Posted November 25, 2012 3:47 pm
See the video of The Enchanted Piano: Dances for Piano with Electronics, Piano Strings, and Amplified Piano; world premiere performance at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, October 2011. James Martin, choreography; Eliza Garth, piano.
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Posted October 7, 2012 4:53 pm
By Joan Reinthaler, Published October 5, 2012
We expect music to play with both our minds and our bodies. We anticipate what’s coming next and then are surprised or gratified. With his “Sonatas and Interludes” for prepared piano, written after being introduced to the music and philosophy of India, John Cage, however, stripped away all this stuff. He intended it to be meditative in nature, a bridge between East and West, and its 20 short movements exist in the moment and set up no expectations whatsoever. It’s an hour of directionless music that hovers overhead, lingers from time to time, embraces occasional tensionless silences and rarely reminds you of anything. It’s also absorbingly lovely when played with the commitment and delicacy that pianist Eliza Garth devoted to her performance Thursday at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Center.
“Prepared” according to Cage’s instructions with an assortment of nuts and bolts, pencil erasers and plastic tubing that are stuck in between 43 of its strings, the piano in this piece is a whole percussion band that produces the sounds of gongs, bells, muffled thuds and some things too weird to describe, alongside, of course, the regular piano sounds of its un-fussed-with notes. Most of the hovering takes place quietly on the upper half keyboard and Garth, with a touch that allowed for almost ethereal transparency, played the meditative mind game expertly. That there was nary a cough, a dropped program or even an audible rustle anywhere in the audience through the whole hour spoke to her and Cage’s success.
Posted September 11, 2012 8:10 pm
In 2012, Eliza Garth celebrates the centennial of John Cage with multiple performances of his masterpiece for prepared piano, Sonatas and Interludes.
Described by the writer James Pritchett as “a big piece with a quiet voice,” Sonatas and Interludes is meditative in its esthetic; the “preparation” of the piano transforms its sound into an ensemble of gongs, chimes, and magical effects. Although Cage did not invent the instrument he named the “prepared piano,” he was a major force behind its development and is often associated with it.
An explorer at heart, John Cage studied with trailblazers (including Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg), and then in turn paved the way for trailblazers, opening up musical pathways that would later be traveled and extended by minimalist composers. In his mature years a disciple of Buddhism, he overturned conventional Western conceptions of the nature of sound and music. He is generally regarded to be one of the most influential composers of the 20th century.
Ms. Garth’s appearances performing Sonatas and Interludes include New York City, Chicago, the University of Maryland College Park, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and Lorain County (Ohio) Community College.
Curious about the prepared piano? Listen to an excerpt here.
Posted 8:02 pm
Read Eliza Garth’s interview with Mike Telin in Cleveland Classical Online.
Posted July 12, 2012 1:48 am
The 2012 edition of Piano Festival by the River at St. Mary’s College of Maryland has drawn to a close, after four days of masterclasses, private lessons, student and professional recitals, and conversation about … all things piano. Piano Festival by the River is a summer retreat for pianists. Each year a conversational thread develops that weaves the events together. This year, it grew out of Debussy’s famous statement: “Music is the space between the notes.” Festival Director Eliza Garth was joined by Beverly Babcock and Brian Ganz.
Posted July 10, 2012 1:38 pm
In May 2012 Ms. Garth returned to the Alba Music Festival , where she performed “Sound, Silence, and Color,” a recital in honor of Claude Debussy’s sesquicentennial and John Cage’s centennial, featuring works by Debussy, Cage, Cowell, and Satie. Joining her in Satie’s Les trois valses distinguées du précieux dégoûté were Ana and Rosalie Froom, and Nathaniel Silberschlag. Composer David Froom joined her in a performance of Debussy’s Six Épigraphes Antiques.
Posted April 11, 2012 8:19 pm
Ms. Garth performed Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes at Chicago’s prestigious Floating World Gallery on March 31, as a preview concert for a.pe.ri.od.ic presents A JOHN CAGE FESTIVAL.
Posted April 10, 2012 4:35 pm
Ms. Garth started the John Cage centennial year with a performance of Cage’s masterpiece for prepared piano, Sonatas and Interludes, in Merkin Concert Hall, New York City on Sunday, January 29, on the concert series of the League of Composers/ISCM.
• About the League of Composers/ISCM.
Posted October 25, 2011 1:08 pm
On October 21 and 22, 2011, Eliza Garth partnered with choreographer James Martin and dancers Traci Klein, Julie McMillan, Stevie Oakes, Kristen Schwab, Jaclyn K. Walsh in the world premiere performances of The Enchanted Piano: Dances for Piano with Electronics, Piano Strings, and Amplified Piano, at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center in New York City. The performances drew capacity audiences both nights.
Featured works in The Enchanted Piano are by celebrated American composers, each a pioneer in his own time: Aeolian Harp and Fleetingby Henry Cowell; Eine Kleine Mitternachtmusik by George Crumb; Synchronisms No. 6 by Mario Davidovsky; and Chamber Symphony by Maurice Wright.
Posted July 29, 2011 11:03 pm
In preparation for the world premiere performances in Manhattan this coming October, Eliza Garth and choreographer James Martin presented “The Enchanted Piano” at the White Mountain Summer Dance Festival at Sarah Lawrence College on July 25, with dancers Traci Klein, Julie McMillan, Kristin Schwab, Stevie Oakes, and Jacklyn Walsh.
Eliza Garth performs Pianississimo, Fantasies and Impromptus, and Suite in Old Form by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Donald Martino.
Ms. Garth’s critically acclaimed debut solo CD, this was the first recording ever devoted entirely to Martino’s piano music. Released by Centaur Records, Inc. (Centaur #2173) and available through digital download from Amazon and iTunes. Hear a soundbite.