David Scheel In Concert


David Scheel's newest show is something of a sea change. While his trademark comedy remains, with a wit often compared to Peter Ustinov or Stephen Fry, IVORY TICKLERS is more of a musical extravaganza, arguably the ultimate in piano tribute shows. For in IVORY TICKLERS Scheel pays tribute to not just one or two great pianists, but to a whole host of celebrity piano players. There is the sparkle and dazzling showmanship (and pianistic skills) of LIBERACE, the melodic Brilliance of GEORGE GERSHWIN, the rag and boogie of WINIFRED ATWELL, the cool charm of DUKE ELLINGTON, the sheer nonsense of VICTOR BORGE, the cuteness of "the André Rieu of the Piano", RICHARD CLAYDERMAN, and many more.

Already trialled here, and in both the UK and the USA the critics have been quick to heap praise: "All over the world they call David Scheel 'the master'. This show proves it." [Broadway World] --- "A master of the keyboard with an incredible facility for parodying musical styles" [Sunday Times, London] --- "An impressive musical repertoire ranging from classics to jazz... lots of fun. Don't miss this!" [Manchester Evening News] --- "What he does on the keyboard would be unbelievable were it not true...Amazing!" [Melbourne International Comedy Festival]

There probably isn't a pianist around who can play in such a diversity of styles, so if you love the Piano, and want a really good laugh into the bargain, this show is for you.

The Art of the Pianist Composer

Keyboards have long been instruments of first choice for musicians, professional and amateur alike. True, there may be 30 violins in a symphony orchestra, but when it comes to solo instruments, the piano is the most popular, apart from the human voice itself.

From the early days of virginals, spinets, clavichords and harpsichords, the piano became pre-eminent toward the end of the 18th century, and has remained so ever since. More music has been written for the piano than for any other instrument, and many of the great composers were pianists who performed concerts exclusively of their own works.

Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and the great 19th century virtuosos such as Liszt and Chopin were all pianist-composers, specialising in their own music. Yet, when Paderewski and Rachmaninoff died in 1941 and 1943 respectively, the pianist-composer effectively died with them.

Today's pianists do not perform their own works. They do what Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Liszt and Chopin did. They perform Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Liszt and Chopin! Why?

DAVID SCHEEL offers a revealing insight into the art of the pianist-composer, and he should know, because he is one of a mere handful of musicians who are keeping that art alive.

David is best known for concerts in which he mercilessly sends up classical music, in programs such as Mad Maestros, A Shorte Hysterical Historie of Musicke, and the ever-popular Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player, which saw him dubbed the "new Victor Borge" very early on in his career. And there will be no shortage of hilarious stories in this musical offering, either.

But The Art of the Pianist-Composer is something of a new venture for David, for it has a serious side to it. He will not only trace the rise and fall of this unique type of performer, with illustrations both from, and in the styles of the great masters, but will also show the audience how a composer's mind works, even going as far as composing pieces on the spot, sometimes with the help of suggestions from the audience itself. ("Even this can be a lot of fun: I once asked the audience to give me an idea for a piece, and a lady called out - "Driving from New York to Boston when 8 months pregnant with twins"...Hmmm...")

And there has been no shortage of praise for David's compositions, starting when he won his first major prize at age 15.

...more follows

""Such a wonderfully entertaining, fun concert. But when it came to his own compositions - wow, they were something else!" [Dean of Faculty of Music, Oklahoma State University]

"A master of the keyboard with an incredible facility for parodying musical styles." [The Times, London]

"His own compositions were simply beautiful" [Wanganui Chronicle, New Zealand]

"David Scheel is a very fine serious pianist and composer, and also an excellent raconteur."[Canberra Times, Australia]

"In the first rank of musical humorists" [Event Magazine, UK]

"The audience fell dead silent as he unveiled one of his own compositions, a piece that wove a mental picture with such majesty and flair that the imagery seemed to leap from each note." [Fort Record, Fort Saskatchewan, Edmonton, Alberta]

Don't miss this unique opportunity to see a performer who is almost single-handedly keeping an entire artform alive, and giving everyone a good laugh into the bargain!

