Gregory Theisen resting his head on his hand
Spotlight Series

MacPhail Spotlight Series: A Tale of Three Cities

Date: Sat May 22 2021

Time: 7:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Location: MacPhail Live Online

This virtual MacPhail Spotlight Series concert showcases three cities from around the world and features two international MacPhail teaching artists, plus video capture from four different filmmakers collaborating remotely.

A Tale of Three Cities is a tribute to Greg Theisen, a beloved Minneapolis composer, pianist, and arranger, as well as MacPhail teaching artist. He passed away in September of 2020. Greg dedicated two of the movements to the pianists’ hometowns: Pinar Basgoze, Istanbul, and Susana Pinto, Lisbon. The third is dedicated to his own cherished Minneapolis. In addition to an energetic performance, this film captures the essence of the three contrasting locales, as it interweaves the music in Antonello Hall with footage of specific sights from the corresponding cities. Please join us for a unique music travel exploration, and enjoy it from your own living room!

A composer and pianist, Gregory Theisen’s original compositions have been performed at the International New Music Festival in Zagreb, the Lisbon Contemporary Music Festival, and concerts in Germany and Belgium. A former member of Zeitgeist, he worked with John Cage, Terry Riley and Frederick Rzewski, whose works were commissioned and performed by Zeitgeist. Gregory’s music has also been performed in numerous US concerts, festivals and symposia, and was included in the PBS program “The Greg Theisen Quintet (Jazz).”

He served as the music director for many musical theater productions at theaters including, Guthrie Theater (Christmas Carol), Ordway Music Theater (I Won’t Dance; Ruthless!; Into The Woods), Children’s Theatre (The Frog Bride), Nautilus Music-Theater (many Rough Cuts), History Theatre (Cow GirlsMesabi Red), Ritz Theater (Venus by Chan Poling) and Columbia Artist Management (An Evening of Lerner & Loewe; An Evening of Tony Sandler; Porter and Berlin).  Gregory composed and music directed for Charm; Catch Me A “Z”; Raisin’ Cain at the Children’s Theatre. 

He also played keyboards with the Minnesota Orchestra (European Tour played keyboard on Fearful Symmetries by John Adams; Nightmare Before Christmas), Guthrie Theater, and for approximately one hundred (100) Broadway musical productions in the Twin Cities. 

He has studied composition with Dr. William Latham and jazz with Dan Haerle, at the University of North Texas and taught piano performance, jazz, and composition at MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis. He was also the Associate Music Director at Nativity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.

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