Two brothers who have made great contributions to the world of the arts will be named to the Borger ISD Honor Wall this Saturday.
John Bayless and Daniel Bayless will be honored in a special ceremony, set for 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2, 2013, in the auditorium foyer at Borger High School.
John is a 1971 graduate of Borger High School and was born here. He started playing piano by ear at the age of four. His mother, who was a singer and musician, was his first teacher. His childhood heroes were Leonard Bernstein and Liberace.
At the age of 13, John was the youngest church organist in the State of Texas, playing for his hometown Baptist church and for the services at the Synagogue in Amarillo.
At BHS, students would ask him continuously to play the popular song of the day, and playing by ear, he played it “his way” until he graduated in May of 1971. At the age of 15, he won a scholarship to the Aspen School of Music where he met and first studied with the legendary Adele Marcus. At 17, he went to New York City to attend the Juilliard School of Music.
John was asked to participate as a composer in the inaugural class of New York University’s Musical Theater Masters Degree Program. While participating in this program, he studied with Leonard Bernstein, Julie Styne, Arthur Laurents, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green.
Maestro Bernstein was fascinated by John’s talent at improvisation and composition, and the two became lifelong friends. John was the artist in residence for the London Symphony Orchestra’s Leonard Bernstein Festival, performing at a gala for Queen Elizabeth II.
As a performer, both solo piano and with orchestra, John’s background includes appearances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, The Hollywood Bowl and London’s Barbican Center. Over the past 19 years, he has performed hundreds of concerts across the U.S. From Hawaii to Maine.
He has been featured on many television and radio programs, which includes NBC’s Today Show and Rosemary Clooney’s Christmas show. As a composer and performer, John has received commissions from The Virginia Waring International Piano Competition, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and from PBS, where his music can be heard on many series and specials, just to name a few.
John has also worked as a teacher, conducting Master Classes at Juilliard, Kent State, Dennison University, the University of Houston, and the Royal Academy of Music in London. He is a prolific recording artists, and his numerous CDs have topped the classical and classical crossover charts since the mid-80s. Many of these are still available today.
His best selling collections include “Bach on Abbey Road,” “Bach Meets The Beatles,” and “The Puccini Album,” (Billboard Magazine’s #1 top selling album for 19 weeks).
In 2008, John suffered a stroke, but it didn’t stop his music. He is orchestrating an original composition for left hand that he will premiere in Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall with the Moscow Virtuosi Orchestra.
Daniel is a 1975 BHS graduate and became expressive of his artistic observations at a young age. His parents enrolled him in oil painting lessons at the age of five, and this started his journey as an artist and painter.
In 1974, he had the honor of studying with Russian painter Serge Bongart. He would verbalize these observations to his parents while the family was traveling between Borger and Amarillo. His fascination with the way light played off of the luminous clouds, sky and countryside revealed a keen sense of the world around him.
He won National Merit Scholarships while in high school. After high school, Daniel attended the University of Arizona and then left for New York, where he completed his degree at the Abbey School for Jewelry and Art Metal Design. He studied with the both Abstract Expressionist painter Fred Mitchell and Colorist Sergei Bongart.
He knew from an early age that his life and career would focus around painting.
Daniel said,”....the world is a magical place, and as an artist I want to point to the mystery and render it as I experience it. For me, painting is not so much a portrait of objects or scenes as it is a poem or story of the time, vibrating with mood and emotion....For me, painting is an expressionistic relationship between me and my world....”
However, painting is not the only passion in his life and career. He is also an accomplished jewelry designer.
With the influence of Mitchell’s abstraction and the powerful colorist influence of Bongart’s impressionism, this gave Daniel the foundation on which he creates his paintings, and with his attention to detail and design, he crafts fine jewelry. His work can be found in galleries and collections across the country and around the world.
Daniel’s paintings are included in both private and corporate collections in California, New York, Mexico, England, Hong Kong, and Japan. His collectors include such people as the late Elizabeth Taylor and Leonard Bernstein.
His corporate collectors include the Disney Channel, Omni Hotels, the Breakers and Mcrowd Dallas.
During the “Celebrating 20 years of the Arts in Santa Fe,” 15 of Daniel’s paintings were highlighted. Also, an exhibition of new impressionistic oil paintings done by him, “Rendevouz” and “First Dance” were represented by Artiste, Santa Yrez, Calif. (2006-07).
According to Daniel, “When you slow down and sit and look at something, time slows down and you really do notice that there’s a lot going on all around you that you didn’t even see before.”