PERFORMANCES | Provided By Kathleen Kaiser
Pianist Aaron Embry adds an additional dimension to “33 Variations”
When “33 Variations” opened Friday evening at the Ojai Art Center Theater, an unusual participant was on stage—pianist Aaron Embry. The script has a selection of Beethoven’s 33 Variations that comment on the action and transition between scenes, acting as an emotional guide between the centuries and stories portrayed. Though trained in classical and jazz at the R.D. Colburn School in Los Angeles, Embry has recorded and toured extensively with artists including Elliott Smith, Daniel Lanois, Jane’s Addiction, Edward Sharpe, and Brian Blade.
With his diverse musical background, where does Beethoven fit into his musical tastes/likes?
“Beethoven left us some of the heftiest cornerstones for new music we create every day,” said Embry. “You could grab a small handful of his most popular compositions and you would have the seeds of an entire universe of music. Just think of all the young people Fur Elise alone has inspired to take up piano and what impact that melody has had on our humanity!”
In preparing for the play, Embry said, “The opportunity to enjoy such a sense of purpose learning these pieces by Beethoven has been wonderful for me as a musician. I am constantly searching for new music and bits and pieces of songs. Right now I am mainly focusing on my pianism and working on writing a new set of songs at the piano.”
The next four weekends at the theater will not only tempt your dramatic tastes with comedy and drama, but fill the theater with the sounds of Beethoven. To celebrate opening night, the evening started with pre-show champagne and strawberries and ended with a special German themed reception with German wines provided by the Ojai Beverage Company and luscious edibles, including German cheeses and chocolates. All was included for just $35 per person.
“I am so grateful I can make a living as a musician,” says Embry. “Just like any job, there is a grind factor from time to time. I have a family so I don’t do much touring but when I do I have a fantastic time and I enjoy session recording very much. I love experimenting to find what complements another artists’ work.”
Embry has released two albums of his original songs, Tiny Prayers (2012) and Life Ahead (2016). He and his family have lived and loved in the Ojai Valley since 2010.
Tickets are on sale for all four weekends at www.OjaiACT.org or call to reserve at 805-640-8797.