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Boulder musician finds new way to share his music — from under the piano

Boulder Grammy-winning pianist Peter Kater is doing something unique with what he calls personal piano readings.

BOULDER, Colo. — Boulder pianist Peter Kater has had an amazing 40-year career.

During that time, he's had more than 60 albums and CDs, performed around the world, collaborated with some of the biggest stars in the country, wrote soundtracks for movies and documentaries, and won two Grammys.

Something he does in his Boulder home makes him even more unique.

I recently visited to talk to Peter about his new CD, called Rapture. Like all of his music, it's part classical, part jazz, part new age and all from the heart.

We talked about what it was like to finally win a Grammy, after 13 nominations.

"The 13th nomination, I'm sitting there thinking I'm probably not going to win, right?" he said. "And when they called my name, it was honestly amazing. I almost went into a kind of shock."

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After winning a Grammy, and then winning another two years later, Kater decided to try something he'd never done before.

He started hosting in-home concerts, for up to 30 people. He said that one night, some people started getting closer and closer to the piano and he just kept playing. Then someone crawled under it. Then a couple of people did. He kept on playing, and then it became a thing.

Now he invites people to lie under his piano, not only during small shows but also individually at his house by appointment. He talks to them about what they are going through, then improvises music as a sort of soundtrack to their lives. He records it and gives it to them. He calls it personal piano readings.

"I do attract a lot of people who are struggling with something,' he said. "Health issues or emotional issues, or just want some sort of affirmation for their lives. Who they are, some reflection musically."

The readings are a hit. He said that he's done hundreds of them.

What does music sound like under a grand piano? He told me to get under there and find out. The sound is difficult to describe. It's loud, but it sounds so good. You feel the vibration coming down from the piano and up through the floor.

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Kater called it a sound bath. Of course, his talent and artistry are magnified. His love of music reverberates through his piano, whether he's playing for thousands of people in a concert hall, or for a lowly reporter lying under his piano. It's unforgettable.

For more information on Peter's concert schedule, CD's, or piano readings, check out his website.

Credit: Gary Shapiro

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