Holly Bowling is a classically trained pianist who began playing piano at the age of five. However, there is one major distinction that separates her from other similarly studied musicians: her devotion to the legendary rock band Phish. Having attended over three hundred shows by the quartet based in Burlington, Vermont, Bowling became obsessed with their famous rendition of “Tweezer,” preformed at a concert in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, on July 31, 2013. It led her to transcribe this thirty-seven-minute improvisational masterpiece note-for-note and arrange it for solo piano. The process, both painstaking and fulfilling, inspired her to transform other Phish songs and well-known live jams into solo piano interpretations.
Bowling’s breathtaking interpretations of Phish classics, such as “It’s Ice,” “The Squirming Coil,” and “Harry Hood,” serve not only as a tribute to the modern-day kings of jam but also stand on their own as fully developed classical pieces. The past year has seen Bowling expand her repertoire into the realm of the Grateful Dead, including an “Eyes of the World” based on the band’s spectacular exploratory performance on June 18, 1974, at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. Using classical piano technique to reinterpret these jam band luminaries, Bowling’s live performances infuse new with old, tradition with surreal, and creates a concert experience like nothing else in the music world.