Guest artist Paul Barnes takes the Eau Claire stage

Pianist and professor collaborates with former student Nicholas Phillips

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Photo by Elizabeth Gosling

Paul Barnes performed on Sunday as part of his New Generations tour. He also teaches prospective pianists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Paul Barnes laughed while remarking that music has the power to change souls.

“I love being in the soul changing business,” Barnes said.

Barnes, a professional pianist, and Marguerite Scribante, a professor of music at the University of Nebraska, performed as a guest artist on Sunday in Haas Fine Arts Center.

Barnes, former teacher of UW-Eau Claire piano professor Nicholas Phillips, has released 12 albums, his most recent released this year titled “New Generations.” He has toured and participated in music festivals around the world, including one this year in Italy.

During his recital, he performed several pieces from American composer Philip Glass, two of which Barnes commissioned. Barnes met Glass about 22 years ago and the two have remained close friends since.

Barnes started off the night with some of Glass’ etudes, specifically numbers six, eight and 11. These were characterized by the repetition and musicality throughout the piece. There was much dynamical contrast, with soft serenades and triumphant chords throughout the pieces.

Following some of Glass’ originals, Barnes also performed his own transcriptions of other Glass compilations.

“(Transcribing) is a great creative workout for me and then of course I get to play the fruits of my labor, which is really fun too,” Barnes said.

Specifically, he performed two movements from the Trilogy Sonata, including “Conclusion from Satyagraha” and “Dance from Akhnaten.”

He finished off the evening with a movement from the “Piano Concerto No. 2,” remarking on the journeys of American explorers Lewis and Clark. In the concerto series, three movements depict their adventures throughout the country’s early history. This is one of the pieces Barnes commissioned from Glass.

He ended the concert with a duel piece featuring Phillips. Phillips completed his Bachelor of Music with Barnes at the University of Nebraska and was invited to share music from his 12th album “New Generations” on Sunday.

Barnes had recently performed the dual piano piece with another friend. He enjoys doing chamber music or collaborating with other artists, he said. Barnes also commends Phillips’ talent as a pianist.

Piano pedagogy student Marie Kaczmarek said the recital was enjoyable. She said his musicality and minimalistic nature of the pieces made it a great night.

Barnes’ newest album is his first album with two discs. One disc features several etudes of Philip Glass and the second is dedicated to the music of younger composers, featuring music from Jason Bahr, N. Lincoln Hanks, Lucas Floyd, Ivan Moody and Jonah Gallagher.

The Ohio-based pianist’s music can be found on iTunes, Pandora, Youtube, Apple Music and Amazon.