Composer and pianist Conrad Tao warms-up before his concert in the basement crypt in Harlem's Church of the Intercession, November 5.
AFP / Timothy A. Clary
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Pianist Conrad Tao has played top concert halls from an early age but after the release of his latest album, he chose to perform for a casual crowd in a crypt under a New York church.Tao's goal is to make concerts engaging and fresh – qualities he believes that much of the classical music establishment has ignored – despite its persistent complaints about declining attendance.A 2012 study by the National Endowment for the Arts found a growing decline in U.S. classical attendance, with more than one-third of the audience over age 65 .Qualified as he is to speak about young people in classical music, Tao broaches the topic reluctantly.The album features an original composition by Tao in memory of a late piano teacher, as well as two of David Lang's haunting "memory pieces".Tao said he found inspiration in pop music as it is "not too precious" and had less of the "immaterial babble" he too often saw in classical.
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