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Steinway Salon: Lisa Moore
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This project is funded by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.




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+ About the Performance
This program was recorded 12/17/2015 at Symphony Space.

Program

Works by Alexander Scriabin
Prelude, op.74 no.3 (1914)
Etude, op.2 no.1 (1887)
Prelude, op.11 no.5 (1896)
Prelude, op.27 no.2 (1900)
Prelude, op.33 no.3 (1903)
Prelude, op.48 no.2 (1905)
Prelude, op.51 no.2 (1906)
Prelude, op.74 no.3 (1914)

Sonata - 1.x.1905, From the Street (1905) by Leoš Janáček
I. The Premonition
II. The Death

Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm (1926-1939) by Béla Bartók

from Satyagraha (1980) by Philip Glass, arr. Reisman 
Conclusion, Act III

Ishi's Song (2012)  by Martin Bresnick

Piano Piece no. 4 (1977) by Frederic Rzewski

 

 

+ About the Artists

The New York Times writes that LISA MOORE “has always been a natural, compelling storyteller.” Her expressive performances combine music and theatre with emotional power. Pitchfork writes, “She’s the best kind of contemporary classical musician, one so fearsomely game that she inspires composers to offer her their most wildly unplayable ideas.”

Lisa Moore has released eight solo discs and over thirty collaborative discs. Her most recent CD, Mad Rush (OMM), was released in January 2015. This February, Moore will release her ninth disc, The Stone People (Cantaloupe), featuring the music of John Luther Adams, Martin Bresnick, Missy Mazzoli, Kate Moore, and Julia Wolfe.

Crowned “New York’s queen of avant-garde piano” by The New Yorker, she has performed with a large and diverse range of musicians and artists throughout the globe, including the London Sinfonietta, New York City Ballet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Bargemusic, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Dean-Moore-Dean, TwoSense, and the Steve Reich Ensemble.

 

Lisa Moore is a Steinway artist, and has performed in some of the world’s greatest concert halls — La Scala, Musikverein, Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, and the Royal Albert Hall. Her guest appearances at festivals include Holland, Lincoln Center, BBC Proms, Tanglewood, Sundance Institute, Houston Da Camera, Jacob’s Pillow, Aspen, BAM Next Wave, Ecstatic Music, Bang on a Can, Melbourne’s Metropolis, and more. As an artistic curator, Lisa Moore produced Australia’s Canberra International Music Festival 2008 Sounds Alive series.

After winning the silver medal in the 1981 Rockefeller-Carnegie Hall International American Music Competition, Lisa Moore moved to New York in 1985 to begin freelancing. She was the founding pianist for the Bang On A Can All-Stars, New York’s lauded electro-acoustic sextet, and performed with them from 1992-2008.

Passionately dedicated to the music of our time, Lisa has premiered hundreds of new works and collaborated with composers such as John Adams, Martin Bresnick, Phillip Glass, Elena Kats-Chernin, David Lang, Kate Moore, Thurston Moore, Steve Reich, Julia Wolfe, and Iannis Xenakis. She periodically hosts New York Public Radio’s WQXR Q2 show, Hammered!

New projects inspire the searching nature of Lisa Moore’s imaginative creativity. Recent projects include Dean-Moore-Dean Trio concerts with brothers Brett and Paul Dean; Grand Band, a piano sextet featuring some of the finest pianists in New York; and TwoSense, a commissioning cello (with Ashley Bathgate) and piano duo dedicated to expanding the chamber music repertoire.

In addition to teaching piano at Wesleyan University and coaching at the Yale-Norfolk Festival New Music Workshop, Lisa Moore makes regular guest teaching appearances at conservatories around the world. Past residencies include Royal Academy of Music (London), Eastman School of Music, Sydney and Queensland Conservatoriums, Australian Youth Orchestra National Music Camp, and the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne.

Lisa Moore was born in Canberra and raised in both Australia and London. She studied piano at the Sydney Conservatorium before transferring to the USA to complete her degrees. Moore spent a year in Paris with Yvonne Loriod before settling in New York City in 1985. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois (BM), Eastman School of Music (MM), and SUNY Stonybrook (DMA). 

+ About the Music

The prodigious Russian composer and virtuoso pianist Alexander Scriabin composed preludes, études, sonatas and tone-poems. His early pieces were Chopinesque — delicate, romantic, and lyrical. As Scriabin’s compositional output progressed, his musical and tonal style changed enormously. The later works explore wild rhapsodic textures and develop a much higher degree of chromaticism, atonality, and the use of his enigmatic “mystic” chord. This group of seven pieces composed between 1896 and 1914 traces that chronological trajectory.

