John La Montaine (b. 1920) has devoted his life to music composition. His major works total 62 opus numbers, including operas, concertos, songs, chamber music, and orchestral works as well as eleven compositions for solo piano. Among his composition teachers were Nadia Boulanger and Howard Hanson, and his first piano concerto was awarded the 1959 Pulitzer Prize for Music. He was active also as a concert soloist and collaborative pianist, appearing on prestigious concert series and with first-rank orchestras. Despite his obvious success, La Montaine did not seek publicity. As a result, the majority of his music is not widely known. La Montaine's eleven compositions for solo piano are written in a wide variety of styles, from tonal to serial, with many based on a tonal center, and they range in difficulty from the easiest beginner pieces to challenging concert works. His elementary works include a set of easy canons and many small pieces written for an early piano method. An imaginative set of children's pieces and a small virtuoso étude challenge the intermediate pianist. A diverse range of works for the advanced pianist includes a serious sonata, a lively toccata, several contrapuntal works, lilting dance pieces, and unique smaller pieces. The recording included with this research project is the first to present La Montaine's complete works for solo piano. The composer's own recordings of many of his works are difficult to obtain, and only a few have been recorded commercially. While some of his works remain in publishers' catalogs, those which are out-of-print can be obtained via interlibrary loan. This recording and discussion of La Montaine's solo piano pieces are intended to make his work better known.
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