Werner "Vana" Gierig is one of New York's premier jazz pianists and composers. His award-winning, virtuosic performance style and musical direction has been recognized worldwide and has been integral to many international tours and recordings by artists such as Regina Carter, Rachelle Ferrell, Lena Horne, Ute Lemper, George Howard, Special EFX, Najee, Warren Hill, Will Downing, and many others.
2 years ago, Vana was presented by legendary bassist Eddie Gomez as an outstanding next generation pianist in a special 3-day presentation at the Iridium Jazz Club in Manhattan. He consequently sold out 2 shows at the New York Blue Note and opened up for Dionne Warwick with his critically acclaimed quartet called Vana Trio plus Brazilian Percussion, a unique mix of musical cultures, mixing classic jazz piano trio with New York funk, Brazilian, as well as European influences. He has since been touring special projects evolving around this core Vana Trio, such as the Vana Trio plus Brazilian Percussion, as well as his new project of the Vana Trio plus Strings. He has been presenting both, most recently in concerts in Istanbul, Lisbon, Espinho (Portugal) and New York.
Vana was also a featured pianist and composer on the 2006 NPR Jazz Christmas CD, Marianne McPartland & Friends, for which he co-wrote The Moon on Christmas Eve with Kathryn Williams.
In 2004, he won the SESAC Performance Activity Award for his composition Healing In Foreign Lands on a #1 Album, which Downbeat Magazine called "divine" and "a luminous testimony to Vana's sizable talent."
HBO’s Sex and the City solicited Vana in 2003 to compose and record a special piece for the season finale with Sarah Jessica Parker & Mikhail Baryshnikov.
In 2007, Showtime’s TV series The L Word, chose his composition and recording of An Awakening Thought for one of their episodes.
“Thought once awakened does not again slumber. Instead it unfolds itself [...] and grows, in man after man, generation after generation, until its full stature is reached, and such a thought can grow no farther, but must give place to another.” Thomas Carlyle
This song was inspired by the endless personal stories of friends and people in New York City, after the tragedies of September 11th, 2001.
Vana was executive producer, artistic musical director, composer and pianist on Regina Carter's #1 album Paganini: After a Dream (Verve/Universal). He was deeply involved in the vision and realization of the historic idea for Regina to become the first non-classical musician allowed to perform on Paganini's priceless violin, and it was to become the only instrumental #1 album on the Billboard charts in years. The recording, as well as the historic concerts at Lincoln Center in New York and in Genoa were extensively covered by CBS' 60 Minutes II (Charlie Rose), NPR's All Things Considered, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Oprah Winfry's O Magazine, Downbeat, JazzTimes, and countless other media.