Susan Svrcek at Boston Court Sept. 20 8:00 p.m.

Susan plays Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata

What do Emerson, Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott and Hawthorne have in common?  They are all writers who embraced Transcendental philosophy, and each has a movement named after them in Charles Ives’ monumental musical ode to Transcendentalism.  Rarely performed, not to be missed. for tickets.  Piano Spheres discount code: SPHERES

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Susan Svrcek: Cage, Sonatas and Interludes — CD review

Cage CD cover (small)
Susan Svrcek, p-Centaur 3137-76 minutes
John Cage, Sonatas & Interludes
This release documents a concert performance in Los Angeles from 2006. Svrcek studied at CalArts, USC, and Yale; she’s active in the southern California music scene and boasts an unusually wide repertory. In a market that is absolutely glutted with recordings of Cage’s greatest early work, hers is more than a mere contender. Though it begins somewhat tentatively- I had the feeling that her acquaintance with the piece was rather recent-she soon settles in to deliver a reading dynamic and bristling with subtlety. Her performance of Sonata B stuns me with its effortless and yet highly expressive serenity. From the moment she plays the Second Interlude where the piece’s active engagement between prepared tones and non-prepared ones begins in earnest-the performance is gripping and unforgettable. This reading ranks with my top two favorites, Vand6 on Mode (Sept/Oct 1996) and Goldstein on Greensye (July/Aug 1997). Sound is very good.
–Haskins, American Record Guide, May/June 2013
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Don’t miss Vicki Ray at Pasadena’s Boston Court July 12!

image001 Continue reading

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Tribute to Leonard Stein: KUSC Interview Plus UCLA concert May 4

Tune in to 91.5 KUSC’s Arts Alive on the web as a podcast to hear UCLA’s Music Librarian David Gilbert in conversation with host Brian Lauritzen.  Leonard Stein, Piano Spheres’ founder, placed his archive in Special Collections in the UCLA Performing Arts Library. Here’s the link.

The Library, together with Piano Spheres, paid tribute to this great teacher, impresario, scholar, mentor, and friend with a free concert this Saturday, May 4 at 8:00 p.m. at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall. Stein, who was Assistant to Arnold Schoenberg and editor of some of his theoretical works, including Style and Idea, was also the founding director of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute at USC.

The free concert included a rarely performed arrangement of Schoenberg’s Prelude to the Gurrelieder for two pianos, eight hands by Anton Webern.

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Tune in! Gloria Cheng to be interviewed on KPFK February 14

Prior to her Boston Court Recital February 15 (use discount code EDGE when ordering), Gloria Cheng will be interviewed on John Schneider’s Global Village Thursday, February 14  which airs between 11 and 1.  Be sure to listen in: KPFK-FM 90.7!

Also watch for her interview in the Pasadena Sun.

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Gloria Cheng at Boston Court February 15

Piano Spheres’ 2013 series at Pasadena’s Boston Court opens with Gloria Cheng: The Edge of Light on February 15 at 8:00 p.m.  We will also be celebrating Gloria’s soon-to-be-released Harmonia mundi recording of the same name with solo piano and chamber works by Olivier Messiaen and Kaija Saariaho.  The CD represents the first recordings available of Saariaho’s piano works.  With a release date scheduled for mid-March, be the first to get yours, along with the opportunity to have it signed by the musicians!

