Night and Day: Pianist Winston visits the IC Festival for an afternoon performance

A well-known musician recently released an album and will be making a stop in your town soon.

Common practice in contemporary music suggests that the artist is promoting this new album and is likely to feature prominently in the performance.

The pianist George Winston has nothing in common.

“One thing I never think about when I’m on tour” is the last album, Winston said. “It’s about where I am musically right now and what I want to do the day before” the performance.

Illinois College’s free Engelbach-Hart Music Festival, first held in 2011, is a gift to the community from the Engelbach and Hart families.

The late AC Hart, Class of 1925, and the late Charlotte Engelbach Hart, Class of 1926, received honorary degrees from IC in 1976 and 1985, respectively, in recognition of their support of the college’s music program.

AC Hart was also a director of IC. The Hart Sesquicentennial organ in Rammelkamp Chapel was dedicated in their honor in 1979, and the small grand piano in the choir rehearsal room was named in their honor in 2003.

The performances, which will all take place in the Rammelkamp Chapel on campus, include:

• pianist Alla Voskoboynikova in concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday;

• Faculty Collage Concert, featuring faculty from IC’s music department, at 7:30 pm on November 12; and

• Pianist George Winston in concert at 3pm on November 13th.

That means tracks from Winston’s ‘Night’ album, released in May, could easily miss the cut for his 3 p.m. concert on Nov. 13 at Rammelkamp Chapel as part of Germany’s Engelbach-Hart music festival. Illinois College.

Winston’s performance and the two other concerts that make up the festival – the Friday performance at 7:30 p.m. by pianist Alla Voskoboynikova and the IC Faculty Collage concert at 7:30 p.m. on November 12 – are free and open to the public.

Winston’s concert set list will most likely include songs from his 1991 “Summer” album, because that’s how he’s felt recently, he said in late October.

That’s not to say it doesn’t feel “night”. It still smells like night, he said.

“I’m basically nocturnal,” Winston said. The “Night” album “is a reflection of who I am and how I live, from midnight to 7 a.m.”

Best known as a pianist, Winston also plays guitar and harmonica, although he insists these are all late-night efforts.

“I never play an instrument during the day,” he said. “The day (you have) emails, all that. You cannot be free to do anything.

Even before confirming that his Jacksonville gig is the only one of about two dozen on his schedule that starts before 7 p.m., it’s easy to believe there’s little hyperbole in the statement.

He recorded “Night” during that midnight to 7 a.m. window, not as a way to find the right frame of mind, he said.

“All the other albums I’ve done, I’ve recorded them at night,” he said. “It’s who I am.”

Winston’s 50-year career has yielded 16 solo piano albums – including two covering the music of “Peanuts” composer Vince Guaraldi and one covering the music of The Doors – as well as a solo harmonica album, various recordings charities and soundtrack albums.

Despite his healthy catalog, albums take time and he doesn’t rush them, Winston said.

“Three to 20 years,” he said of the time it took him to come together and record an album. “I work on several at the same time.”

A single song can inspire an album idea, after which Winston takes his time determining which songs to pair with a recording.

There might be “a few songs that sound like a certain thing, like fall or night,” he said. “Over the years more songs will be added to this until it’s an album. It’s a bit of a chicken and the egg” as to whether the songs come before or after the concept of the album.

It’s a successful process for Winston, whose self-proclaimed “rural folk piano” sound – melodic and easy – has resulted in more than 15 million albums sold for one of instrumental music’s most recognizable performers. contemporary.

“All the song has to be is what it is,” Winston said. “I can’t dial on demand and I wouldn’t want to anyway. It wouldn’t be a very good song. Music tells me what to do, basically. For sure. … So the song tells me what the album is for. He never fails. Entire albums simply appear.

As Winston will on November 13.

“It’s always good to come to a new city,” he says.

Even for an afternoon performance.