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Drake Riley
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play hi-fi  Chopin Military Polonaise (File 1 of 2)
I am a classical pianist disguised as a "cocktail" pianist. I have been playing the bar, restaurant and private-party scene for over 30 years. But, my heart and soul is in the "classics": Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev...and, more recently, opera: Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini. It is all great for listening. My audiences in the bars love hearing a little Verdi while sipping on a beer!

Why this name?
I was born with it.
Do you play live?
I have been playing at the Clarion Townhouse Hotel in Columbia, South Carolina since 1981. I have played for some celebrity guests at the hotel such as Pete Townsend, Rick James, Marcus Roberts, Chris Zorich, Tony Rice, the late-great coach Frank McGuire, The Three Mo' Tenors. But, my most special moments are playing for the "regulars" who come in week after week and never seem to get tired of me (although I get tired of myself at times!).
How, do you think, does the internet (or mp3) change the music industry?
It creates new fans of different types of music. I have been introduced to artists that I never even heard of before finding them on the "net".
Would you sign a record contract with a major label?
Probably, if the deal was attractive enough. It doesn't hurt to be recognized by the "establishment".
Your influences?
Composers: Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt
Pianists: Josef Hofmann, Igace Paderewski, Horowitz, Van Cliburn, Artur Rubinstein
Favorite spot?
NYC
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