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The Reach

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Pianist to Bring “Chicago” to Life at Honors Institute

Pianist to Bring “Chicago” to Life at Honors Institute

When Ethan Uslan was 9, his family acquired a piano. After his mother taught him the only song she knew ("Heart and Soul"), she handed him over to classical pianist Faina Litenzon, who taught him scales, how to read music, and the importance of playing with feeling.

As a teenager, Ethan wanted to try some new musical genres to supplement his classical music. So he found jazz pianist Dan Crisci, who taught him the fundamentals of jazz improvisation and theory.

Ethan went on to study classical piano and musicology at Indiana University, continuing his diligent practice at the piano. Meanwhile, in the classroom, he had the opportunity to study the history of American popular music with Jeffrey Magee, who wrote the authoritative biography of Irving Berlin. Although Ethan never had a teacher who specialized in ragtime piano playing, the other teachers in his life had given him all the tools he needed to figure it out himself.

Today Ethan is one of the hottest names on the ragtime/traditional jazz scene. He has competed in the World Championship since 2005, winning in 2007 and advancing to the finals six times. Ethan has performed on NPR's A Prairie Home Companion and at various concerts and festivals nationwide.

Get a preview of Ethan’s talent.

He makes his home in his Charlotte, North Carolina, where he has enjoyed performing, accompanying silent movies, and playing with the Charlotte Symphony. Ethan has served as an adjunct visiting lecturer of music at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and has recorded three CDs as well several silent film scores on DVD.

During the 2017 Honors Institute Modschiedler Lecture, Ethan will accompany the silent film Chicago, the Roxie Hart story. Learn more about the 2017 Honors Institute online, and register by May 12!

This lecture recognizes the contributions of Dr. John Modschiedler, advisor emeritus at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. During his 15 years as advisor, the chapter at the College of DuPage grew to be the largest in the entire Society.


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