Intermezzo Sunday Concert with Jost Van Dyke

by Ed Lein // Music Librarian, Jacksonville Public Library
For its Intermezzo Sunday Concert on June 10, Jacksonville Public Library will host pianist Jost Van Dyke, who will perform music by Chopin, Bach, Albéniz, and Brahms. A student of Edward Kilenyi, Thaddeus Sadlowski, Regina Shamvilli and Daniell Revenaugh, Mr. Van Dyke’s concert career was interrupted in the early 1990s by the onset of focal dystonia, a muscular condition that has hindered or ended the careers of many distinguished musicians. This performance marks not only the Jacksonville debut of Jost Van Dyke, but his first public recital in nearly two decades.
Musician and photographer Jost Van Dyke is actively involved in local and national arts communities. At the same time he is one of the Florida Panhandle’s most popular fitness gurus, as a certified Pilates instructor at multiple fitness centers in Tallahassee. A concert pianist by training, Mr. Van Dyke’s path to   — and back to — the recital hall has not been an easy one, but it has led him through many varied and rewarding endeavors.
Jost was born with Poland’s Syndrome, manifested as an underdeveloped arm and the absence of chest muscles on his right side. Piano lessons were suggested as therapy, and not only did the lessons help with the continuing development of his arm, they unlocked an abiding talent that otherwise might have gone undiscovered. Brought to the attention of legendary pianist Edward Kilenyi (1910-2000), the prodigious youth was invited to join Kilenyi’s studio at Florida State University while Jost was still in high school.
While completing his Piano Performance degree under Kilenyi, Mr. Van Dyke (then billed as Joseph Dykes) served as music director for a number of high-profile productions in the FSU School of Theatre. In 1984, this led him to New York City as Artist in Residence and Musical Director in the Musical Theatre Department at Marymount Manhattan College. He continued his own studies as well, working with concert pianists Thaddeus Sadlowski, Regina Shamvilli and Daniell Revenaugh, and Mr. Van Dyke garnered a following as a solo recitalist, beginning with his 1985 Manhattan debut at Marymount. Upon completing his residency in 1990, he accepted a position with the National Dance Institute. During his time in New York, he concurrently became active in the music publishing industry, with consecutive positions at Carl Fischer Music, International Music Co. & Bourne Music, and MCA/Universal Music.
In the early 1990s, he faced a new challenge with the onset of focal dystonia of the right hand. The condition causes uncontrollable muscle spasms, and it has hindered or ended the careers of many distinguished musicians, including Leon Fleisher and Keith Emerson, and it may have contributed to Glenn Gould’s retreat from the concert stage into the recording studio. Undefeated, Mr. Van Dyke accepted the challenge as an opportunity to explore fine art photography, leading to solo and group exhibitions in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Savannah. His photographic work is represented in the permanent collection of the Bergen Gallery at Savannah College of Art and Design, and in private collections around the nation.
Mr. Van Dyke’s path led back to Tallahassee and into the culinary arts, and in the late 1990s he wrote a monthly newspaper column on gourmet food and wine. He began practicing yoga and Pilates, which unexpectedly opened a new career avenue when he was approached to become a fitness instructor. Applying the same dedication as to his earlier pursuits, he trained for certification with Master Pilates Teacher June Kahn. He now also writes ENDORphiNATION, a column featured in the online publication, The Alchemical Heart, and he is a member of COCA (Council on Culture & Arts), in Tallahassee.
Attributed in part to his disciplined physical training, the effects of Mr. Van Dyke’s focal dystonia have dissipated. This Intermezzo Series performance marks not only the Jacksonville concert debut of Jost Van Dyke, but his first public recital in nearly two decades.
Intermezzo Sunday Concerts begin at 2:30 p.m., and are presented in the Main Library’s Hicks Auditorium. The concerts are free, and reservations are not required. Free parking is available.