Monday, August 10, 2009

Just Announced: Sarah Cahill w/ Rachel Grimes


Sarah Cahill, piano
Sarah Cahill was recently praised in the Village Voice for “her phenomenal technique, her instinctive command of recent aesthetics, and quite possibly the most interesting repertoire of any pianist around.” She specializes in new American music as well as the American experimental tradition, and has commissioned, premiered, and recorded numerous compositions for solo piano. Composers who have dedicated music to her include John Adams, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, Kyle Gann, Andrea Morricone, and Evan Ziporyn, and she has also premiered pieces by Lou Harrison, Julia Wolfe, Ingram Marshall, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Ursula Mamlok, George Lewis, Leo Ornstein, and many others. Cahill is particularly fascinated by how the early 20th-century American modernists have influenced composers working today. She has explored these musical lineages in numerous concert programs, the most ambitious being a three-day festival celebrating the centennial of Henry Cowell in 1997. For the 2001 centennial of Ruth Crawford Seeger, she commissioned seven composers, all women, to write short homage pieces, which she has performed at Merkin Hall, Dartmouth College, the Cincinnati Conservatory, and at Hampshire College in Amherst. For another project, Playdate, she commissioned composers including Lois V Vierk and John Kennedy for a concert especially designed for children. Her newest project, A Sweeter Music, will premiere in January 2009 at Hertz Hall in the Cal Performances series, with future performances at New Sounds Live at Merkin Hall and other venues across the country. She enjoys working closely with composers, musicologists, and scholars to prepare scores for performance. She has performed at the Miller Theatre and Cooper Union in New York, the Other Minds Festival, Pacific Crossings Festival in Tokyo, at the Spoleto Festival USA, and at the Nuovi Spazi Musicali festival in Rome. For two “new music seances” produced by Other Minds, she performed most of three separate concert programs back to back, spanning music from the early 20th century to the present day (a third “séance” is scheduled for this December). Sarah and pianist Joseph Kubera appear frequently as a duo; they premiered a set of four-hand pieces by Terry Riley at UCLA’s Royce Hall, and have performed them at the Triptych Festival in Scotland and at Roulette in New York. Most of Sarah’s albums are on the New Albion label. She has also recorded for the Tzadik, CRI, New World, Albany, Cold Blue, and Artifact labels. She is currently preparing recordings of music by Leo Ornstein, Marc Blitzstein, and Mamoru Fujieda. Her radio show, Then & Now, can be heard every Sunday evening from 8 to 10 pm on KALW, 91.7 FM.

Rachel Grimes
From a winding path of diverse musical ventures, Book of Leaves has slowly, quietly come to the surface. The first solo piano release by Kentucky composer and pianist Rachel Grimes, this new project comes after many years composing and recording with the indie chamber band, Rachel’s, and alongside current work with Louisville-based King’s Daughters & Sons. Soon to be released, the album is a collection of impressionist chapters woven together with chordal themes and field recordings inspired by interactions with the outdoors.

As a performer, she has had thrilling experiences across the US, Europe and Korea, including being an opener in 2008 for the Swell Season, and appearing with Rachel’s in WNYC’s New Sounds Live and with SITI Co. in the collaborative theater production systems/layers. She has been a guest on albums by the Frames, Sonora Pine, Tara Jane O’Neil, Shannon Wright, Shipping News, Dianogah, Andy McLeroy, and Big Eyes Family Players.

Engineer Steve Albini characterized Rachel’s records as “..part movie, part sound sculpture, part lush romantic porch song…” (

“marvel at the balance of restraint and emotive force at work, and ..let the piano lines circle as cello and viola melodies lead the way.” (New Music Express 2/10/96)

“Rachel Grimes’ piano is peerlessly beautiful as this chamber music big-band seems to glide as its bow breaks through crashing waves without ever breaking its beautiful gait..” (A. Carew, neumu)


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