A Music Man For All Seasons

In spite of being a Grammy-winning pianist, George Winston is still climbing the “piano mountain.”
George may look happy here, but as a child he didn’t see sitting inside at a piano as anything to smile about.

When you attend George Winston’s solo piano performance at the Emerson Center on November 20, you won’t just be there for him. He’ll be there for you. Although George’s nearly two dozen albums and sound tracks testify to his love for recording, his live performances, he says, “are what’s real.” 

“Without audiences, I’d spend all my time in a studio. Instead, I travel and do 70, 80, 100 shows a year; and each place is a new one where I can absorb and drink and breathe in what’s there – the scenery, the seasons and the people that I’m playing for. I would die if I stayed in one place. The music would die,” he adds.

However, for George, that music wasn’t even “born” until he was in his teens. “As a kid growing up in eastern Montana, I didn’t have any desire to play music. I had a few piano lessons, but I wasn’t interested so I quit. All I wanted to do was be outside.” Since no one had television and there was only one radio station, the seasons were his entertainment. He walked in the spring rain, swam in the summer, jumped in piles of leaves in the fall, and went sledding in the winter. 

When George was 12, he began listening to the radio. He enjoyed the instrumental hits of the time and particularly loved hearing the organ, constantly searching for records that included organ music. When George was a high school senior living in Miami, Jim Morrison and The Doors were getting radio airplay in New York and California. But George didn’t have to hear the group’s music to know that he absolutely had to buy their 1967 debut album. Their band had an organist! 

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