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Renowned pianists in concert Sunday

A performance on Sunday, Feb. 21, will give music lovers in Pagosa Country a rare opportunity to hear three superb piano soloists..

The performance will take place at 2 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium.

The performers will be Kathleen Ryan, from Mountainair, N.M.; Lisa Downing, from Denver; and, Lee Bartley, from Mancos, (formerly a resident of Pagosa Springs).

The concert is sponsored by Music Boosters, and a portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the continuing efforts of Music Boosters in the Pagosa Springs area.

All three of these classically-trained artists are composers in their own right. All three have national releases on CDs representing their work. They all are lifelong pianists and are embarking on a tour including performances in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Pagosa Springs.

During the 16 years that Lee Bartley performed nationally with a classical jazz group he met Lisa Downing and often they heard each other perform in different venues in the Denver/Boulder area. Lisa has lived in the Denver area all her life and has actively composed and performed in Denver since 1982. Her recordings are featured on the Internet radio stations: Whisperings, Sky.FM-solo piano radio, Pandora, Calm Radio, and New Age Piano Radio. She also owns Vision Quest Entertainment, a talent agency representing over 1,200 musicians in the Denver/Boulder area.

Lisa has three CDs available for purchase at this concert. Her premier CD, “Think On These Things,” her holiday CD, “Christmas for Two,” and her newest release, “A Delicate Balance.”

Last year Lisa Downing and Lee Bartley realized a dream they always had of performing a solo concert together. Along with another pianist, Sandra Berkley, they performed their premier solo concert in Denver in early 2009.

Following this performance, Lisa Downing introduced Sandra and Lee to Whisperings Solo Piano Radio and its numerous artists. Both Lee and Sandra soon became affiliated with this organization, which encourages a network of solo pianists nationwide to perform together.

Later in 2009 David Nevue (the founder of Whisperings Solo Piano Radio) invited Lee Bartley to participate in a solo piano concert in Mountainair, N.M. The venue was the home of Kathleen Ryan, also a Whisperings solo artist. Kathleen has sought ways to “sing the piano” — that is, to transform the piano into a medium as intimately expressive as the human voice. She has also released three CDs which will be available at the concert. Her first, “A Handful of Quietness,” was featured in the Emmy winning Iowa Public Television special “The Four Seasons.” “The Rebirth of Light” is her second release and has garnered glowing reviews for her probing of traditional Christmas Carols. Her newest release, “Under the Greenwood Tree,” was released in August of 2009.

Lee Bartley is known as the principal composer and keyboardist for the group “Images.”

With “Images” Lee recorded six national releases, among them CDs for both MCA and Capitol Records. He is a graduate of Denver University with a degree and music theory and composition. He will have two CDs available for purchase at this concert. His debut solo piano CD, “Adrift in Time,” and his newest release, “A View From Above.”

The concert will feature three pianists with distinctively different styles. It will be an hour and a half long, with no intermission. The intent of the artists is to allow everyone to sample each of their styles, meet the artists afterwards, purchase any CDs they might wish, and in turn support Music Boosters for their continuing efforts to provide scholarships to young adults in the performing arts.