Haskell Small has found a solution to one problem that plagues contemporary composers--getting his music performed. Saturday afternoon in the Terrace Theater, he will give the world premiere of his own Third Piano Sonata.
He will also play the work of two other composer-performers--Domenico Scarlatti and Franz Liszt--but Small's music will play a large part; besides the premiere, he will play his own "Three Impressions" and "Introduction and Fugue."
When he is not busy as a classical composer and performer, Small also composes and plays jazz, rock and blues. "I have been playing in rock bands since I was 10 or 11," he says, "and I didn't begin to study piano seriously until I was 18. I still sit in on an occasional gig for kicks." His main instrument in rock is organ, but he says, "I also dabble in guitar and drums. I still like rock music, but a distaste for the rock scene--drugs and all that--finally made me look into classical performance as a way of life."
While he builds his career as a performer, Small finds that other pianists are beginning to be interested in his music. "One thing they like," he says, "is the idea of piano music written by someone who is a pianist; we feel that a lot of people composing today don't really understand the piano. One problem is that most pianists don't seem interested in doing something that I can do better. I'm not sure how I would feel if I heard someone else playing my music better than I do."