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Billy Joel Says Classical Project Took Eight Years

Two new Billy Joel albums come out Tuesday (October 2)-a two-disc hits set called The Essential Billy Joel and, more notably, Fantasies & Delusions (Music For Solo Piano), his first set of instrumental classical music and his first album of new material since 1993’s River Of Dreams.

Joel tells LAUNCH that the long gap between albums allowed him to develop as an instrumental writer and that he had resolved not to push anything out before he felt it was ready: “To tell you the truth, I wasn’t feeling compelled to put anything out. All I wanted to do was compose, and I wasn’t necessarily feeling that, ‘Well, this is stuff I’ve gotta give to the world.’ I was on a learning curve. I was learning to speak a new vernacular, and it started eight years ago,” he says.

Joel plans to promote the album with a short “master class” tour, on which Richard Joo, who actually plays the pieces on Fantasies & Delusions, will join him. Joo is a well-known classical pianist and grand-prize winner of the Stravinsky International Piano Competition.