Chris Astilla is a pianist and co-founder of CounterClassic, a music & visual ensemble creating original performances that juxtapose classical, jazz and rap artists with dance, projection mapping and electronic music. His performances have ranged from Handel’s solo keyboard suites at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, to arrangements of Tupac and Bach played alongside hip-hop legends The Outlawz, to keyboard-driven videoscapes of Ravel’s “Creatures of the Night.” Chris earned a Doctor of Musical Arts diploma in performance under the mentorship of Vladimir Viardo, winner of the ‘73 Cliburn piano competition. His publication “Between the Staves” explores the creative tasks of performance through a deep dive into the work of Claude Debussy’s Epigraphes Antiques.
During the 202Creates residency Chris is working on an EP that takes elements of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni (plot, melodies, harmonies) and brings it together with the music and musicians of DC, including local rap, jazz, gogo and classical artists. Inspired by the parallels between these previously disconnected art forms, this project blends musical genres to recast a centuries old opera in our modern world, and show the timelessness of this cautionary tale that Mozart originally titled “the immoral man punished.”