it’s always a good time for play
“You’ve got a great player here.”
Eric Pan builds multi-sensory playgrounds around music.
Mixing piano, photography, art installation, and immersive storytelling, Eric invites audiences to engage with songs and improvisation through physical exploration.
Imagine going on a walk in the park. In the middle of a grassy field, you discover a colorful phone booth covered in fuzzy balls, built from century-old windows, one skylight propped open. As though you were visiting a gallery, the booth welcomes you to step inside, then listen to music + found-sounds: this is teleportation, or as close to it as anything that exists today.
That’s one way into Travel Poems, Eric’s 2020 solo recording artist debut. The music originated in the rainforests of Costa Rica, a collection of song-postcards composed from stories of people and places. This blossomed a recording tour on pianos across four continents, yielding a 30-track sonic kaleidoscope: solo, duo, and trio performances threaded through found-sound stories also curated from around the world.
Why score music with soundscapes? For the same reason that the phone booth is both transporter & time machine — and why live shows of Travel Poems feature spoken stories woven into concerts. Collaborative improvisation, among virtuoso soloists, and in response to immersive storytelling, allows both listeners and performers to create sound-imagination spaces together.
Starting July 2021, Eric debuts Lullabies of the Pleiades — six concise solo piano pieces transcribed from indigenous Pleiadian songs, each as sung to a young loved one, local to the far constellation. This exoplanetary musicology project aims to amplify previously undocumented music and its connected folklore, with more research findings to come.
Born in Taiwan and reared on-the-go between Taipei, Boulder, and the American Southwest, Eric Pan found his musical footing with the discovery of jazz at the University of California, Santa Cruz. These studies propelled him onto stages with Jeff Hamilton and Roy Hargrove, plus over a decade’s tenure as New York City jazz pianist and composer. Pan’s compositions and improvisations reveal a relentless pursuit of simplicity, craft, and universality.
We already have a way to put emotions in glass bottles — actually more like packed into cannonballs, sizzling to the touch: I can make one with my soul and launch it directly to your soul, using no words at all, only pure feeling and fire. That's what music does.
These emotions can be any kind. Soothing, or painful and cathartic, or jubilant, for example. But the moment of creation, the act of communication, the catapult: these are movements, and they must buzz in their capacity to electrify.
Imagine a universe where we are connected by shimmering beams of light, everyone to everyone. One quirk about this universe is that the beams send emotions between us, one million per minute per pair, clearly and effortlessly. Joy is instantly contagious. A hurtful thought toward another is understood with compassion, seen alongside the place of sadness where it arose. Every feeling triggers infinite empathy, therefore boundless acceptance. (The beams send only the stuff of our souls, not our thoughts — so we still have privacy, interesting conversation, and the ability to prank each other silly.)
Now imagine we already live in this universe except, long ago, we somehow forgot where the beams disappeared off to. But we’ve always kept music with us, because it’s our best way to speak in the old way.
Mar 29 - Orania, Berlin
Dec 4 - KitKatClub, Berlin
Sep 18 - Zur Glücklichen Auster, Berlin
Jun 11 - Klunkerkranich, Berlin
May 20 - Twinpigs, Berlin
May 7 - Nirgendwo, Berlin
Mar 7 - Sir Savigny Hotel, Berlin
Mar 4 - Twinpigs, Berlin
Feb 23 - Rockwood Music Hall, New York, NY
Feb 1 - Rue-B, New York, NY
Dec 19 - Rockwood Music Hall, New York, NY
Sep 21 - Cultural Embassy, New York, NY
Oct 18 - Werkstatt Haus der Statistik, Berlin
Oct 16 - Hat Bar, Berlin
Aug 4 - Viessmann Collaboration Studio, Berlin
Jul 14 - Douglass Studios, Brooklyn, NY
Jun 12 - Delizia, New York, NY
May 12 - Brooklyn Grange Farm, Brooklyn, NY
Apr 27 - Rue-B, New York, NY
Apr 26 - Rue-B, New York, NY
Apr 24 - Delizia, New York, NY
Dec 24 - Pete's Candy Store, Brooklyn, NY
Dec 15 - Mable House Barnes Amphi., Atlanta, GA
Dec 14 - Speakeasy, Columbia, SC
Dec 13 - Fox Music House, Charleston, SC
Dec 12 - Levine Center for The Arts, Charlotte, NC
Dec 11 - Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh, NC
Dec 10 - Harrison Opera House, Norfolk, VA
Dec 8 - Emilio's, Richmond, VA
Dec 7 - Twins, Washington, DC
Dec 6 - Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA
Dec 4 - The Crossroads, New Brunswick, NJ
Nov 12 - Jamboree, Barcelona
Nov 11 - Jazzman, Barcelona
Nov 10 - Jazzman, Barcelona
Nov 2 - Moods Jazz Club, Zurich
Sep 29 - Hat Bar, Berlin
Oct 28 - T Berlin, Berlin
Oct 4 - T Berlin, Berlin
Aug 17 - Delizia, New York, NY
Aug 1 - Delizia, New York, NY