John Adams’ “I Still Play”: Jeremy Denk

Pianist Jeremy Denk describes John Adams’ I Still Play as “a piece about a long friendship, and about connection and farewell.”

Adams composed the fleeting set of variations for solo piano in 2017 to commemorate the retirement of Robert Hurwitz, the longtime president of Nonesuch Records. The piece, which the composer has characterized as “Satie meets Bill Evans,” unfolds over a restless chromatic bass line as a dreamy, haunting waltz. Fragments from Bach’s Goldberg Variations emerge and dissipate.

Adams explained that the inspiration for the title came from an overheard conversation:

I’d organized a concert in [Robert’s] honor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and asked about 10 of the composers he’d worked with to write short pieces. I’d overheard someone talking to Bob – they said, ‘I didn’t know you played the piano.’ And Bob said ‘Yes, I still play.’ So I called my piece ‘I Still Play.’

Here is Jeremy Denk’s recording:


  • Adams: I Still Play, Jeremy Denk Amazon

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About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

2 thoughts on “John Adams’ “I Still Play”: Jeremy Denk”

  1. I love Jeremy Denk’s work – from the Goldbergs to Ligeti’s etudes, Denk is a consummate performer and classical piano spokesperson. I only wish I could also say “I still play.” Hardly at all is my answer. But I *listen* with passionate intensity.


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