Second Annual Modern Piano (+) Festival

Spectrum is thrilled to present the second annual Modern Piano (+) Festival, featuring performances by Ethan Iverson, Taka Kigawa, Kathleen Supové, Matt Mitchell, Gabriel Zucker, Erika Dohi, Jacob Sacks, Sonya Belaya, Jacob Rhodebeck, Eleonor Sandresky, Nicole Brancato, Teodora Stepančić, Naomi Woo, Alexandra Saraceno, Augustus Arnone, and Jacob Greenberg.

The Modern Piano (+) Festival is made possible by Park Avenue Pianos, who have generously provided a Steinway D concert grand for the event.

The Festival is co-curated by Gabriel Zucker and Glenn Cornett.

→ 12/1, 3pm: Piano+, curated by Teodora Stepančić
→ 12/1, 5pm: Taka Kigawa plays Feldman’s Triadic Memories
→ 12/6, 7pm: Sonya Belaya
→ 12/6, 8pm: Jacob Rhodebeck plays Nante
→ 12/6, 9pm: Ethan Iverson plays original music
→ 12/7, 8:30pm: Jacob Greenberg plays Fulmer, Willliams, Fujikura, Chen
→ 12/8, 5pm: Nicole Brancato plays Cage, Fox, Cowell, Berio, Rautavaara, and original music
→ 12/8, 7pm: Joel Forrester
→ 12/8, 8pm: Naomi Woo plays Ligeti, D’Heudieres, Oram
→ 12/8, 9pm: Jacob Sacks
→ 12/10, 7pm: Alexandra Saraceno plays Messiaen
→ 12/13, 8pm: Gabriel Zucker plays Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’enfant Jésus
→ 12/14, 7pm: Augustus Arnone: The Romantic (re)Generation
→ 12/15, 3pm: Kathleen Supové/The Exploding Piano
→ 12/15, 5pm: Eleonor Sandresky plays original music (Rescheduled from 12/19)
→ 12/15, 7pm: Erika Dohi plays original music from I, Castorpollux
→ 12/15, 8:30pm: Matt Mitchell

1 December 2019, 3pm: Piano + #18: piano+low strings

New works by Laura Cetilia, Rachel Mangold, and Rishin Singh + Laurence Crane's Second Favourite Chord. Performed by Lester St Louis, Jordan Dykstra, Laura Cetilia, Assaf Gidron, Rachel Mangold and Teodora Stepančić.

Piano+ is a concert series dedicated to new and recent music for piano with other instruments and media, inviting composers, performers and audiences into an intimate listening experience, a space for sharing sounds, ideas and music, for open minds and ears. Curated by composer and pianist Teodora Stepančić.

1 December 2019, 5pm: Taka Kigawa plays Feldman's Triadic Memories

Morton Feldman — Triadic Memories (1981)

Critically acclaimed pianist Taka Kigawa has earned outstanding international recognition as a recitalist, soloist, and chamber music artist since winning First Prize in the prestigious 1990 Japan Music Foundation Piano Competition in Tokyo, and the Diploma Prize at the 1998 Concurs Internacional Maria Canals De Barcelona in Spain, with such accolades from The New York Times as “Phenomenon. There’s no denying that he is something special,” “The extraordinary pianist.” and from The New Yorker “Unbelievably challenging program. Kigawa is an artist of stature.” and from La Nación (Buenos Aires) “Taka Kigawa is a stupendous virtuoso.” His New York City recital in 2010 was chosen as one of the best concerts of the year by The New York Times. His New York City recital in August 2011 was picked as one of the most notable concerts in the 2011-2012 season by Musical America. Also his Buenos Aires recital in April 2014 was chosen as one of the best concerts of the year by Argentina’s leading paper, La Nación.

6 December 2019, 7pm: Sonya Belaya

Solo improvised set based on cellular compositions of close collaborators, past + present + future.

