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From The Top
Just Say Yes –Timothy Andres on Composing, Piano, and Being a Young Musician
At just 25 years old, Timothy Andres is an accomplished Brooklyn, NY pianist and composer with a debut CD and a Los Angeles Philharmonic performance under his belt. Growing up in rural Connecticut, music wasn't only the only passion of Timothy (Timo) Andres. He cultivated diverse interests for nature, graphic arts, technology, cooking, and photography, but the piano, and later composing, was where he really found his feet.

Timo first studied composition in high school with Eric Ewazen at Juilliard's Pre-College division. When he appeared on From the Top in Rockport, Maine in 2003 at age 17, he was already both an accomplished pianist and composer. On the show Timo performed Ravel's Tocatta from Tombeau de Couperin and then, as an encore, he played The Tango Movement from his own composition, called Five Piano Pieces.

Since then Timo has earned both a bachelor's and master's degrees from Yale University. During his senior year at Yale, he met conductor John Adams and in December of 2007, Adams requested that Timo compose a piece for the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Green Umbrella Series.

"It was really an amazing thing to be asked, especially for a composer in school," says Timo.

Despite being slightly intimidated by this opportunity, as it was for an entire chamber orchestra instead of just a piano, Timo flew to LA and worked alongside John Adams and fellow composer Peyton McDonald.

Timo remembers, "The thing that struck me about the experience was how gracious everyone there was. We were made to feel really welcome and important and John took the time to meet with us and to go over what worked, what didn't work, and what we needed to work on."

In May 2010 Timo's debut album Shy and Mighty was released on Nonesuch. It's comprised of 10 interrelated pieces for two pianos, performed by Timo and co-pianist David Kaplan. "I'd always really loved the format of two pianos and piano four hands. I like the social, back-and-forth, conversational medium."

The inspiration for this CD began during his sophomore year at Yale when he knew he wanted to do some big two piano project. After it's release, Shy and Mighty became an instant success, with Alex Ross writing in the New Yorker that "the music achieves an unhurried grandeur that has rarely been felt in American music since John Adams came on the scene… more mighty than shy, [Andres] sounds like himself."

At the bottom of all this success is Timo's can-do attitude: "[A while ago] I made the decision to say "yes" to whatever came my way...writing, performing, and most of the time I think that's really a good decision, especially for someone my age. You don't want to impose restrictions on yourself."