Jon Hays performs during the first recital in the Juneau Piano Series, which Hays organized. Hays said the project was devised as a showcase for piano music and the Juneau Arts & Culture Center’s piano, which was purchased last year.(Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Jon Hays performs during the first recital in the Juneau Piano Series, which Hays organized. Hays said the project was devised as a showcase for piano music and the Juneau Arts & Culture Center’s piano, which was purchased last year.(Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Juneau piano series starts with performance from its organizer

More recitals to come

Jon Hays isn’t just the first performer in the Juneau Piano Series, he’s also its founder and artistic director.

Hays, who grew up in Juneau, said for about a year he worked on putting together the series of recitals that he kicked off with a performance of fantasy pieces by Beethoven, Schumann and Scriabin Friday night at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center.

“Since I am more or less representative to it, I thought I should start it and introduce everyone,” Hays told the Capital City Weekly over coffee before the performance. “It’s kind of a self-created pressure. I created a higher profile concert than I typically play.”

But Hays said some degree of pressure comes with nearly every recital, and the performances are typically rewarding.

“As a musician you spend 98 percent of your time practicing in a room, and a recital is a chance to show why you practice,” Hays said.

Plus, a higher profile is one of the goals of the six-recital series made possible by Arts2 and private donors. Hays said he wants to bring attention to piano music in general and the piano at the JACC in particular.

The Schimmel piano at the JACC was purchased last year for $25,000. The piano was picked by Mary Watson, who also organized the fundraising recitals that paid for it and was in attendance at Hays’ recital.

“I wanted to create a platform to use the piano,” Hays said. “I was there when it first got unboxed at the JACC. I think in Juneau, it has one of the better tones. It’s very friendly, it doesn’t take long to play well with it, and it has a huge dynamic potential.”

Hays’ performance showed off the instrument’s range with pieces that fluctuated in intensity and tempo.

The variety was intentional, Hays said, and his recital was meant to build toward a piece by Alexander Scriabin that would not be immediately familiar to many listeners.

“My program’s not the most familiar repertoire,” Hays said.

And other performers in the series, Nic Temple, Alexander Tutunov, Kyle Farley Robinson and Ioanna Nikou will likely also include some obscure pieces in their recitals.

“I’m hoping to highlight things we don’t typically have in piano recitals, which we don’t have a lot of in Juneau, anyway,” Hays said.

He’s also hopeful that the series will find a foothold in the community and receive enough support to become an annual fixture.

“I need the community to get the word out,” Hays said. “I’m hoping this Juneau Piano Series will keep going for years and years to come. For this year, I’m really hoping enough money will be raised, so there is a second year.”

More to come

Remaining performances in the piano series include Nic Temple on Nov. 16, Alexander Tutunov Jan. 18, Kyle Farley-Robinson Feb. 8, Ioanna Nikou March 22 and a group recital April 19.

All performances are scheduled for 7 p.m.


•Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at 523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @capweekly.


Jon Hays addresses the crowd in the Juneau Arts & Culture Center Friday night during his piano recital.(Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Jon Hays addresses the crowd in the Juneau Arts & Culture Center Friday night during his piano recital.(Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

More in News

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a glance for Monday, Sept. 20

The most recent state and local figures

The author managed to take a grouse despite being deep in thought for a good half hour of his deer hunt. He made jalapeno poppers that night.
Internal dialogue of a hunter (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
I Went to the Woods: The internal dialogue of a hunter

There is always something that comes to mind when I am outside.

Courtesy Photo / Molly Pressler Collection
Japanese-Americans interned in Alaska in World War II are shown in this photo at a camp in New Mexico where they endured the majority of the war.
Research into interned Japanese-Americans in Alaska receives grant support

104 Japanese-Americans were interned from Alaska at the outset of WWII.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, Sept. 17, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a glance for Thursday, Sept. 16

The most recent state and local figures

The Juneau Police Department is seeking more information on a handful of crimes that occurred in Juneau in August. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police seeking information on recent crimes in Juneau

The police need more information if the investigations are to proceed.

Most Read