The combination of a pianist and fiddle player in concert is not too unusual. What is unusual is the music the duo of Pianafiddle offers.
Is it bluegrass? Is it jazz? Is it classical, old-time, ragtime, blues, Celtic or klezmer?
With Pianafiddle, the answer is an affirmative.
“If we like it, we play it,” says pianist Lynn Wright.
He and violinist/fiddler Adam DeGraff both have a healthy appreciation for good music, so no matter the style, their programs transcend musical genre.
The Tonto Community Concert Association brings Pianafiddle to Payson Thursday, Nov. 20. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Payson High School auditorium.
Expect the duo to begin with a familiar tune and improvise as they go, blending the traditional, the unwritten, and the spontaneous that get toes tapping and hands clapping.
How these two very different musicians ended up together in the first place is a mystery, even to them.
Wright has enjoyed a long musical career as a jazz and ragtime pianist, including a 10-year stint as the resident ragtime pianist at the world-famous Silver Dollar Saloon in Jackson, Wyo.
DeGraff is a classically trained orchestral violinist and chamber musician, having served most recently a five-season tenure with The Richmond Symphony Orchestra in Virginia.
Their separate paths led them both to West Virginia in 2003, where each recognized in the other a complementary talent: soulful, spontaneous, improvisational piano playing by Wright, technically superb and emotionally powerful violin playing by DeGraff.
With countless performances, three CDs, and a full-length concert DVD to their credit, Pianafiddle continues to engross fans with traditionally grounded, yet spontaneous, musical creations that unfold onstage, which are different every time.
The duo loves performing, improvising and playing off one another. They both believe that musical boundaries are meant to be crossed.
As a special service to the youth of the community, the TCCA is working with Payson schools to sponsor a special “Student Outreach Program” performance by Pianafiddle just for elementary students.
Celebrating its 30th season, the Tonto Community Concert Association is a nonprofit organization. The all-volunteer group also supports other performing arts activities in the region. The concerts feature artists of national and international acclaim. Season ticket subscriptions are $80 and single concert tickets are $30 for local residents. For subscriptions or other information, call (928) 474-6115.
Future concerts in the 2008-09 season are as follows:
• Pavlo, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 14
• Wood’s Tea Company, 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 12
• The Duttons, 7 p.m., Monday, March 2
• American Jukebox, 2:30 p.m., Sunday, March 22
• Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues, 2:30 p.m., Sunday, May 10
All performances and dates subject to change.