Roland Perrin – Composer & Pianist

Publish Date: 16 May 2012

Roland Perrin

“We started off in the States, moved around quite a lot from New York and Mexico and Florida ending up in England via Scotland. I remember as one of seven children playing a game in the living room in Glasgow where we had a grand piano and the game was based on the weather; one person would be playing the piano and the rest would be dancing around. It seemed to involve a lot of sustain pedal. The person at the piano would replicate beautiful calm sunny weather by playing delicately at the top of the piano, and then at some moment would go to the bottom of the piano and bang out the lowest notes like thunder and lightning and rain and we’d all scream and hide under the grand piano. It was simple, but endless fun.

Another early memory was that my mother used to like us to play the piano first thing in the morning to help get her out bed, it was a happy time, and I’d play whatever it was that I was learning at the time. Now I’m a teacher myself, I teach students from all over the world; Finland, England, Iran, Japan, Venezuela, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Austria, France, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica, Trinidad….I could go on! As they get more advanced, what I’m trying to do is to get them to play jazz with their own twist. For example there’s a very good pianist who’s brilliant at playing traditional Iranian and Azerbaijanian music on the piano, sometimes it’s centuries old, and sometimes it’s pop music from the last thirty years. He’s starting to get a really good feel for jazz, and we’ve been working together on getting him to fuse the two together. He has actually influenced me as a composer. Another example is a Japanese student; she’s working on a collection of Japanese folk songs and that’s really nice because she took a while to understand how jazz works and now she’s really starting to find herself by not trying to sound American but by arranging Japanese folk music. My way of looking at things is to that there’s no point learning the tradition of an art form unless you’re going to bend it your own way. The end game is to create a personal statement, and not to present yourself as someone who is the carrier of a tradition, but as someone who has taken the tradition and made it their own.” (Roland Perrin)

ROLAND PERRIN is a composer, pianist and educator who creates music that combines irresistible world music grooves, jazz improvisation and structures in the European symphonic tradition. His compositions range from solo piano works to full orchestral pieces. The style is wide ranging – the result of being steeped in classical music and jazz and also by having played with many artists from around the world. Roland sees his music as taking some of the best elements from different traditions: it develops and unfolds like a story, it leaves space for spontaneity and it dances. Roland’s “Limited Edition” has five members from five countries. He also works as a solo pianist, in duos with singers Rachel Sutton and V, and with the Cuban bass player Rey Crespo. He is Head of Piano Studies at the London Centre of Contemporary Music and operates a thriving private practice as a jazz piano teacher.

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