unCAGEd: For Merce

Thursday, November 29, 8:00 pm
Tickets: $15 ($10 for students and seniors)

Piano duo of Jenny Lin and Lois Svard will perform a program titled “For Merce,” a concert of modernist music written for choreographer Merce Cunningham’s Dance Company. The concert—the third in this season’s unCAGEd series—presents works by composers long associated with Cunningham and his company: Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, Sylvano Bussotti, David Behrman, John King, Alvin Lucier and Stephan Moore.

Sponsored by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the concert is dedicated to the late Greenwich House Music School concert manager Lou Rispoli, who passed away suddenly last month.

Jenny Lin says: “All these composers are very different from one another, and each piece is unique. Moreover, the program demonstrates the limitless sonic possibilities of two pianos and pianists. Now that the Merce Cunningham company is no more, I wanted to pay tribute to the music directors who were so devoted to the company—especially during the centennial year of John Cage, who was Merce’s longtime partner. I wanted to perform the music without dance, just as it is. Lois Svard is the ideal partner for presenting this music. She has history with several of the composers, and Alvin Lucier’s piece was written for her. Another thing I have always wanted to take advantage of: using both of the Greenwich House Music School’s Steinways at the same time!”

Sylvano Bussotti: Piano Piece for David Tudor
Morton Feldman: Two Pianos
Christian Wolff: Snowdrops
David Behrman: Long Throw
John King: RagTag for Two Pianos
Stephan Moore: In Summary
Alvin Lucier: Music for Piano with Magnetic Strings

Jenny Lin is one of the most respected young pianists today, admired for her adventurous programming and charismatic stage presence. Her ability to combine classical and contemporary repertoire has brought her to the attention of international critics and audiences. The New York Times praised her “remarkable technical command” and “gift for melodic flow.” The Washington Post extolled “spectacular technique,” while Gramophone has hailed her as “an exceptionally sensitive pianist.” Jenny’s concerts have taken her all over the world, from Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center to San Francisco, Canada and throughout Europe and the Far East. Her extensive discography includes critically acclaimed recordings on the labels of Steinway & Sons, Hänssler Classic and BIS Records, with more than 20 albums to her credit. In 2011, her Silent Music album of Federico Mompou’s Música Callada was declared one of the year’s best by The New York Times. Her newest album is Get Happy: Virtuoso Show Tunes for Piano. Born in Taiwan and raised in Austria, Jenny studied with Noel Flores at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, with Julian Martin at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and with Dominique Weber in Geneva. She holds a bachelor’s degree in German literature from Johns Hopkins University.

The affinity of pianist Lois Svard for American experimental music has led her to commission, premiere and record works by such experimental composers as Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier, “Blue” Gene Tyranny, William Duckworth, Elodie Lauten, Kyle Gann, Jerry Hunt and Kirk Nurock. Her recent DVD of Annea Lockwood’s prepared piano work Ear-Walking Woman, released by Innovera Studios, has been called “fascinating,” “irresistible” and “full of subtleties.” Svard has performed throughout the U.S. and in Europe, with her concerts often celebrating the avant-garde in piano music – whether it’s in the music of Franz Liszt from the 19th century or in more recent works using multimedia, prepared piano, digital keyboard or microtonal tunings. In addition to her work as a soloist, she has appeared with the Cassatt String Quartet and with dancer Peter Boal, former principal with New York City Ballet. Svard is also working on a book on neuropedagogy that will explore how recent discoveries in neuroscience can help musicians in their work in the teaching studio, practice room and concert stage. Svard is professor of piano and chair of the music department at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. She holds a doctorate in piano performance from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.

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