One of his generation’s extraordinary talents, Dan Tepfer has earned an international reputation as a pianist-composer of wide-ranging ambition. Tepfer has performed around the world with some of the leading lights in jazz and classical music; he has also crafted a discography striking for its breadth and depth, encompassing probing solo improvisation and intimate duets, as well as trio albums rich in their rhythmic verve, melodic allure and the leader’s keen-eared taste in songs no matter the genre. The New York Times has said about Tepfer: “He has a wide-open sensibility, as tuned into Bach and Björk as to Monk and Wayne Shorter.”
Tepfer earned global acclaim for his Sunnyside album Goldberg Variations / Variations of 2011, a disc that sees him performing J.S. Bach’s masterpiece as well as improvising upon it — to “elegant, thoughtful and thrilling” effect, said New York magazine. The pianist’s latest trio disc, Eleven Cages (Sunnyside, 2017), features him ranging alongside bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Nate Wood from hook-heavy originals to a Gershwin standard to a cover of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies”. The UK’s Jazzwise described the album as “one of the very best essays in contemporary piano-trio jazz you’ll hear.” Decade (Verve, 2018) — Tepfer’s second duo release with late saxophone icon Lee Konitz — was praised by DownBeat for “its air of life-affirming creativity, with virtually every gesture speaking to the present rather than the past.” Tepfer’s newest album, Natural Machines, stands as one of his most ingeniously forward-minded yet. This solo project five years in the making finds him exploring in real time — via the Yamaha Disklavier — the intersection between science and art, between coding and improvisation, between digital algorithms and the rhythms of the heart.
In recent years, Tepfer has collaborated in duo events not only with Konitz but with vocal sensation Cécile McLorin Salvant, alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, multi-reed player Ben Wendel and drummer Leon Parker. That’s not to mention touring in the bands of such divergent artists as sax titan Pharoah Sanders and soprano star Renée Fleming, as well as performing his classical piano quintet Solar Spiral alongside the Avalon String Quartet and the Escher String Quartet. He has played Bach concertos in tandem with lauded classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein and worked with avant-garde choreographer María Muñoz. In August 2019 Tepfer gave the world premiere of a new project, "Inventions / Reinventions", at Chicago's Ravinia Festival.