Despite his avoidance of narrow categories, there is one stream in the piano tradition to which Mr. Hamelin proudly claims membership: that of the pianist-composer, a designation that was the norm during the ages of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Schumann, but faded soon after as instrumentalists focused on conquering the technical hurdles of an increasingly difficult repertoire. Mr. Hamelin began composing, he says, in childhood, though, he confesses, "I didn't produce anything I could use until my late teens."
His new CD of original works, "Études," will be celebrated on Tuesday at New York's (Le) Poisson Rouge.
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