Sonya Belaya is a Russian-American pianist, singer, composer, and improviser, who divides her time between Michigan and New York. Committed to multiplicity, she is a diverse music-maker invested in vulnerable art and the development of strong, personal collaborations. Her work centers on the integration of women’s trauma as musical narrative, with a focus on storytelling as a symbol of powerful vulnerability.

Sonya has performed as a pianist and singer with members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New Music Detroit, Wild Up, Michigan Opera Theatre, Russian Renaissance, and Bang on a Can All-Stars. Sonya has been a participant in many notable music festivals, including Bang on Can Summer Festival and International Workshop for Jazz & Creative Music at the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity.

Sonya’s lead project is “Dacha”, an octet flowing freely through influences of creative music, jazz, folk, and contemporary music. The ensemble seeks to preserve and re-contextualize the ancestral memories of Russian folk traditions. Consisting of musicians from diverse music backgrounds, the project uses storytelling and improvisation as a governing principle to transcend these differences for deeper musical dialogue. Dacha was born out of a necessity to find a sense of home and belonging, when Belaya’s mother went missing in 2014. This resulted in the first project, “Songs My Mother Taught Me”, a five song cycle released in May 2019.

6 December 2019, 8pm: Jacob Rhodebeck plays Nante

Pianist Jacob Rhodebeck performs the world premiere of Alex Nante's exquisitely evocative Diario de Abril, a 50-minute, 30 movement cycle for solo piano.

Mr. Rhodebeck is a pianist known for his tremendous command of the instrument and his enthusiasm for performing new and little known music. His performances have been described as "astounding" (David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia Inquirer) and "searing” (The New York Times). Most recently, he premiered Michael Hersch's 6-hour piano solo, one day may become menace, at the 2019 Wien Modern Festival in Vienna, Austria.

6 December 2019, 9pm: Ethan Iverson plays original solo music

Ethan Iverson has released two acclaimed albums on ECM in the last two years: Temporary Kings, a duo album with Mark Turner, and Common Practice, a quartet featuring Tom Harrell. He is a member of the Billy Hart Quartet and composes scores for the Mark Morris Dance Group and Dance Heginbotham. December 6 at Spectrum, Iverson explores original music for solo piano, a project long in development and just now beginning to come to fruition.

7 December 2019, 8:30pm: Jacob Greenberg plays Fulmer, Williams, Fujikura, Chen

David Fulmer — Then quiver down, with tufts of tune (2019)
Amy Williams — Cineshape 4 (2016)
Dai Fujikura — Bright Codes (2015-2018)
Phyllis Chen — SumiTones (2019)

Pianist Jacob Greenberg’s work as a soloist and chamber musician has earned worldwide acclaim. He is a longtime member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), with whom he has performed throughout the Americas and Europe. Mr. Greenberg’s solo concert series, Music at Close Range, shows his equal commitment to classics of the repertoire. In addition to his solo discs on New Focus Recordings, which include works by over a dozen composers, he has recorded for the Nonesuch, Bridge, Mode, Kairos, Centaur, Tzadik, and New Amsterdam labels. Recent highlights include a guest performance of works of György Kurtág at the International Summer Courses in Darmstadt, Germany, under the composer's guidance; a recital tour with flutist Claire Chase; works by Boulez at the Ojai Festival; and solo and concerto appearances with ICE at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival. Mr. Greenberg is on the faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center, and has taught at Hunter College, City University of New York, The Juilliard School, and the State University of New York at Buffalo. As a composer, he makes recorded works with spoken and sung texts. Please visit

8 December 2019, 5pm: Nicole Brancato

Nicole Brancato - a pianist with a fondness of the avant-garde - presents works that take an intimate look at the human diary and the surrounding natural world. Featuring music by John Cage, Christopher Fox, Henry Cowell, Luciano Berio, Einojuhani Rautavaara, and her own compositions and improvisations, the program centers around music for speaking and singing pianist, re-imagining the traditional role of the pianist as storyteller through both fingers and voice.

