Al Kryszak

Composer/Guitarist/Artist

USA

Author

About

Al Kryszak is a Composer/Guitarist/Artist with 35 years of concert, silent film and visual work, released on KINO International DVD, iTunes and online. New concert music includes “Lux Internum” (12 Nocturnes for Solo Piano), Prog Rock projects "Murmur Rations" (2021) & “Soft Clowns of the Sea” (2018) , the "Transparent Preludes" piano collection,"All The Luck" (Clarinet and Orchestra) & the Piano Concerto from "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde".

Recent film projects he's written & directed, include the new Documentary "Privacy & The Power of Secrets" (Premiered at The Hague Global Cinema Festival in Nov., 2020), "When The Chevy Breaks ( How Small Towns Fix Big Problems)", "Who Made You In America" & "Whatever Works: Exploring Opiate Addiction", premiering on Maine Public Television with a student film crews from UMaine, Machias.

“Codex Suburbia” surveys 25 years of Kryszak’s wind & choral music, featuring Harmonia Chamber Singers, Johnny Reinhard’s American Festival of Microtonal Music (NYC) , and the cast of New York’s seminal Avant-grade theatre company, Mabou Mine’s "Reel to Real” (1994), in a choral scene dedicated to co-founder Fred Neumann. Anthony de Mare is featured on the Lincoln Center Film Society/Turner Classic Movies piano concerto/film score for "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde". The "Broken Blossoms" silent film score is featured on Turner Classic Movies along with his scores for "A Christmas Past" and "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde".

Premieres include Carnegie Recital Hall, The World Financial Center, Symphony Space, The Los Angeles Directors Guild, The Kitchen, Arts at St. Ann's, The North American New Music Festival, The Atlantic Center for the Arts and The Burchfield-Penny Art Center, among other venues, he has also scored music for theater innovators including Road Less Traveled, JoAnne Akalaitis, Per Lysander (Sweden), Percy Steven (UK) and New York's Mabou Mines. Much of his work brings new concert music and film together, bringing new concert music to more diverse audiences.

Original scores for rarely seen silent films, including "Hamlet" (Sven Gade 1921), "Limite" (Mario Peixoto 1930) & "Fall of the House of Usher" (Webber/Watson 1928) premiered at The NY Shakespeare Festival Papp Theatre. Kryszak's live score for "Intolerance" (Griffith 1916) was featured in NY at Symphony Space on the "Film & Censorship" series hosted by Martin Scorsese. His solo electric guitar score for "Nosferatu" (Murnau 1921) premiered at Carnegie Recital Hall and the Los Angeles Directors Guild/ American Cinematheque in 1992 and 1994.

The live score for "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" premiered at The World Trade Center/Wintergarden Theater in 2000, scored for bass flute, voice, cello and guitar orchestra. As a founding member/songwriter of NY Alt Rock Trio, REV, he released "The Restless Are Natives" & the "Human Rights Revenge" epic "L.E. The Liz Estrada Book Club". With current racial scapegoating & a pathological indifference to refugees, it seemed the time to release the works "White Guys Afraid of Blacks on TV”, “Lost Girls of Juarez” & “Men & Women”. Kryszak is the founder of "Loud Guys Against Violence Against Women", with individuals from 80 nations, who put their name on prevention of the only disease that doesn't need a dime to cure.

Videos

Sheets

Interview

What does music mean to you personally?

Music, to me, is a language of vibrations that hover above human interference while capturing moments in a person’s life for later replay

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

I’m not sure that music is any one single thing. Fantasy in the sense that it only existed in the mind of the person about to make it, yes I can see that.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

I perform a few different „roles“ in the arts: music composition & painting & film directing naturally overlap, as recordings of humans in some kind of motion: mental, emotional, physical

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about the future?

I think it’s too late to worry about the future, I worry about the past & just make more music

What do you envision the role of music to be in the 21st century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role? Music is nicer than people & that is needed in the 21st Century. Music is transformative because it floats over air to bring you another culture’s soul before you have the time to judge or fear that culture. Music is bigger than people. It makes you hear far beyond the tiny part of the brain that says “be like me or go away”

Do you think that the musician today needs to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

I don’t really believe in the word „creative“. I know of no human who can make something out of nothing. We all drag our lives through these streams of experience & consciousness but end up with something different without trying to be creative. Music is not the same because people are not all the same. Music will whisper to you before you can suffocate it with your parent’s baggage. Instead of inventing & thinking about the ego of a creator, it seems more like a chaotic borrowing of 100 of 1 million experiences, like fingerprints made out of the exact same skin & bone, but impossible to duplicate, which is where the missing sensory perception between fingerprints is provided by air vibrations: music

Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?

Yes, I think multimedia helps bring younger fans to New Music. I know I’ve met some enthusiastic music fans after my performances of my solo electric guitar score for F.W. Murnau’s silent horror classic film „Nosferatu“. Some younger audiences were attracted to an instrument they already liked (the Electric & Acoustic Guitars) & others came to see a cool film & accidentally discovered New Music in the process!

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

My works seem tob e triggered in different ways by different media: Piano sketches that emerge from improvisation; an orchestral idea driven by a theatrical score (the Clarinet Concerto emerged from Arthur Miller’s play „The Man Who Had All The Luck“. I became immeresed in this post WW II American sonority & focused the orchestra in quartets of flutes, clarinets & horns to build colors reminiscent oft he Big Band Era. The concerto „All The Luck“ took me out of a harmonic rut I was in. This escape from my own ‚style‘ may have been inspired by Stravinsky’s „Pulcinella“ & Prokofiev’s „Classical Symphony“, where they both took a musical & spiritual „vacation“ from their absolutely groundbreaking works from 1912-1920.

One of my favorite works ist the Piano Concerto. Like „All The Luck“, it started with a film score for Turner Classic Movies & KINO International, but grew past the „Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde“ silent film score & expanded into many areas of piano & orchestra I hadn’t explored before

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

I seemed to discover the most inspirational works with little guidance, randomly selecting New Music Masterworks by Debussy, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Satie, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Messiaen, Ligeti, Penderecki, Feldman, Gorecki, Glass & Reich. In my case, moving towards great film composers like Nino Rota, Elmer Bernstein & Bernard Herrmann.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

It’s hard to imagine what a New Music audience looks like, honestly. I‘ve seen the oldest listeners watch with the youngest minds, & young listeners watch with old, closed minds. Technology has defintely damaged the attention spans of audiences under 40, so it would take quite an effort for a composer to harness the attention of younger listeners since they are trained to run away every 30 seconds.

So I don’t think about the listener anymore, becasue I figure: „I’m a human & I like the way this sounds now. Other humans might like it too?

I really like my composition teacher Morton Feldman‘s quote on „who a composer writes for“. Feldman was asked something like „Why don’t you write music fort he ‚man-in-the-street‘?“ .

He replied „I was looking out my New York apartment window one day & saw Jackson Pollack walking by. THERE’S your man in the street!“.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

I started with guitar & piano & endlessly return tot he 2 primal instruments in my life. I think it’s important to physically bond with the notes you are conjuring. I could never write completely cerebral like Hector Berlioz or Renaissance Church composers, though I love their music.

So, I just began the third large piano collection: 12 etudes, following Svetlana Belsky’s release of the nocturnes „Lux Internum“ (2020) & Ivan Docenko’s recording of the „Transparent Preludes“ (2014). These pieces echo back to my earliest obsession with Sviatslav Richter’s transendental recordings of Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Chopin & Prokofiev, which brought me to write 40 years of music for one person sitting at a piano. The universal, personal solo orchestra trapped in a dark wooden box.