A profile of pianist Henry Kramer, winner of a 2019 Avery Fisher Career Grant Award. Originally from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Kramer is an insightful soloist who began playing at the age of 11. Since then, he graduated from Juilliard and earned a doctorate in Musical Arts from Yale. A passionate educator, Kramer currently teaches at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia.

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GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO NYC ARTS.

I'M PAULA ZAHN AT THE TISH STUDIOS AT LINCOLN CENTER.

THE CEREMONY FOR THIS YEAR'S AVERY FISCHER CAREER GRANT AWARDS TOOK PLACE IN MARCH AT THE JEROME L. GREEN PERFORMANCE SPACE AT WQXR.

THESE INDIVIDUAL GRANTS OF $25,000 GIVE PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE AND RECOGNITION TO TALENTED INSTRUMENTALISTS WHO HAVE GREAT POTENTIAL FOR SOLO CAREERS.

THIS YEAR THERE WERE FOUR RECIPIENTS.

VIOLINIST ANGELA ZHANG YU.

PIANO DUO CHRISTINA AND MICHELE NAUGHTEN.

THE JACK QUARTET.

AND PIANIST HENRY CRAMER.

ORIGINALLY FROM CAPE ELIZABETH MAINE, HENRY CRAMER IS AN INSIGHTFUL SOLOIST WHO BEGAN PLAYING AT THE AGE OF 11.

SINCE THEN, HE GRADUATED FROM JULIARD AND EARNED A DOCTORATE IN ART FROM YALE.

A PASSIONAL EDUCATOR, CRAMER CURRENTLY TEACHES AT COLUMBUS STATE UNIVERSITY IN COLUMBUS, GEORGIA.

RECEIVING THIS AVERY FISCHER CAREER GRANT IS ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT YOU DREAM OF.

ONE OF THE DIFFICULT THINGS OF BEING A CLASSICAL MUSICIAN IS YOU OBVIOUSLY NEED AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF INTERNAL STRENGTH AND BELIEF THAT YOU DESERVE TO BE HEARD.

BUT YOU ALSO NEED PEOPLE TO RECOGNIZE AND CONFIRM THAT.

BEYOND THE FINANCIAL SUPPORT, WHICH IS OBVIOUSLY INCREDIBLE, JUST THE TITLE AND THE RECOGNITION MAKES ME FEEL LIKE I CAN REALLY BELIEVE IN MYSELF, AND IT TRULY MOTIVATES ME TO BE THE BEST I CAN.

♪ ♪ ♪ I WANT TO PRESENT SOMETHING THAT IS TRUEá-- I PLAY A LOT OF FRENCH MUSIC, CHOPIN.

I WANTED TO PLAY VARIETY.

CHOPIN CAME TO MIND.

A FRIEND OF MINE SUGGESTED THE C-SHARP MINOR.

A BIT RISKY TO START WITH.

NOT AN EASY PIECE.

IT'S FLUTTERING FIGUREATION AND FOLLOWED BY THE CIRCLE MELODY.

♪ ♪ ♪ THE PIECE BY RAMON THAT I PLAYED, THE TITLE TRANSLATES TO 'THE BIRD'S CONVERSATION' OR 'THE BIRD'S CHATTER.'

HE EVOKES THIS IN THE PIANO WITH CONSTANT TRILLS.

THE HANDS ARE TOGETHER AND STAGGERED.

SO YOU CAN IMAGINE TWO BIRDS IN CONVERSATION WITH ONE ANOTHER.

♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ THE RAMON SPECIFICALLY IS VERY CHALLENGING BECAUSE TECHNICALLY THE TRILLS ARE VERY FLUID, VERY FAST, AND THEY HAPPEN SO RAPIDLY.

♪ ♪ AND I THINK ALSO TO CAPTURE THE RIGHT SOUND, THERE IS A TENDERNESS, I THINK, IN THE SOUND AND A BIT OF SADNESS IN E MINOR.

AND IT SHOULDN'T SOUND TOO POINTED.

♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ RAMON, A GREAT PAIRING.

OBVIOUSLY WC DOES SO MUCH IN MUSIC, PIANO MUSIC SPECIFICALLY, THAT LOOKS BACK AT THE FRENCH, EARLY BAROQUE ALSO CHOPIN.

I FELT THE PIECES SPOKE TO ONE ANOTHER.

IT TRANSLATES TO THE JOYOUS ISLAND, APPARENTLY WAS INSPIRED BY A PAINTING BY WATEAU, 18th CENTURY FRENCH PAINTER.

CALLED EMBARKATION, A MYTHICAL ISLAND OF JOYOUSNESS AND REVELRY.

BUT WC IS ALL ABOUT THE ANTICIPATION OF ARRIVAL.

THE WHOLE PIECE IS GOING TOWARD SOMETHING, AND OBVIOUSLY THERE'S THE EVOKEATION OF WATER AND FLOATING IN THE SECOND PIECE SPECIFICALLY.

♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ANOTHER THING IS AROUND THE TIME, I THINK 1904, HE HAD HE ELOPED AND MARRIED.

HE HAD A JOYOUS STATE HIMSELF.

I THINK IT'S SUCH A FANTASTIC PIECE.

THE ARRIVAL OF THE CENTRAL THEME AT THE END AFTER ALL OF THIS ANTICIPATION IS SO SATISFYING.

IT JUST GETS MORE AND MORE EXCITED UNTIL IT FINALLY EXPLODES AT THE END WITH THIS LAST NOTE ON THE KEY PART.

♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [ APPLAUSE ]