Spring 2012 – Rice University Magazine |
In an intimate Manhattan apartment, Kimball Gallagher ’02 sits at a grand piano in front of a small, informal audience holding champagne flutes. Before launching into Chopin’s First Ballade, he tells the audience about his recent travels. “I just got back from Afghanistan, where I had a great time teaching at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul, ” he said. “The house concert there was a unique experience. It was the first time I ever performed Chopin with six armed guards at the door.”
Looking over at his host, he asked, “You’ve arranged for the armed guards tonight, right?” The audience laughed, and Gallagher played the first notes, leading his listeners into a masterful performance.
Gallagher is currently in the middle of an unusual 88-concert international tour – one stop for each of the 88 piano keys – that has taken him across the United States, Europe and Asia, including Afghanistan, Mongolia, Turkey and Tunisia. Launched at Carnegie Hall in March 2008, the tour is set to gain more momentum through 2012, as he travels back to several of these spots and adds Egypt, Israel and India to his passport. Gallagher plans to complete the tour with a capstone celebration concert back at Carnegie Hall in 2013.