DENVILLE, NJ -- Around Denville and other small towns, there are music concerts where local bands either play their own original songs or covers of classical, rock, swing and British invasion. On Feb. 29, township residents got to experience some new sounds at the Denville Community Church.

The show was part of the Classic Keys Concert Series, which has featured top musicians from New York City. Their goal has been to bring greater appreciation and understanding to classical music, such as Bach, Stravinsky, Mozart and Beethoven. The concert series was founded by artistic director and classically-trained pianist Daniel Colalillo.

“It’s the third concert, and I’m feeling fantastic,” said Colalillo.

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“Classic Keys is an exciting and fine program. And it’s diverse with great pieces that I love to play and share with people. Here, you get to bring the best people to the best performances. I’m happy to share it with a very receptive audience.”

Colalillo himself is aDenville native and a 2008 graduate of Morris Knolls High School. Before becoming a Manhattan-based classical pianist, he received his master’s in music from Mannes Conservatory: The New School for Music in New York City.

Colalillo is known for delivering strong, commanding performances and unique interpretations with a depth of musical integrity. He has been lauded by The New York Times and given solo recitals at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, Bargemusic, Symphony Space, Columbia University and Princeton University. He has performed in various cities: Philadelphia, San Francisco, Nashville, Toronto and Montreal, among others.

Furthermore, Colalillo is a recording artist who released his debut album, Mostly Scriabin, in 2017.

During the concert, audience members got to hear classic pieces by famous composers, such as J.S. Bach, Anton Webern, Beethoven, Schumann and Prokofiev. For this concert, Colalillo was accompanied by professional cellist Lawrence DiBello.

“I feel great being here in Denville to play,” said DiBello, who is in his fourth year of doctoral studies at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, under the tutelage of Peter Stumpf, serving as associate instructor of cello.

“It’s a pleasure to perform anywhere where anyone will listen. I was really happy to hear when Daniel was organizing this series and was asked to put together a program.”

DiBello received his master's at the Manhattan School of Music, under Clive Greensmith and David Geber, and his bachelor's from SUNY Purchase College with Julia Lichten. Since then, he has participated in festivals, including the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Beethoven Institute, and the Orford Music Academy’s Piano Trio Workshop with the Gryphon Trio.

At Jacobs, DiBello’s quartet has given several performances on the Afternoon Concert Series at the Wylie House Museum, in Bloomington, Indiana. Also, at Jacobs, DiBello has performed the third and fourth String Quartets of Arnold Schoenberg with professors Jorja Fleezanis and Stephen Wyrczynski as a part of their project presenting the works of the second Viennese masters.

Other projects by DiBello include recording the Beethoven Piano Quartet for Naxos (to be released this fall), as well as previously unrecorded sketches by Beethoven (to be released on the same label). He also has given performances at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and in the spring of 2018, performed the Barber Cello Concerto with the Indiana University Symphony Orchestra after winning the Indiana University Concerto Competition.

Audience members, numbering about 50, felt like they were at one of those concerts, instead of inside a church within their hometown.

“Normally, I go to a lot of concerts at festivals where I hear modern rock music,” said Rockaway Township resident Sam Idell.

“This classic music concert makes me feel like I’m somewhere else and that my community has so much more to offer that I don’t know about.”

The Classic Keys Concert Series intends to hold its season finale on April 25 at 7 p.m., again at the Denville Community Church. Colalillo will be joined by clarinetist and NYU professor Christopher Bush and cellist Molly Aronson, all of whom will be bringing the classic sounds of Beethoven and Brahms, among others.


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