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NEXT Ensemble presents Boston pianist in Ogden as part of Utah tour

By Deann Armes - | Sep 1, 2021
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Miki Sawada travels on the Denali Highway in Alaska with a piano during her Gather Hear Tour in 2017. She will be at PLATFORMS in Ogden at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, during First Friday Art Stroll as part of the Gather Hear Utah tour.
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Boston-based international concert pianist Miki Sawada created the Gather Hear Tour to unite audiences across the political and socioeconomic divide through the positive power of classical music.
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Miki Sawada performs at a dive bar in Talkeetna, Alaska, during her Gather Hear Tour in 2017.
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Miki Sawada travels on the Denali Highway in Alaska with a piano during her Gather Hear Tour in 2017.

Boston-based concert pianist Miki Sawada is touring across Utah with her piano in tow from now through Sept. 18 as part of the Gather Hear Tour, and Ogden is one of the stops — this Friday during First Friday Art Stroll.

Sawada created the Gather Hear Tour as a way to use classical music to inspire more human connection across political and socioeconomic divides.

Her mission is to perform in all 50 states, outside of the concert halls and into local community gathering spaces — in Utah, she is presenting 16 free events in 13 towns and cities across the state in parks, public theaters, restaurants, schools and libraries.

NEXT Ensemble presents Gather Hear Utah in Ogden, a free outdoor concert by the international pianist Sawada, at Ogden Contemporary Arts’ PLATFORMS this Friday at 7:30 p.m.

For some lucky grade school students, Gather Hear Utah will also be at Burch Creek Elementary on Friday morning for a special private performance.

According to a statement by the Gather Hear Tour, Sawada got the idea after the 2016 election, despaired over the reality of a divided America, and looked for ways to use classical music as a positive force.

“By taking classical music outside of concert halls and into local community gathering spaces both urban and rural, presenting it in a friendly and inclusive manner, Sawada aims to break down typical barriers of entry to classical music and create occasions for us to feel connected and human,” the tour statement said.

The project was launched in 2017 starting in Alaska and has since toured West Virginia and Massachusetts for a total of 49 events in 37 locations.

For Gather Hear Utah — a partnership with the Mundi Project, a Salt Lake-based nonprofit — Sawada will have performed in Ogden, Salt Lake City, Price, Logan, Vernal, Kearns, St. George, Beryl, Cedar City, Boulder, Moab, Blanding and Fort Duchesne by the tour’s end.

Sawada said of Gather Hear Utah: “As an ultramarathoner and trail runner, I have been looking forward to exploring the majestic land of Utah for quite some time. Combine that with the prevalence of the LDS church and the continued legacy of indigenous people who have lived here for thousands of years — I know that I’ll have so much to learn from the people and lands I encounter. In return, I hope to give back a meaningful and memorable experience with music through my performances.”

Sawada takes the listener through a journey of varied sonic landscapes on the Utah tour, featuring the electro-acoustic work by Brendon Randall-Myers off her debut album, “A Kind of Mirror,” released Aug. 27 by Slashsound.

“As avid distance runners, Sawada and Randall-Myers’ shared experiences with trancelike flow states and extreme physical exertion are direct inspirations for the music,” they stated.

On the tour, Sawada also presents an African-American spiritual arrangement by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, works by Franz Liszt and a commissioned work by University of Utah School of Music faculty member Elisabet Curbelo.

Read more about Sawada and Gather Hear tour at mikisawada.com and gatherhear.com.

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