Waltz by John Carollo

Anne Ku met composer John Carollo in Cortona, Italy in 2006 and in Honolulu in 2011. Carollo’s Waltz written in 1986 evokes Satie and Debussy. Listen to a recording from the Netherlands.

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John Carollo, composer, and Anne Ku, blogger, Honolulu, 3 April 2011
John Carollo, composer, and Anne Ku, blogger, Honolulu, 3 April 2011

On Sunday 3rd April 2011, while sightreading 81 short piano pieces entitled “80th Birthday Jingles” by the Honolulu-based composer John Carollo, I came across an old work of his from 1986. John, whom I first met in Cortona, Italy in July 2006, walked out of his kitchen and came towards me.

“I haven’t heard that in awhile.” He seemed caught off guard. Later, I learned that he had forgotten about this piece.

It was tonal music from his pre-serial days.

“Play it again,” he mused.

John had written this Satie-like waltz for his friend Bill whose surprise birthday party I had attended two nights earlier in a million dollar home in Hanepepe Loop. On Sunday in a penthouse in central Honolulu, we were just eating the leftovers from that executive chef-catered dinner when my playing of his Waltz evoked even earlier memories of his journey as a composer.

I liked it so much that I took it to Utrecht, Netherlands and recorded it on my grand piano on 4th August 2011.

Waltz by John Carollo, interpreted by Anne Ku (mp3)

Waltz by John Carollo
Waltz by John Carollo

Just yesterday afternoon I found the three of John’s CDs: the award-winning Ampersand, Starry Night for String Orchestra, and Transcendence in the Age of War. Now that I have time in Maui, I will listen to his works, although I have already heard one performed in my house on 1st July 2011. Pianist Nathanael May played his Prelude as the last piece of a set of five by the composers Antheil, Chopin, Gershwin, and Debussy as the opening to a house concert. (Programme 2-page PDF) It was well chosen before John Cage’s dream-like “In a Landscape.”

Immediately after I left Honolulu, John began composing a 9-movement work for my piano guitar duo. While we have not yet had time to rehearse the piece, I have already requested John to extend the second movement which is so addictive!

Born in Torino, Italy, John Carollo was brought to the U.S. by his adoptive parents.  John took piano lessons and began composing his first piano works while at San Diego State University where he graduated with a Masters Degree in Psychology.  Shortly thereafter, John moved to Honolulu, began a full-time mental health career for the State of Hawaii and started private composition lessons with Dr. Robert Wehrman. So great was his passion for composing that he quit his day job to compose full-time. Since then his works have been performed in Italy, Netherlands, and elsewhere. Website: http://www.johncarollocomposer.com