When Christopher O’Riley takes the stage at the Gordon Center on Saturday, Dec. 6 (8 p.m.), attendees will hear a few tunes they might not expect from a musician of his kind.
“As a classical pianist, I came to a point where there was lots of other music I wanted to incorporate into my concerts,” O’Riley said.
About 10 years ago, he started “Out of My Hands,” which has him performing classical pieces alongside some of his modern favorites. The Gordon Center show will feature songs by Radiohead, Elliott Smith, jazz trio The Bad Plus as well as “Lazuli” by internationally renowned Baltimore musicians Beach House.
The second part of his show features two pieces by Russian composers, both written in 1913 — Alexander Scriabin’s Sonata No. 9 and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Sonata No. 2.
Much of O’Riley’s career focuses on breaking down musical barriers. As the host of NPR’s “From The Top,” he features pre-collegiate classical composers. He has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin and Bela Fleck and performed as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the National Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony.
“I think you can pare it down to two elements that I find most appealing about any music that I play. One that I’m always compelled by is an interesting harmonic sort of chord change that makes your skin tingle,” he said. “The other thing is texture. I think I’m much more drawn to music that isn’t just melody and harmony, where you have this interweaving of different voices.”
Randi Benesch, managing director of the Gordon Center, said O’Riley is “an artist of the highest capability who tests boundaries both within and beyond musical genres.”
For more information and tickets, visit bit.ly/11z7lMy.