Dizzy Days and Ragtime
In 2015 I became enamored of ragtime, somewhat suddenly and randomly. I started borrowing from the classic style in my own pieces.
In October 2017 I released an album of ragtime-ish piano (along with one duet rag with clarinetist Lauren Geist). It includes eight original compositions, three classic rags, and nine "ragtime reflections," conversational tracks discussing the history of ragtime and the music on the album, along with the dilemmas of contemporary composition and recording.
Read more about the album here, see it in iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and read the reviews in No Depression and the Syncopated Times.
As a musician, my mission is to write, play, and spread love and knowledge of great music. I grew up playing "the greats" and have played in some old-school piano competitions, but for me, music (and classical music, however vaguely defined), is about more than the music of dead white men (though the best of them certainly have a place). I grew up skeptical of contemporary music, in which the avant-garde and experimental continue to wield outsize influence. But as I started writing my own music in my mid-20s, I realized it's not all like that, and there's a ton of great music out there, being composed and made today.
Kassia Music Collective
Check out my chamber group based here in DC. We're dedicated to new music with a traditional twist and uncovering hidden classics from the past that have been unjustly shunned. We're in the midst of making our debut album. Support our Kickstarter!
In May of 2016 I played one of my piano pieces for Yo-Yo Ma and just like that he recommended me to the San Francisco Symphony for a commission! My first string quartet, borrowing dombra themes from Kazakhstan, premiered in San Francisco in February with members of the San Francisco Symphony. In November 2017 the Symphony asked me to orchestrate the piece for their SoundBox concert series (see photos below!).
I teach at Levine Music in Washington, DC and have a private studio too. Contact me or Levine if you're interested in piano lessons.
I write some stuff on a blog every once in a while about politics, science, or whatever. Check it out!
My stock bio:
Sam Post is an award-winning pianist and San Francisco Symphony-commissioned composer who transfixes audiences with his vibrant-yet-approachable compositions and engaging, educational performances. He has won praise for his playing in the Washington Post ("confident, yet sensitive"), for his composing in the Bay Area review ("Post has created a breathtaking musical joy ride"), and for his solo recording in No Depression ("an adventure that will satisfy your soul"), and from such luminaries such as Renée Fleming (“incredibly gifted”) and Yo-Yo Ma (“totally awesome”).
In 2016, Sam was slated to accompany Yo-Yo Ma and Renée Fleming at the Kennedy Center Arts Summit, but so impressed them in rehearsal that they invited him to prelude their collective performance with his Improvisation & Fugue on the “Over the Rainbow” theme. Afterward, Mr. Ma recommended him to Michael Tilson Thomas for a San Francisco Symphony commission. The resulting “Sketches from Kazakhstan,” a five-movement string quartet that incorporates Kazakh folk themes from the late dombra player Karshyga Akhmedyarov (whose daughter is a member of the Symphony), premiered at Davies Hall in February 2017. Due to the piece’s success and popularity, the Symphony again commissioned Sam to orchestrate it for their SoundBox concert series in December 2017. The Bay Area reporter called the result "a breathtaking musical joy ride."
Though he spent his college years away from the piano due to injury (earning a summa cum laude physics degree from Yale), Sam recovered to win first prize at Northwestern’s piano competition, honorable mention at the 2013 Heida Hermanns International Competition, and first prize at the 2014 Wonderlic, 2017 and 2018 Misbin competitions, impressing the judges especially with performances of his own music and the music of Bach.
Long a student of the classical tradition, Sam’s compositions are notable for mixing the influence of his musical upbringing—especially Bach—with newer styles, while consciously rejecting the avant-garde of much contemporary music. In October 2017 Sam released his newest album “Dizzy Days,” featuring eight of his own ragtime compositions along with improvisations on Joplin and Bolcom. No Depression calls the album “an adventure that will satisfy your soul.” Excerpts have been featured on radio programs throughout the United States and Canada, and the album made legendary jazz historian and critic W. Royal Stokes’ notable release list for 2017.
Sam’s compositions for piano have been performed internationally by Kara Huber, Ralitza Patcheva and Carlos Rodriguez, and Ron Levy, in venues including the Kennedy Center, the Canadian Opera Company, and the International Keyboard Festival in Galicia. After the most recent performance in May 2018 by Mr. Rodriguez, DC Metro Theater Arts glowed that “the intermixing of classical music (shades of Bach!) and ragtime music made for such a joyous and euphoric musical memory that I wish it would linger in my mind and heart forever."
After focusing on piano music for his early compositions, in 2016 Sam started writing chamber music, becoming co-founder and -music director of the Kassia Music Collective. With the group he has already composed and performed new multi-movement duo pieces for violin, clarinet, and cello, and has premiered multiple new works by co-music director Bernard Vallandingham.
Sam joined the piano faculty at Levine Music in 2013 and the composition faculty in 2017.