8 December 2019, 7pm: Joel Forrester

Joel Forrester, 73, has written nearly 2000 compositions. Since its formation in 1981, he has co-led the Microscopic Septet. He wrote the off-B’way music drama FASCIST LIVING & the theme song to NPR’s FRESH AIR. He received the personal encouragement of Thelonious Monk and composed music for the early films of Andy Warhol.

8 December 2019, 8pm: Naomi Woo plays Ligeti, D'Heudieres, Oram

Gyorgy Ligeti — Touches Bloquées
Louis D'Heudieres — 4 x 4 = 5
Celeste Oram — toccata & bruise

Naomi Woo plays piano, conducts orchestras, and makes performances of all kinds. She resides in Winnipeg, on Treaty One Territory, where she is the RBC Assistant Conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the University of Manitoba Symphony Orchestra. She particularly enjoys collaborating with other artists, including musicians, choreographers, poets, and filmmakers. Projects include Ye Xian: A Story Untold, a retelling of the Chinese Cinderella story with London-based Tangram and A Certain Sense of Order, a mini-opera exploring the work of Anne Sexton with tick tock. She recently completed a PhD thesis at the University of Cambridge, exploring the idea of ‘impossibility’ in piano performance.

Her recital for the piano festival presents music in which the piano is not ‘just’ a conduit for notes, but also a clunky material object. The pieces—by Elizabeth Maconchy, Celeste Oram, György Ligeti, Louis d’Heudieres, and more—explore what happens when the piano is pushed to its limits or when arbitrary limits are imposed. New boundaries, like a technique that simulates a broken instrument or a piece of only two notes and pedal, beg the question: what (else) can a piano do?

8 December 2019, 9pm: Jacob Sacks

Jacob Sacks is one of the most creative pianists on the NYC jazz scene today. His strong individual voice has been heard in a variety of settings ranging from the mainstream jazz traditions of the Mingus Big Band and Orchestra to the open approach of the Paul Motian Septet to the vamp based fusion of David Binney’s Balance.

10 December 2019, 7pm: Alexandra Saraceno plays Messiaen

Olivier Messiaen — Préludes (1929)
Olivier Messiaen — La Merle Noir (1952)

A performance in celebration of Messiaen’s 111th birthday. With Jacob Mortensen, flute.

French organist and composer Olivier Messiaen aptly described his Préludes as “a collection of successive states of mind and personal feelings.” Composed during a period of mourning upon the passing of his mother, these pieces explore the depths of grief and heights of hope. The use of birdsong, poetic titles, and treatment of timbre, rhythm, and harmony foreshadow characteristics of his later works. These innovations were influenced by Medieval plainchant melodies, Eastern rhythms, and his Roman Catholic faith as well as developments in the early twentieth-century avant garde.

Alexandra Saraceno began her piano studies at a young age in Watertown, Connecticut. An active soloist and collaborator, she has performed at various venues and festivals throughout the country. A graduate of Western Connecticut State University, Alexandra studied with Russell Hirshfield and received her Bachelor of Music dégrée with a philosophy minor. She continued her studies at New York University, studying with Marilyn Nonken, to pursue a Master of Music in piano performance as well as an Advanced Certificate in piano performance and pedagogy.

13 December 2019, 8pm: Gabriel Zucker plays Messiaen's Vingt Regards

Olivier Messiaen — Vingt Regards sur l’enfant Jésus (1944)

Gabriel Zucker performs Messiaen’s epic masterpiece for the first time in New York City. The performance will feature an original light show by artist Ron Shalom.