For tickets, go to and save $5 off General Admission with code: EDGE

Boston Court Theater
70 North Mentor Avenue
Pasadena  (626)683-5883

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Susan Svrcek Piano Spheres Recital March 5

Sonatine, Op. 1 No. 1 (1958) – Arvo Pärt
Mood of a Goddess (2001)- Stephen Cohn
Frisson (2010)- Stephen Cohn (world premiere)
Selections from Fugitive Pieces (2004/05) – Gilead Mishory
La Quinta del Sordo (2011/`12) – Carlos Rafael Rivera (world premiere, PS commission)
Eight Memories in Watercolor, Op. 1 (1978/79) – Tan Dun

Susan writes:
My recital is one of “firsts” — first performances, and first piano compositions.  The program begins with Arvo Pärt’s Sonatine No. 1, dedicated to Professor Bruno Lukk, and ends with Tan Dun’s first collection of piano pieces.  In between, two world premieres are included — one by Carlos Rafael Rivera, the other by Stephen Cohn. The pieces to be performed also make reference to other art forms, namely painting and literature.  The Rivera work pays homage to several paintings by Francisco de Goya, while Tan Dun’s first piano pieces are entitled Eight Memories in Watercolor.  A set of pieces central to the recital are the very moving Fugitive Pieces by Gilead Mishory, after the novel of the same name by Anne Michaels.

Read about Susan here.  Buy tickets here.

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Vicki Ray and Friends Piano Spheres Recital January 22

As Piano Spheres begins to ease into its 20th Anniversary season next fall, the intrepid Vicki Ray “and Friends” stake out adventurous territory in the spheres of pianism in her annual recital on January 22 (8:00 p.m. at The Colburn School).
Congenially sharing the spotlight with “friends” equal to her stratospheric piano playing, Ray has invited musical luminaries Sara Andon, Erika Duke Kirkpatrick, Lars Hoefs, Aron Kallay, Joanne Pearce Martin, and Jeanne Skrocki for an evening of radical chamber music.
With the 1924 Sonata of Igor Stravinsky as programmatic anchor, Ray weaves a multi-cultural thread through Asia, Europe and the US with works by Chinary Ung, Enno Poppe, Kaija Saariaho, Bruce Reiprich and Edmund Campion.
The complete program:
Chinary UngIn Memoriam for amplified Piano Trio
Igor Stravinsky Sonata (1924)
Enno Popperad for two microtonal keyboards
Kaija Saariaho Cendres for alto flute, cello and piano
Bruce Reiprich Flowing Waters Caress Fallen Petal
Edmund CampionA Complete Wealth of Time
For Vicki Ray’s bio, please click here
“….Ray’s languid, sumptuous performance made something else apparent…(her) radiant playing served to reveal the significance of Adams’s feminine side…Yet even with all that, the real whirl came from Ray’s fingers which were on continuous virtuosic dancing display…” (Mark Swed, LA Times Feb. 2009)
“Vicki plans programs with a knack for marvelous freeform artistry; what she draws from her piano always relates in wondrous ways to all the senses.” (Alan Rich, LA Weekly)
Tickets are available on the Piano Spheres website,, by phone (323) 692-8075, and at the box office ½ hour prior to the concert.  General admission tickets are $25 and student tickets are available at $15 (with ID, one ticket per student).
“ The crowd at Zipper Hall last Tuesday night, for the first of this season’s “Piano Spheres” concerts, was one of those spectacles that renew your confidence in the future of energetic, serious musical programming.” (Alan Rich)
Piano Spheres supports and encourages the composition and performance of major new works for the piano. It expands the piano repertoire by commissioning new music and sustaining a concert series of the highest artistic quality which focuses primarily on pieces by contemporary composers.
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Svrcek and Cage: CD has been released!

A live performance by Susan Svrcek of John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes was released by Centaur on November 1, 2012.  It can be obtained at Arkiv Music (, h & b direct (, and of or course Amazon.  It is also listed online at iTunes, Spotify, Rhapsody, ClassicsOnline, Naxos Music Library, etc.

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Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo reviewed by Rick Schultz

From the LA Times review November 1: “…On Tuesday, Piano Spheres gave Nancarrow, who would have turned 100 last Saturday (he died in 1997), a birthday tribute by featuring the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo (Helena Bugallo and Amy Williams) at the Colburn School’s Zipper Hall. The duo’s generous, well-balanced program also included pieces by Amy Williams, Ligeti, Bach, Kurtág and Cage…”

Read full review here.

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