Scriabin became very interested in theosophy — Eastern religion and the mysteries of being, nature, and divinity. He developed a synesthetic system, linking color and musical keys. For Scriabin, the key of D corresponded with the color yellow, while the key of Db corresponded with purple. Scriabin considered his last music to be fragments of an immense piece called Mysterium. This seven-day megawork was intended to be performed at the foothills of the Himalayas in India after which the world would dissolve in bliss. Bells suspended from clouds would summon spectators. Sunrises would be preludes and sunsets codas. Flames would erupt in shafts of light and sheets of fire. Perfumes appropriate to the music would change and pervade the air. Sadly, the completion of this work was never meant to be. Upon Scriabin’s sudden death, the Russian pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff celebrated Scriabin’s impact on the musical
world by touring Russia in a series of all-Scriabin recitals, the first time Rachmaninoff performed works other than his own in public.

Leoš Janáček was born in Hukvaldy, Moravia (now the Czech Republic) and spent most of his adult life as a dedicated organist and teacher of keyboard and harmony at the Music Academy in Brno. Professionally he was considered a “late developer” — achieving little international recognition until just a few years before his death. His operas began to draw attention after they were translated into German. Janáček wrote: “I no longer saw any worth in my work, and scarcely believed what I wrote. I had become convinced that no one would ever notice anything of mine.” Over time Janáček’s music built an admired reputation as some of the most original, intense, and dramatic music of the twentieth century. His operas are now regularly performed in major opera houses and his chamber and piano music is firmly established in the repertoire.

Janáček often composed using speech rhythms, melodic fragments he transcribed while surreptitiously listening to the lilt of Czech conversations in the street and cafés. He transposed and transformed these fragments into music, producing brief melodic figures known as interruption motives. Moving freely between major, minor, and modal tonalities, Janáček uniquely juxtaposes these interruptions with longer folk melodies. The music often shifts effortlessly between folk simplicity and worldly sophistication while revealing an impassioned lyricism and driving urgency.

The turbulent Sonata – 1.X.1905, From the Street depicts the violent death of an innocent worker, accidentally killed in an anti-German university protest. Janáček tragically destroyed the third movement, hence we are left with this two movement structure — the premonition and the death.

Béla Bartók was born in Nagyszentmiklas, Hungary near the Romanian border. His early studies began with his mother and continued in Pressburg and Budapest. Around 1905, Bartók’s friend and fellow composer Zoltán Kodály directed his attention to Hungarian folk music and, coupled with his discovery of the music of Debussy, Bartók’s musical language changed dramatically from a more romantic style to a more concentrated, chromatic, and dissonant one. Bartók became an assiduous ethnomusicologist, encompassing a number of ethnic traditions, most notably Transylvanian, Romanian and Bulgarian.

In the 1920s and 30s, Bartók’s international fame spread and he toured widely, both as pianist (usually his own works) and as a respected composer. He continued to teach piano at the Budapest Academy of Music until his resignation in 1934. With the outbreak of the Second World War, and despite his deep attachment to his homeland, life in Hungary became intolerable and Bartók immigrated to the United States, along with his second wife, Ditta Paisztory. He obtained a post at Columbia University and was able to pursue his folk-music studies. Despite his success in America however, his concert engagements were rare and he received few commissions. Although he had plans to return to Hungary, Bartok died of leukemia in New York City in 1945.

Bela Bartók is now considered one of the greatest 20th century composers. Like Janáček, he composed opera, orchestral, chamber, and solo repertoire. Bartók’s special contribution to piano pedagogy are his six piano volumes called Mikrokosmos — short works designed as teaching books for the piano in a progressive and unconventional style, as well as an introduction to the new music of the twentieth century. They feature many modal and rhythmic studies. In keeping with his love of folk song and his interest in ethnomusicological research, the final pieces in the Mikrokosmos Volume VI form a set entitled Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm. Bulgarian rhythms are traditionally characterized by fast tempi with measures divided asymmetrically or of unequal length, typically split into smaller sub- groups of 2, 3, and 4.

Philip Glass was born and raised in Baltimore. He studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School, and in Aspen with Darius Milhaud. Finding himself dissatisfied with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved to Europe where he studied with the legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger (who also taught Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, and Quincy Jones). During this period, he also worked closely with the sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar. He returned to New York in 1967 and formed the Philip Glass Ensemble — seven musicians playing keyboards and a variety of woodwinds, amplified and fed through a mixer. His operas — Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha, Akhnaten, and The Voyage, among many others — play throughout the world’s leading houses. Glass has written music for experimental theater and for Academy Award-winning motion pictures such as The Hours and Martin Scorsese’s Kundun. Koyaanisqatsi, his initial filmic landscape with Godfrey Reggio and the Philip Glass Ensemble, may be the most radical and influential marriage of sound and vision since Fantasia.

