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PECO Free First Sunday Family Day: Julian Hartwell

Julian Hartwell 001

PECO Free First Sunday Family Day: Julian Hartwell

July 7th, 1pm & 3pm

Julian Hartwell at 1pm & Bernard Samuel at 3pm

The Barnes Foundation

2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy

Philadelphia, PA 19130

FOR MORE INFO

 

July 7th is the first Sunday of the month, which means free admission at The Barnes. Visitors have access to the collection, plus all family activities and entertainment. As part of this FREE family-friendly, day of activity at The Barnes, the Philadelphia Jazz Project is excited to present two, solo pianists, Julian Hartwell and Bernard Samuel, who will share exquisite keyboard explorations filled with history, romance and humor.

 

Julian Hartwell is a sought-after pianist, composer, bandleader, and educator based in Philadelphia, PA. Originally hailing from Birmingham, AL, his family made the move north to Philly when Julian was a ripe twelve years old. Over the past 15 years, he has performed throughout a wide swath of the Delaware Valley and Philly area – from jazz clubs to rock venues, music ministry to high-class cocktail hours, weddings, jam sessions, and everything in between. Attending University of the Arts for jazz performance and later, finishing his degree at Temple University, he now finds himself as an adjunct professor teaching piano and theory classes at his alma mater. Since 2013, Julian has been leading his own group, The Julian Hartwell Project, providing an ever-evolving platform for his growing repertoire of 30+ original compositions and arrangements to date and finding his voice not only as a pianist but a composer as well. and in  general just living, breathing, and making music the majority of his waking hours.


At the PECO Free First Sunday Family Day, Julian Hartwell will perform solo piano interpretations from the vast songbook of Cole Porter with an emphasis on the specifically more obscure repertoire from the many Broadway shows he composed for in the heyday of this American music called jazz.

 

PJP spoke with Julian Hartwell about his music and the upcoming performance at The Barnes Foundation.

 

PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical background?


Julian Hartwell: I've been playing piano since i was eleven years old, so going on nineteen years. I was lucky that my first teacher lived literally down my street (in the suburb of Birmingham, AL where I'm from), a family friend by the name of Jim Walbert who was a prominent pianist around town and exceedingly versatile in his repertoire. He could do everything from the Great American Songbook, to popular themes from musicals and TV, classical, Rhapsody in Blue...but he got me started on jazz right away. He really trained my ear, but it took me to get to Philly years later to even understand the theory behind what I was already playing and hearing. One thing led to another and I studied under some great local teachers here like Father John D'Amico and Tom Lawton, and that trajectory led me to studying jazz performance at UArts, Temple University, and of course, my (continuing) education at sessions and gigs all throughout this city.

 

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PJP: What is your upcoming solo performance at the Barnes Foundation all about?

 

Julian Hartwell: For this performance I'm digging deeper into the vast songbook of one of my favorites, Cole Porter. As someone who's been primarily focused on composing original music, it's great to get an opportunity to delve into the Great American Songbook and pick apart what makes some of his music so timeless and ripe for continued interpretation. I'm excited to see how I can make some of that vast repertoire my own, adding my personal voice/influences/touch to the task. It's likely I'll sneak a few of my own compositions into the program as well, for variety and ya know, just because.


PJP: What is the challenge of performing solo?

 

Julian Hartwell: Phew. It's all YOU...no safety net, no bandmates to rely on for picking up any slack. It's freeing, exhilarating, and frightening all at the same time. I think the greatest challenge in it is staying completely present and not falling back on any old familiar "tricks" or predictable devices to get you through. And responding to yourself in an authentic way - your energy and ideas in the moment as they come, and knowing how to dialogue with them so as to keep the momentum of the music moving forward, for both you and the audience.


PJP: When participating in this project, what advice would you give the audience to assist with greater understanding and enjoyment?

 

Julian Hartwell 003Julian Hartwell: That while I'm surely coming in prepared..I'm also going in as open and receptive to the mood of the moment as they are hopefully, too. I'd like them to know I'm not just going for the cocktail piano route on this one. Forms and melodies may be more open and subject to fluidity than normal...I might start in one place and end up somewhere completely different. That's part of the fun of a solo performance after all. I ask that they just show up willing to come along for the ride, leaving their preconceptions at the door ;)  


PJP: Why Jazz? When you could be doing anything else, why Jazz?

 

Julian Hartwell: Jazz is so uniquely individual yet universal. To me its language and possibilities for self-expression are truly limitless. It allows for a sense of freedom and authentic response to the present moment that I find unparalleled in any other (musical) art form. Not to mention possibilities for communication with other musicians, when in a group context. I always say piano, and jazz specifically, found me. I'm not sure I could be doing anything else...

 

Connect With Julian Hartwell via his WEBSITE or INSTAGRAM or FACEBOOK

 

PECO Free First Sunday Family Day: Julian Hartwell

July 7th, 1pm & 3pm

Julian Hartwell at 1pm & Bernard Samuel at 3pm

The Barnes Foundation

2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy

Philadelphia, PA 19130

FOR MORE INFO

 

 

Check Out Julian Hartwell In Action In These Videos

 

 

 

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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.

 

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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.