Colleen Adent is a classically trained, improvisationally minded pianist. She is a freelance musician, with over 35 years
experience as a performer, composer, arranger, and teacher. As one of the Pacific Northwest’s accomplished pianists,
the uniqueness of Colleen’s artistry lies in her ability to improvise as well as perform as a classical musician.
These two disciplines are often viewed as two separate worlds, but Colleen lives comfortably in both places,
embracing the strengths of each musical world to create a fresh, dynamic, engaging listening experience. Whether
playing solo or collaboratively, sacred or secular, from the concert hall to an intimate home setting, Colleen’s warm
personality and skillful playing naturally invite the listener to join her in embracing the moment.
Colleen’s formal musical training began at the age of four, after the discovery that she had perfect pitch and the ability to play by ear. She received a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Biola University, where she was twice named Outstanding Pianist of the Year. She has studied with:
Harold Gray, Artistic Director of Portland Piano International
Lina Baranov of Moscow Conservatory
Cathy Kautsky of Lawrence University
Colleen has performed with Sapporo Philharmonic Orchestra, Professional Christian Wind Ensemble and the Newport Symphony, under the direction of Norman Leyden. She has also appeared as a guest soloist with Oregon Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Newport Symphony, Jewish Symphony Orchestra, and with the Westwood Wind Quintet. Colleen has enjoyed collaborating with both locally and internationally known artists such as classical saxophonist Harvey Pittel, Robert Hale of the New York Metropolitan Opera and Julie Davies of Staatstheater Darmstadof. She recently performed at the Interharmony Music Festival in Arcidosso, Italy as well as with the Arianna String Quartet. She also performs regularly on the Ten Grands shows with Michael Allen Harrison, and has created several arrangements for the show as well. In June of 2016, Colleen was invited to compete in the Van Cliburn International Amateur Competition and advanced to the quarter finals.
Colleen has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with John & Mary Giger, serving as accompanist and arranger for nearly 30 years. She has performed extensively with them throughout the country, and can be heard on several of their recordings.
Accompanying various vocal and choral groups, as well as solo appearances, has taken her throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.
While trained classically, Colleen’s upbringing in the church granted many opportunities for her to develop a wide range of keyboard skill, versatility and flexibility. She has worked as a staff pianist at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, and has played for numerous weddings, funerals, home parties and church functions, creating spontaneous, “on the spot arrangements” at the request of her audience. As a soloist or as part of a band/ensemble, she is quick to adapt to various musical settings and needs, and is very comfortable with a wide range of musical style, whether planned or spontaneous.
Colleen is also a sought-after arranger. She has published a collection of hymn arrangements for solo piano with Fred Bock Music Co, along with choral pieces and works for vocal duet. Over the years she has been commissioned by well-known artists such as John and Mary Giger, Robert Hale, William Harness, Janice Johnson and Jill Timmons to arrange for voice and piano, and has been commissioned to write several choral arrangements as well. She has experience writing for both vocal and instrumental ensembles and has had several of her arrangements transcribed by other arrangers for use with string and woodwind ensembles.
It’s not just that Colleen improvises brilliantly, it’s that she turns it into a game, requesting a tune from the audience then specifically asking kids and young adults to pick any letter from A thru G and she’ll build an improv on the chosen tune on those chord structures. I’ve watched as these squealing delighted kids threw curve balls at her that she turned into home runs every time!
I have heard her in concert, when she requests five pitches from the audience, then “on the spot/in the moment” she creates an arrangement on a piece, as an example, “Oh Shenandoah.” She did so as if one of the master composers had written it.