Peter Gach is a pianist of wide-ranging musical interests. His repertoire extends from the complete Well-Tempered Clavier, Vol. II of JS Bach, to contemporary works written especially for him. He is also known for his engaging and informative lecture-recitals.
He holds degrees from the University of Arizona and Indiana University, as well as post-graduate studies at the Warsaw Conservatory in Poland. Fluent in both Polish and French, he has made a lifetime study of the music of Fryderyk Chopin, studying with the editor of the Urtext Edition of the Complete Works of Chopin, the late Jan Ekier. He was the only American student to do so. He has also done extensive research into and performance of the works of XXth century composer Karol Szymanowski, performing at his home in Poland, now a national historical site. He played the first Southern California performance of the composer’s ‘Sinfonia Concertante’ for piano and orchestra with the La Jolla Symphony.
Gach has collaborated with the singer Ann Chase in cabaret evenings featuring the music of Steven Sondheim and Kurt Weill. Composers Madelyn Byrne, Norm Weston, Sherman Storr, Roman Ryterband and Benjamin Krause, among others, have written works premiered by him. Many of these compositions have been recorded on the CD “Fresh Piano” issued by Nova Recordings. He has also issued CDs of the music of Chopin and Scott Joplin.
He is Professor Emeritus at Palomar College, near San Diego, California. Prior to his retirement in 2012, he was Chairperson of the Performing Arts Department at the College (Music, Theater and Dance), overseeing the renovation/expansion of the Performing Arts Complex. He was also designated Artist in Residence in Piano, performing numerous recitals and concerti for the campus. In 2010, the College awarded him its Comet Award for Outstanding Leadership. He has also been awarded First Prize in the “Chopin in the XXIst Century” Competition at the 26th Annual International Catholic Festival of Multi-media and Film in Poland for his video recording of a lecture recital on the Four Ballades of Chopin.
Following his retirement from Palomar College, he embarked on a two-year campaign to raise funds through a series of concerts for the “Peter Gach Steinway” at the College’s new Performing Arts Complex. His sold-out dedicatory recital included a world premiere by composer William C. Bradbury, and works by Chopin.
Gach has returned numerous times to Poland to perform. His most recent concert, in the Podkarpackie region of the country (from which his Grandparents emigrated) featured works of American Composers. He has also appeared in Hong Kong and the Philippines. In the US, he has performed throughout California, as well as Arizona, Indiana, Illinois, New Mexico, Georgia, Hawaii and Texas. He has recently collaborated with the rock band “Dolan Brotherhood” on a new CD. He devotes many of his performances to raising funds for worthy causes. He recently performed a sold-out concert at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, California, raising over $5,000 for their Educational Fund, enabling underprivileged children to experience live music at the Museum.
Other musical activities include a recording with the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) group 23 Degrees, the premiere of Three Pieces for Piano by Benjamin Krause, which he commissioned, and a three-part lecture-recital series at the Museum of Making Music titled “Musical Insights,” drawing on his extensive repertoire to illustrate various aspects of the art of music. Recent appearances include a sold-out performance of Rhapsody in Blue, and a complete performance of the Well Tempered Clavier, Book 2, as part of the ‘Music in the Zendo’ series at the Hidden Valley Zen Center. In the fall of 2017, Gach performed a series of recitals highlighting the music of Scott Joplin, on the centenary of his death.
His recently completed a book, “Practice Makes Perfect: A Handbook for Musicians at Work,” is available on Amazon.
In April, Gach will return to the Hidden Valley Zen Center for a concert of music by Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Szymanowski and Ives.