Concert pianist Dynasty Battles is pleased to announce the release of Study Buddy, a virtuosic new etude composed for Battles by Ted Hearne (The Source, Sound from the Bench, Place). This fun and challenging collaboration is brought to life in a new music video (by FourTen Media) filmed at the historic Cunningham Piano Restoration Factory in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia.
In this video, Battles’ stunning fingerwork, hand crossovers and performance presence are on full display as he executes the exacting and passionate new score from Hearne which slyly alternates between machine-like passages of precisely-aligned octave jumps and rhapsodic gestures that might as well have come directly from Rachmaninoff’s speed-addled alter ego.
Battles and Hearne formed a friendship after Dynasty was programmed alongside the LA Philharmonic’s performance of Hearne’s Law of Mosaics, and shortly thereafter their collaborative relationship was born. Study Buddy was conceived during the early days of the pandemic. With both artists struggling for creative outlets — Hearne in LA, Battles in Philly — the two passed ideas and recordings back and forth, and focusing on an idea for a piece that would allow Battles’ rhythmic prowess to be wedded with his talent for delicate and subtle voicing. Study Buddy, therefore, is an etude which both plays with the mathematically-driven arrangement and re-arrangements of seven octaves of a single pitch (G#) and an additively-intense ode to the Romantic etude, each musical section “battling” back and forth in succession.
Dynasty’s performance, taking place after the piece was finally ready to be recorded and pandemic restrictions were lifted, captures an undeniable emotional buildup the pianist experienced throughout lockdowns and unrest.
Cunningham Piano Company is one the oldest and largest piano restoration factory in existence. The internationally known facility represents a rebirth for Dynasty who was born and raised in Philadelphia, where he was steeped in playing jazz and hip-hop while simultaneously shredding his Classical music chops. Featured with the LA Philharmonic in 2018, in 2019 as a soloist on the Dame Myra Hess Series, and in 2020 with a viral video playing Chopin, Dynasty began his emergence as a concert pianist.
Battles is scheduled to perform a live solo concert at the Philadelphia Philosophical Society on December 16th. Hearne’s next work in the Philadelphia area will take place in June 2023, when The Crossing premieres his evening-length work Farming. Link for tickets: https://www.pcmsconcerts.org/concerts/dynasty-battles-piano/