LEWISBURG — Jeremy Siskind’s Finger-Songwriter Project will perform in concert Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Bucknell Hall at Bucknell University. The concert, which is free and open to the public, is part of the continuing Jazz at Bucknell series.
The jazz trio is led by award-winning pianist Jeremy Siskind, who was inspired by Joni Mitchell, Nick Drake, Josh Ritter, Lisa Hannigan and other folk singers to write his own songs.
His lyrics, which deal with love and loss, horror and heartbreak, are movingly delivered by vocalist Nancy Harms, best known for her work with trombonist Wycliffe Gordon. Harms sings with a steely intimacy that ushers a listener into the world of a piece, whether it be a haunting waltz like “One Art” or a spirited celebration like “Theme for a Sunrise.”
Woodwind wizard Lucas Pino colors the music with whispering tenor work, mournful clarinet, and murmuring bass clarinet. A graduate of the Brubeck Institute and Juilliard, Pino plays with a sensitivity and muscular resolve that blend wondrously with Siskind’s dark pianistic touch.
At age 26, Siskind is the winner of the Nottingham International Jazz Piano Competition, a second-place finisher in the Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition, a two-time finalist for the American Pianist Association’s Cole Porter Fellowship, and a two-time second-place finisher at the Phillips Jazz Competition. Recently named a Professor of Piano at Western Michigan University’s School of Music, Siskind made a sold-out solo debut at Carnegie Hall in 2012, performing Debussy’s Etudes in the first half and jazz improvisations in the second half.
As a composer, Siskind has received ASCAP’s Young Jazz Composers Award and Downbeat Magazine’s Student Music Award, and has twice traveled to Japan as the American representative in Yamaha’s Junior Original Composition competition. A composer and clinician for Hal Leonard, Siskind’s 2011 debut publication, Jazz Etude Inspirations, consisting of eight piano etudes inspired by jazz greats, sold out within minutes of his performance at last year’s Music Teacher’s National Association conference in New York City.