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Craig Urquhart

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The moody new age composer Craig Urquhart is one of the finest independent pianists in America. It was almost a given that he would become a musician, as his early exposure to Leonard Bernstein's CBS series The Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic gave the Michigan child an obsession with music that led him to explore the piano. After absorbing the music of Joni Mitchell, Brian Eno, and Laura Nyro (as well as the usual classical composers: Bach, Chopin, et. al) he entered the University of Michigan under their music program. Graduating with a Masters in Composition, Urquhart moved to New York and joined the staff of the Harlem School of the Arts. He met Leonard Bernstein in the late 70's, and the two became quick friends after Urquhart enthusiastically quizzed the legendary composer about all things music. Urquhart gained inspiration at a time when he had become disillusioned with some of the atonal work he had been writing, while Bernstein asked him to become his personal assistant in 1985. The two stayed together until Bernstein's death in 1990, which led Urquhart to start composing his first albums on a piano he inherited from the Maestro. Urquhart began putting together classical art songs, utilizing a more lyrical approach than what he had attempted before his friendship with Bernstein. Putting together several discs through the 90's, it was 1994's powerful Epitaphs and Portraits that brought him the most attention with its compassionate AIDS theme. Urquhart took the second half of the decade to work on musical projects outside of recording, but by 2002 he was back in the studio recording Evocation. ~ Bradley Torreano

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Years Active:

'90s, '00s