Chaconnes: 1687 to 2015
In this program, Cahill traces the life cycle of the Chaconne, from the Baroque period to the present day. She will follow the trajectory of this compositional form from the music of Handel, through that of Stefan Wolpe, Élizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Carl Nielsen, François Couperin, Henry Purcell, and Sofia Gubaidulina, to the present with premiere performances of a piece by composer Danny Clay, written for Cahill.
A Piano Party for Terry Riley at 80
2015 marked the 80th birthday year of composer-pianist Terry Riley, who has had a profound influence on generations of composers and musicians. A Piano Party for Terry Riley at 80 pays tribute to Riley’s enduring impact with an evening of ten new solo piano pieces written in honor of his 80th birthday by Pauline Oliveros, Evan Ziporyn, Gyan Riley, Samuel Carl Adams, Christine Southworth, Dylan Mattingly, Danny Clay, Keeril Makan, Elena Ruehr, and Luciano Chessa, combined with Riley’s own Keyboard Studies from 1964 and Fandango on the Heaven Ladder from 1994. Sarah Cahill also performs his twelve-tone Two Pieces from 1958/59 (not performed since they were written) and Be Kind to One Another, commissioned by Cahill and listed by NPR on its 100 Best Songs of 2013 and by MSNBC on its Top Ten Political Songs of 2013. Cahill has worked closely with Terry Riley since 1997, when she commissioned his four-hand piece Cinco de Mayo for an all-piano festival at Cal Performances celebrating Henry Cowell’s 100th birthday. She has commissioned four more four-hand pieces from Riley, toured with him in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and performed in his 70th birthday concert at Royce Hall at UCLA. Cahill wrote the performer notes for Schirmer’s new edition of Terry Riley’s solo piano music and is currently working on a multi-CD recording project for the Irritable Hedgehog label, which will include Terry Riley’s four-hand pieces, much of his solo work, and the ten newly commissioned pieces honoring Riley which are part of this program.
Mamoru Fujieda: Patterns of Plants
A masterpiece by one of the leading post- minimalist composers, Patterns of Plants (1996– present) represents an extraordinary fusion of nature and technology. To create the piece, Fujieda measured the electrical impulses on the leaves of plants, using the “Plantron,” a device created by botanist/artist Yūji Dōgane, and converted the data he obtained into sound with Max, a visual programming language used for music and multimedia. He then identified musical patterns within the sound, and used them as the basis for these miniatures. Both captivating and profound, Patterns of Plants has been arranged for different instruments and ensembles. In 2014, Cahill made the first solo piano recording of it to be available outside of Japan, released on the Pinna Records label. The New York Times selected the album for its Classical Playlist, and described Patterns as “delicate miniatures that unfold quietly and calmly. Lean in close to discover the intricate, almost Baroque patterns within.”
Lou Harrison Centennial
Solo Piano Works
In celebration of composer Lou Harrison’s 2017 centennial, Cahill will perform concerts of Harrison’s works including his Prelude for Grandpiano, Largo Ostinato, Third Piano Sonata, Dance for Lisa Karon, May Rain, Three Waltzes for Edward McGowan, Double Canon, A Waltz for Evelyn Hinrichson, Reel, Summerfield Set, and Tandy’s Tango. Cahill had the opportunity to work with Harrison several times, and championed many of his works for piano. In 1997, Cahill was chosen to premiere his Festival Dance for two pianos with Aki Takahashi at the Cooper Union, and worked with Lou Harrison in rehearsals. She visited him several times at his home in Aptos, California, and copied rare scores from his collection. She was also chosen to perform Harrison’s Dance for Lisa Caron, discovered only a few years ago and not heard since its premiere in 1938, and has performed his Varied Trio and a number of solo and chamber works in a Lou Harrison festival in Tokyo.
In preparing Lou Harrison’s Piano Concerto, Cahill worked extensively with several of his colleagues and close collaborators. Of her performance with the La Jolla Symphony, the San Diego Union Times wrote, “ [Harrison’s Piano Concerto is] a remarkable piece that deserves to be a standard part of the piano concerto repertoire. More telling is Harrison’s rhythmic energy, his wealth of melodic invention, and his usual color palette, which owes a large debt to Asian music. Cahill struck just the right tone and [Steven] Schick and the orchestra matched her frenetic playing note for note. And the work’s sense of lightness, discovery and delight was especially welcome after a very weighty Brahms.”
Mystical Tone is an exploration of mysticism and music in the early 20th century, including Scriabin’s last preludes and Vers la flamme, Dane Rudhyar’s Granites and Stars, three preludes by Ruth Crawford, Henry Cowell’s The Banshee, and classical works “dictated” to the spiritualist Rosemary Brown. Inspired by Theosophy, astrology, and Transcendentalism, these composers were especially intrigued by the strong connection between dissonance and spirituality.
A Sweeter Music
A Sweeter Music features musical reflections on war by eighteen eloquent and provocative composer/activists, commissioned especially for this project, including Meredith Monk, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, The Residents, Pauline Oliveros, Phil Kline, Paul Dresher, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Yoko Ono, Ingram Marshall, Peter Garland, Carl Stone, Preben Antonsen (age seventeen), Kyle Gann, Mamoru Fujieda, Jerome Kitzke, Larry Polansky, and Michael Byron. Programs can be tailor-made from
this list, with optional video by award-winning video artist John Sanborn. The title comes from Martin Luther King’s Nobel Lecture: “We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody, that is far superior to the discords of war.” Of Cahill’s 2013 recording of the same name, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “Cahill brings her technical assurance and expressive warmth to all the music, making each piece that much more eloquent.”
Cahill’s debut solo album of Ravel’s works was received with rave reviews when it was released in 1997. Of the disc Gramophone wrote, “She imbues the picturesque Miroirs with languid, lapidarian refinement and subtly graded dynamics…Cahill’s self-effacing conceptions ring fresh and true with each new listen.” In this Impressionist program, Cahill combines the music of Ravel and Debussy with more recent works by Leo Ornstein, who was inspired by them, and other later 20th century composers.
The “Key” to the Century
A champion of new music, Sarah Cahill recognizes how significantly early 20th century piano music has affected more recently composed works. In this program, Cahill traces these trajectories of influence and inspiration through the last century by juxtaposing specific piano repertoire to reveal musical threads running throughout the fabric of the 20th century. These works include unpublished works by Marc Blitzstein and Henry Cowell, plus Terry Riley’s Keyboard Studies (1964), Ruth Crawford’s Preludes Nos. 7 and 9 (1928), George Antheil’s Airplane Sonata (1921), Tania Leon’s Ritual (1987), Dina Koston’s Thoughts of Evelyn (2000), Samuel Carl Adams’ Shade Studies (2014), Christine Southworth’s Sparkita and Her Kittens (2014), and Leo Ornstein’s A Morning in the Woods (1971).
Duo with Pianist Regina Schaffer
Sarah Cahill and Regina Schaffer offer several four-hand and duo piano programs, including the four-hand compositions of Terry Riley, which Cahill commissioned; regional premieres of 100 30-Second Pieces by Evan Ziporyn; and recent works by Lois V Vierk, Gavin Bryars, David Borden, and Kyle Gann, along with rarely performed gems by Johanna Beyer and Virgil Thomson.
Duo with Violinist Kate Stenberg
Sarah Cahill and Kate Stenberg, former first violinist of the Del Sol Quartet, perform a program of early 20th century masterpieces for violin and piano including sonatas by Henry Cowell and Ruth Crawford, Three Pieces by Silvestre Revueltas, Johanna Beyer’s Suite, and Lou Harrison’s Grand Duo.