WTTW producer Dan Andries may have won six Emmys and six Lisagor Awards, but he's also pretty good on the piano. His mother, Chicago metropolitan journalist Dorothy Andries, drove him to piano lessons at the former Music Center of the North Shore (The Music Institute of Chicago) in Winnetka, IL, every Saturday morning. Her commitment to enriching Dan's life with music led to his lifelong appreciation for Chicago's arts scene.
As a journalist specializing in coverage of the performing arts, Dorothy's professional work provided opportunities for Dan to engage with local ensembles. He fondly recalls skipping school to go with his mother to a parade honoring the Chicago Symphony’s return from its 1971 European tour.
“This was the moment in life when I was there; when I was witnessing something that I understood to be at a pinnacle,” he says.
While he was a student at Columbia College Chicago, Dan saw performances by the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Ed Wilkerson that introduced him to the avant-garde capabilities of music.
“I had never seen anything like it [Ed Wilkerson],” Dan says. “It was the first time I saw musicians who were given the freedom to go wild.”
Dan says Chicago supports the things that grow here and are about here.
“The best thing about Chicago, musically, theatrically, in the literature, in the teaching, in the institution, is a kind of self-driven willingness to explore something that nobody else thinks matters, even though it does,” he says. “And to not be locked into trying to find where the new trend is.”
Many of Dan’s favorite works, by Shostakovitch, Steve Reich and Miles Davis, reflect his enthusiasm for independent artistry.
“I like any art where the artist is allowed to happily wreck things. I don’t like the word ‘deconstruction,’ I like wreck,” he says. “I like to wreck the room.”
Listen to the music from the interview:
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