Classical piano meets art rock


Christopher O’Riley opened his sold-out show at Mandel Hall with the first song from Radiohead’s album Pablo Honey , because, he said, it is “the only pop song [he knows] in 28:3 time signature.” A classically trained pianist and host of a classical-music radio show, O’Riley’s concert did not feature the Mozart or Shostakovich pieces for which he is well-known. Instead it showcased Radiohead songs O’Riley had personally transcribed (and recorded).

Neither definitively rock nor classical, the concert drew from both genres. Dressed in all black at a grand Steinway, between songs the self-effacing host maintained a casual conversation with the Radiohead fans in the crowd about his obsession with the band. He also held a continuous dialogue with the sheet music: the audience watched his face as he mouthed lyrics and, as each song ended, closed his eyes and threw himself back.

The show was the seventh annual Regents Park Discovery Concert put on by Chicago Presents. O’Riley returns to Mandel Hall tonight to play with the Miró Quartet.

By Meredith Meyer ’06

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January 21, 2005