your latest album, Valentine Hill, released earlier this month and I love, love, love it! Were you getting a lot of requests to do more solo piano again?
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Interview with David Lanz, image 9
Interview with David Lanz, image 10
Click on album covers to
go to Kathy's reviews.
DL: Of course there are many hard core piano fans, like you;-) For the most part though, our listeners have embraced all the music we have created over the last few years, happy to say!

KP: That's great! I know a lot of your fans love playing your music as much as listening to it (me, for one!). So far, there is sheet music available for the title track, "Valentine Hill," as well as "Winter Sonata" and "The Bittersweet." (Click on the links to go to Kathy's reviews of the sheet music.) Will there be a songbook for the full album? If not, do you plan to release more single sheets?

DL: I am encouraging Hal Leonard, our publisher, to keep releasing the new music, so stay tuned!

KP: Okay! Hopefully, they'll do it! The title track of the album was inspired by a poem you wrote a few years ago. I didn't know you were a poet, too! Tell us about the poem first. 

DL: Every poet needs a muse, and Kristin is mine.  Instead of a box of chocolates, I preferred to create a poem for her for Valentine's Day. The VALENTINE HILL poem was written several years ago. It outlines the ups and downs of a relationship. Romantic and bittersweet.

KP: The poem is part of the video for "Valentine Hill," if anyone wants to read it. It is also part of the liner notes for the album.

Have you written much other poetry?

DL: Quite a bit since meeting Kristin. Some if it is pretty good. A lot if it is pretty corny. ;-)

KP: LOL! Have you written the lyrics for many of the songs that Kristin sings? I kind of assumed that she wrote those.

DL: A few of my poems have turned into lyric ideas. We both write music and lyrics, but I tend to usually start the lyric and we later adapt it to fit our music. Any of the Italian lyrics we have written or adapted really fall into her domain.  Kristin also wrote all the music and lyrics for her debut album, NOTES FROM A JOURNEY. However, I did contribute one lyric to a piece she composed  for that album.

KP: What inspired "Finding Heaven"? 

DL: My sweet mother, who passed several years ago, inspired this piece. It's a celebration of her life and memory.

KP: Two of the other pieces on the album are dedicated to your mother. Tell us a bit about those. 

DL: SHE  WALKS IN JOY was inspired by a poster displayed in my mother's home which read, "Joy is the most infallible sign of God." The third one is FAREWELL FOR NOW, which attests to my belief in life after death.

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The Lanz family!
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KP: Did your parents support your early aspirations to be a composer/pianist?

DL: My folks were always in my corner, and very proud and encouraging! I feel so fortunate to have had such a positive upbringing around my music. They came to every local concert I did, and my mom even braved the nightclubs when I made my living playing in cover bands!

KP: That's great! Have your young twin daughters started showing musical promise?

DL: Both are very artistic and love music, singing, drawing and dance.  They are encouraged by us, as well as by their older sisters, who both have artistic talents .

KP: "Passages and Portraits" has an interesting story. Tell us abut it.

DL: PASSAGES AND PORTRAITS was originally going to be the album's title track. However, romance won the day! The song was at first meant to be more of a conceptual overture, as it was one of the only pieces not tied to a specific event or time in my life, or so I thought. As I composed the ending, I realized I had inadvertently used the same four iconic notes from Beethoven's fifth symphony. So, in the end, I suppose it is tied to many moments in my life and is a small tribute to my musical hero, possibly the greatest composer who ever lived, and one who has not only enriched my life, but our world as well.

KP: I think "The Bittersweet" has several brief moments that sound like some of your earlier music and it brings back many happy memories even though it's a very poignant piece. Were any of those spots intentional?

DL: No, the music just happens in the moment and no other past songs were directly referenced or drawn from, at least consciously. Happy to hear you love that piece!

KP: Three of the pieces on this album are improvisations. I think it was Philip Aaberg who defined improvisation as "composing on the fly." Do you go back and rework any of your improv pieces for the final recordings or do you keep them as they originally flowed our of your fingers (and heart!)?

DL: Except for an edit or two, the improvs are just as they were played.

KP: "Fantasia For Two Suns" always makes me smile when it gets to the parts "borrowed" from "The Setting of Two Suns" from your Skyline Firedance album (1990). What inspired this newer piece?

DL: The verse, with the straight quarter note chords, in the left hand, reminded me of THE SETTING OF TWO SUNS. That lead me to "borrow" that  phrase, which seemed to fit perfectly! The title for the new piece, just reflected and played off the original.

KP: Great stuff! Have you gone back to doing live performances?

DL: Since having our twins, moving to Cyprus and Covid I have pretty much decided to stop performance for now. 

KP: Do you have any plans for your next project?

DL: We are taking on a new rendition of Bach's AIR ON A G STRING. A full classical rock approach with new original lyrics. More on that later!  We have a few other irons in the fire, but we will save that for another day;-)

KP: Is there anything else you'd like to talk about?

DL: I appreciate the time you spend getting the music and info out to the piano community. I know many of us feel the same! Thanks again Kathy ...talk to you later!

KP: You are more than welcome, David! Thanks for taking the time to do this update!

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David and me long ago (2006) on
a planet far away (Hercules, CA!).
Interview with David Lanz, image 2
David (front) with Scott D. Davis, David Nevue, and Jeff Bjorck in Hercules, CA 2006.
For more information about David Lanz and his music, be sure to visit his website and his Artist Page here on MainlyPiano.com.
Kathy Parsons
February 2024