Arrange A Date With The Master

Newcastle Herald
Thursday February 10, 2000

MANY will have played his music.

Others will have heard his arrangements on film, television and CD.

Now Australian musicians and particularly piano enthusiasts and teachers will have the chance to meet one of the world’s great arrangers, Dan Coates.

With more than 400 publications in circulation, Mr Coates is one of the most successful arrangers of popular music today. His music is learnt by young and old, from student to professional.

He is one of today’s foremost personalities in the field of printed music. Equally adept in arranging for beginners or accomplished musicians, his arrangements have made a significant contribution to the industry.

Born in Syracuse in New York State, he began to play the piano at the age of four. By the time he was 15, he’d won a New York State competition for music composers. After high school, he toured the US, Canada and Europe as an arranger and pianist with the world-famous youth group Up With People.

He studied piano at the University of Miami while playing professionally throughout southern Florida. To date, his performance credits include appearances on Murphy Brown, My Sister Sam and at the opening ceremony of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

He has also accompanied such artists as Dusty Springfield and Charlotte Rae.

Mr Coates regularly conducts workshops throughout the year in the United States, during which he demonstrates his most popular arrangements. These arrangements include popular standards as well as current pop song and movie soundtracks.

Two recent releases which will impress are Australian Favorites (timed nicely to coincide with his Australian tour) and Music for All Occasions (from the Professional Touch series), both published by Warner/Chappell Music.

During his Australian workshops, Mr Coates will demonstrate from some of his most recent books including Star Wars Phantom Menace for easy Piano, and the extremely popular new series Two Thumbs Up! Today’s Great Movie Songs.

From his home in Miami, he said of his forthcoming tour: `I am very excited to be coming to Australia. It is not my first tour Down Under, but I can’t wait to meet all the wonderful musicians, teachers and retailers again who have supported my music in the past.’

For those interested, Mr Coates can be seen and heard in three locations in Sydney: Monday, February 21, at Sutherland Entertainment Centre Auditorium (bookings on 9520 3044); Tuesday, February 22, at the Masonic Centre in Castlereagh St, Sydney (bookings on 9279 4599); Wednesday, February 23, at Macquarie University’s Lecture Theatre X5B at Marsfield (bookings on 9873 2333).

All workshops are free of charge and run from 9am to 12.30pm. Bookings must be confirmed by tomorrow. LOCAL composer, conductor and performer Ross Fiddes is the special guest at Pepperina in Bolton St, Newcastle, tonight from 6pm.

The event launches regular monthly public soirees at Pepperina.

New owner Sue Leask is excited to celebrate the launch of this new series and the purchase of a new grand piano.

Mr Fiddes has not only composed piano music (recorded on the Tall Poppies label) but has two operas to his credit, Abelard and Eloise (still a work in progress) and The Proposal.

His many other compositions include a Suite for Saxophone Quartet and more recently music for an upcoming Young People’s Theatre production of Romeo and Juliet.

Mr Fiddes will conclude the evening by talking about his love of music and motivation to compose. For more information telephone 4925 2939. WHEN the Australian Chamber Orchestra performs in Newcastle next Wednesday, they should have smiles on their faces from ear to ear.

The ACO’s general manager, Liz Davies, has announced that the Orchestra’s subscription sales are well beyond all previous records with an overall increase of 23% in subscriber numbers.

In addition to the new subscribers, there is also a high retention rate of 85% for existing subscribers.

These results demonstrate a strong upward trend for the ACO, which already has the largest subscription base of any chamber orchestra in the world.

The ACO has 8815 subscribers around Australia. Subscription income earned by the orchestra has doubled in the past five years.

In the next few days the ACO will be in rehearsal for the opening of its new concert season, featuring pianistic virtuoso Marc-Andre Hamelin, and many concert halls around Australia will be close to full.

 © 2000 Newcastle Herald


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