Gabriel Zucker is a pianist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist from New York, whose work combines maximalist compositions with the progressive improvisation of New York’s creative music scene. His music has received two ASCAP composition awards, and has been praised in Downbeat (4.5 stars), All About Jazz (4.5 stars), Stereogum, Jazzwise, and the New York City Jazz Record (Best Debut, 2018). His performance of Frederic Rzewski’s Squares at Spectrum last year was listed among the best concerts of 2018 by the New York Classical Review. Recent collaborators include Tyshawn Sorey, Wadada Leo Smith, Brian Chase, and Jon Irabagon. A Yale graduate and Rhodes Scholar, Zucker has performed throughout New York at such venues as Carnegie Hall, The Stone, Roulette, and the Jazz Gallery, as well as in 22 countries around the world.

14 December 2019, 7pm: Augustus Arnone: “The Romantic (re)Generation”

Johannes Brahms — Capriccio in C Major, Opus 76, no.8
Johannes Brahms — Ballade in B Minor, Opus 10, no.4
Michael Finnissy — Brahms Lieder (2015) *composed for Augustus Arnone
Donald Martino — Fantasies And Impromptus (1981)

Augustus Arnone is an adventurous pianist who has made a home at the edge of transcendental extremes in the modern repertory. His repertoire includes the complete works for solo piano by Milton Babbitt and Michael Finnissy's complete monumental eleven movement piano cycle, "The History Of Photography In Sound," as well as works by Cage, Xenakis, Stockhausen, Rzewski, Carter, Nono, Lucier, Feldman, Martino, Rakowski, Sierra, Campion and Eckardt. Composers who have written for him include Michael Finnissy, Robert Morris, Christopher Bailey, Yotam Haber, Elizabeth Hoffman, Jeff Snyder, Michael Klingbeil, Elizabeth Adams, Lou Bunk, Spencer Topel, and more. A stalwart champion of the ever controversial Babbitt, Mr. Arnone performed the composer's complete solo piano music on two occasions, first in 2008 at Merkin Concert Hall, New York City, and again in 2016, in honor of the centenary of Babbitt's birth year. He is currently recording the cycle for commercial release. Mr. Arnone has been presented at venues throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn including Merkin Concert Hall, the Issue Project Room, Roulette Concert Space, the cell, the Firehouse Space, Spectrum, and the Greenwich House. Driven to a large extent by the writings of Marshall McLuhan, Mr. Arnone began the Collide-O-Scope Music series of collaborative concerts in the Spring of 2010 along with composers Stephen Gorbos and Christopher Bailey. The fundamental artistic directive behind these concerts was the simultaneous combination of numerous diverse media forms, both visual and aural, electronic and acoustic. Now in its Tenth Season, the Collide-O-Scope Music concerts, besides featuring cutting-edge ambitious repertoire, have remained experimental and perceptually challenging, mingling the old with the new, and fixed compositional forms with improvisation and musique concrète. Collide-O-Scope Music's debut album, "Eidos," featuring music by Jason Eckardt, Robert Morris, Lou Bunk, and Yotam Haber, is now available for purchase at BandCamp and CDBaby.

15 December 2019, 3pm: Kathleen Supove/Exploding Piano

Kathleen Supové's Exploding Piano program will feature the world premiere of "No More Than A Flash Of Lightning" by Randall Woolf, for pIano, shakuhachi, and banjo. Guest artists are James Nyoraku Schlefer, shakuhachi, and James Moore, banjo. Commissioned by KS with co-sponsorship by Spectrum, the work was made possible by the Brooklyn Arts Council, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Brooklyn Arts Fund (DCLA) is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC). Other works TBA.

Kathleen Supové/The Exploding Piano is always in search of new adventures and new meanings for piano performance in the 21st Century. Her most recent album, Eye To Ivory (Starkland), is receiving much attention on alternative radio stations, college radio stations, and in written media. A current project in progress addresses the many forms of MIGRATiON. She is also thrilled to perform with two brilliant artists named James: James Moore and James Schlefer! Follow all this on: or on Facebook (Kathleen Supove, Exploding Piano).