Three hilarious programs making fun of classical music

DON'T SHOOT ME, I'M ONLY THE PIANO PLAYER - The show that made David's reputation in the West End of London and at 3 consecutive Edinburgh Festivals. A brilliant mix of the classics, send-ups of the classics, and topical/social satire. Still going strong after 15+ years, and continuously updated with new material, Don't Shoot Me... features, among other things, a piece by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a piece by Bach, played at the same time, one with the right hand, the other with the left; a popular folk tune played in the styles of Mozart, Rachmaninoff, a Sony Walkman and a blues, delicious comedy routines on anything from corporate sponsorship to supermarket culture, and, of course, David's "comedy classic", his translation of the lyrics of Waltzing Matilda. Don't Shoot Me... saw David being dubbed the new Victor Borge very early on in his career, but pure music lovers will not be short-changed, for, when David starts to play a piece seriously, he actually finishes it!

"He is as funny as any, wittier than most, and, uniquely, a concert pianist of international stature...He stands alone, in a class of his own" BBC Arts Review, London] ~~~~ "A master of the keyboard with an incredible facility for parodying musical styles" [The Times, Critics' Choice, London] ~~~~ "He is a master of improvisation, accents, comedy and downright beautiful music." [Adelaide Advertiser] ~~~~ "A unique combination of classical piano and comedy. The audience was enthralled from start to finish" [CBS TV, USA]

MAD MAESTROS - A CELEBRATION OF MUSICAL ECCENTRICS - created by popular demand after the success of Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player, MAD MAESTROS is a tour-de-force of character acting and piano playing, in which David brings to life 25 of the greatest nut-cases in musical history (and plays their works). Bach, Beethoven, Sir Thomas Beecham, Oscar Levant and others are brought to life, or impersonated, with pinpoint accuracy. In MAD MAESTROS you will:-

- Be invited for drinks with the mad Erik Satie
- Hear a complete Beethoven sonata played in jazz
- Find out why Percy Grainger took a bath with his clothes on
- Discover how Toscanini lost an orchestra in the middle of the desert
- Meet the world's worst opera singer, and the world's worst violinist
- Hear the three tenors sing "Moon River"

This concert will make you laugh a lot, cry a little, and marvel at the beauty of the piano when played by a master.

"He resurrects music's greatest weirdos in a virtuoso performance of narrative and character acting, coupled with remarkable technique and sensitivity on the piano"[Merced Sun-Star, USA] ~~~~ "Scheel's ability to take audience members from hysterics to tears in a matter of minutes, stands in a class of its own....a sheer delight to listen to" [Sydney Morning Herald] ~~~~ "A slick combination of quicksilver comedy with splendid piano playing...distinguished, complex, intelligent and very funny."[Time Out, London]

A Shorte Hysterical Historie of Musicke - this is David's latest offering, which recently received its world premiere in the United States. It takes music from Gregorian chant up to the present day, and hilariously compares the lifestyles of the great composers with our own contemporary living, by imagining how musical geniuses down the ages would cope with modern society, if they could time-travel. What sort of messages would Mozart have on his voicemail, and would Bach, with 20 kids, allow them to use his cell phone? Would Wagner eat junkfood? Amid all this mayhem the musical content is David's most ambitious yet, for instead of playing works by the great masters, all the music is his own, but composed in the styles of those masters. And it sounds authentic  - his recreations of Mozart, Debussy and many others, sound as though they are newly discovered "lost" works by those composers - even down to his delightful exercise in "How not to write a country and western song."             

"A technically brilliant pianist, and a truly mischievously funny person" [Lincoln County News, USA]~~~~ "Aussie leaves 'em rolling in the aisles" [headline, Fort Record, Fort Saskatchewan, Canada, May 2005] ~~~~ "A wonderful mixture of music and wit" [Seattle Weekly, USA]
Technical, infrastructural notes, availability etc.

1. Venue specifications: All 3 shows are flexible, and can be performed in any type of venue; concert hall, community hall, library/gallery space etc. They can be performed in pure concert format, or as a cabaret-style event, i.e. with a dining (or bring-a-basket) component. The latter arrangement works extremely well in rural areas, especially at weekends.

2. Technical needs: A tuned piano (grand or upright - or if not available, a full-sized electric keyboard), microphone (lapel, or standard on a boom stand), sufficient lighting to cover performer & piano with a 2 metre spill either side of piano.

3. Touring party/number of shows etc: Touring party of two, 6 shows (max) per week, all shows run 2 hours, inclusive of a 15-minute interval.4. Fees: Flexible, depending on size/type of venue. By Negotiation. Presenter groups also to provide overnight accommodation.