The new musical style that Glass developed was eventually dubbed “minimalism,” although he prefers to speak of himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures.” Much of his early work was based on the extended reiteration of brief, elegant melodic fragments that weave in and out of an aural tapestry. This music might be described as an immersion in a heightened sonic atmosphere that twists, turns, shifts, and develops around the listener.

Satyagraha is a Sanskrit word meaning “truth force.” The 7-minute piece Conclusion, Act III is a piano arrangement of the final scene to Glass’s opera. Satyagraha’s semi-narrative form deals with Mahatma Gandhi’s early years in South Africa and his development of non-violent protest into a political tool. It is the second opera in Glass’s trilogy about men who changed the world. Each act is dominated by a single historic figure overlooking the action from above: the Indian poet Ravindranath Tagore in Act I, the Russian author Leo Tolstoy in Act II, and the American Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr in Act III.

Martin Bresnick was born and raised in New York City. He was educated at the High School of Music and Art, the University of Hartford, Stanford University, and the Akademie für Musik in Vienna. Bresnick’s compositions range from solo, chamber, and symphonic music to opera, film scores, and computer music. He delights in reconciling the seemingly irreconcilable, bringing together repetitive gestures derived from minimalism with a harmonic palette that encompasses both highly chromatic sounds and a raw power reminiscent of rock. At times, his musical ideas spring from hardscrabble sources, often with a political import. Bresnick has written music for films, two of which — Arthur & Lillie (1975) and The Day After Trinity (1981), both with director Jon Else — were nominated for Academy Awards in the documentary category. His principal teachers of composition were György Ligeti, John Chowning, and Gottfried von Einem. Bresnick has received many prizes and commissions — such as the first Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Rome Prize, The Berlin Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Koussevitzky Commission. He is also Professor of Composition and Coordinator of the music composition department at the Yale School of Music. Bresnick also taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Stanford University. He is now recognized as an influential teacher of composition; students from every part of the globe and of virtually every musical inclination have been inspired by his critical encouragement. He was elected to membership of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2006.

 

Bresnick’s compositions are published by Carl Fischer Music Publishers, New York; Bote & Bock, Berlin; CommonMuse Music Publishers, New Haven; and have been recorded by Cantaloupe, New World Records, Albany Records, Bridge Records, Composers Recordings Incorporated, Centaur, Starkland and Artifact Music. His foremost opera, My Friend’s Story — based on the Anton Chekhov tale — was premiered at the 2013 International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven. Bresnick’s latest CD, Prayers Remain Forever, was released in late 2014 on the Starkland label. It contains Ishi’s Song.

From the composer: Ishi’s Song — Ishi was among the last of the Yahi Indians. Living in northern California, these Native Americans were part of a larger group known as the Yana. They were ruthlessly suppressed and finally decimated at the end of the 19th century. The few remaining Yahi people hid in the mountains until they all died, leaving only Ishi. He was found and brought to the University of California at Berkeley by sympathetic Anthropology professors Alfred Kroeber and T.T. Waterman. Ishi lived for several years at the University’s museum, then in San Francisco, teaching the professors and other researchers the ways of his people and helping to create a dictionary of his language. He was the last native speaker of the Yahi-Yana language. The opening melody of my work was taken from a transcription of a recording made by Ishi himself singing what he called ‘The Maidu Doctor’s Song.’ There is no known translation of the text.” – Martin Bresnick

Raised near Boston, American composer and virtuoso pianist Frederic Rzewski studied at Harvard and Princeton Universities before moving to Rome in the 1960s. He taught in Cologne and was a founding member of the live electronic ensemble Musica Elettronica Viva in 1966. Rzewski’s music embraces diverse styles: romantic, jazz, minimalist, and theatrical. His works usually have an underlying political message such as his large scale set of piano variations, The People United Will Never Be Defeated! Some even involve collective improvisation, such as Coming Together, Attica, and Les Moutons de Panurge. Frederic Rzewski has taught at the Lieges Conservatoire and now lives in Brussels, Belgium. He remains active as a freelance composer, pianist, improviser, and performer of new and classical works.

Composed in 1977, Piano Piece no. 4 is the 6-minute final movement from Four Pieces for Piano, featuring a Chilean folk tune that emerges from the din of repeated notes, forming a “gunshot” finale. It is a musical protest against the Pinochet/CIA-US sponsored coup of 1973. 

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