15 December 2019, 5pm: Eleonor Sandresky

Strange Energies, 8 etudes for solo piano by Eleonor Sandresky

(Rescheduled from 12/19)

Described by Houston Arts as "fresh" and "unusual" with a "delivery that is captivating and true," Eleonor Sandresky's music has been featured at Cannes and the Venice Biennale. Available on Koch International, Sony, One Soul Records, ERM Media, and Albany Record labels, her music is performed internationally, from Budapest's Opera House to the Center for Electronic Music in Morelia, Mexico. Much of her recent works are for choreographed musicians, a genre that she has created to enlarge the musical and emotional meaning through a hybrid form that merges and expands the choreography of playing with the actual music-making. To further that goal, she invented the Wonder Suit, a wearable wireless sensor system that triggers electronic events and processes in her choreographed pieces. A founding member of the improvising composer-driven Ensemble 50, she is one of New York’s pre-eminent new music pianists, with performances and premieres of new works by a wide range of composers from Egberto Gismonti to Philip Glass. Deeply involved in the genre of live music and film, she composes, conducts and produces concerts of her own scores, as well as that of Leonard Bernstein and Philip Glass. To learn more, please visit

15 December 2019, 7pm: Erika Dohi plays original music from I, Castorpollux

I, Castorpollux is Japanese-native pianist Erika Dohi’s debut album, a collection of personal new works that combine prepared piano sounds with layers of 70’s vintage synth electronics. Inspired by saxophonist/composer Jonathan Ragonese’s mythological work of the same name, I, Castorpollux is a focused expression of Dohi’s inner conflicts, from her continual desire to abandon stylistic convention and musical familiarity, to her struggle as an immigrant to find a new sense of home.

Pianist Erika Dohi, a multi-faceted artist with an eclectic musical background that ranges from traditional classical music to improvisation and new music, has been described as a “dynamic” performer whose “technique is decidedly unidiomatic” (Classicalite). Erika appeared at The Hollywood Bowl with indie band Wye Oak, opening for Bon Iver and Tu Dance with a Metropolis Ensemble performance of William Brittelle's Spiritual America. Last year, she joined the six-piano group Grand Band, which was recently featured at the Liquid Music series in St. Paul. That performance included a commissioned world-premiere by composer Missy Mazzoli. As an improviser, she joined Wadada Leo Smith during his residency at The Stone and for his CREATE Festival in Spring 2019. Erika is a co-founder of BLUEPRINTS Piano Series, a project that unites pianists from different genres for eclectic concerts that mix classical music, contemporary, jazz and improvisation. Erika is also the co-founder of RighteousGIRLS with flutist Gina Izzo. The duo fuses classical, contemporary, and jazz, while inviting some of today’s most prominent composers to create genre-blurring new music. Currently she’s working on her solo debut album, consisting of her own compositions and improvisation.

15 December 2019, 8:30pm: Matt Mitchell

Matt Mitchell is a pianist and composer interested in the intersections of various strains of acoustic, electric, composed, and improvised new music. He currently composes for and leads several ensembles featuring many of the current foremost musicians and improvisers, including Tim Berne, Kim Cass, Kate Gentile, Ben Gerstein, Jon Irabagon, Travis Laplante, Ava Mendoza, Miles Okazaki, Ches Smith, Chris Speed, Tyshawn Sorey, Chris Tordini, Anna Webber, Dan Weiss. He is an anchor member of several significant creative music ensembles which integrate composed and improvised music, including Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, the Dave Douglas Quintet, John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble, Dan Weiss’s Starebaby, Jonathan Finlayson’s Sicilian Defense, Steve Coleman’s Natal Eclipse, Kate Gentile’s Mannequins, Mario Pavone’s Blue Dialect Trio, Anna Webber’s Simple Trio, Ches Smith’s We All Break, the Dave King Trio, and Quinsin Nachoff’s Flux. He is also among the core performers of John Zorn’s Bagatelles.

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