Piano Spheres announces the Leonard Stein Artist Residency and our newest Core Artist Aron Kallay
Piano Spheres is pleased to announce the appointment of pianist William Chapman Nyaho as its first resident artist for the organization’s newly formed Leonard Stein Artist Residency for historically underrepresented groups beginning the 2022/23 season. The Stein Residencyis a new performance and project-based program dedicated to locating, supporting and presenting pianists from historically underrepresented groups who specialize in the performance of contemporary classical piano music. Dr. Nyaho will perform a solo recital on the organization’s Core Artist series in 2023, and will also participate in several educational projects that will shine a light on his life’s work of researching, performing, and teaching the music of the African Diaspora.
Piano Spheres is also pleased to announce the appointment of pianist Aron Kallay as its newest Core Artist. Kallay joins founding pianists Gloria Cheng, Susan Svrček, Vicki Ray and Mark Robson, along with the piano duo HOCKET (Sarah Gibson and Thomas Kotcheff) as the organization’s Core Artists, performing concerts at Zipper Concert Hall, and mentoring young pianists through its Emerging Artists program. Kallay will present his first Core Artist recital as part of the 2022/23 season, and will also perform a movement of Frederic Rzewski’s 2021 Piano Spheres commission “Suite” on April 16th, 2022 as part of the organization’s upcoming tribute to the late pianist/composer.
William Chapman Nyaho is a Ghanaian American concert pianist specializing in solo piano music by composers from Africa and the African diaspora. Dr. Nyaho earned his degrees from St. Peter’s College, Oxford University, M.M. from the Eastman School of Music and D.M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He also studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève, Switzerland. Chapman Nyaho currently serves on the faculty at Pacific Lutheran University and runs his private piano studio in Seattle. Washington. He is also on the summer faculty of Interlochen Center for the Arts. His professional experience includes being a North Carolina Visiting Artist and Associate Professor of Music at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he held the Heymann Endowed Professorship and was the recipient of the Distinguished Professor Award. He has served as Visiting Professor of Piano at Colby College, Maine, Artist-in-Residence at Willamette University, Oregon and piano professor at Adamant Music School, Vermont. As an active solo recitalist, a member of the Nyaho/Garcia Duo, a chamber musician and lecturer, his passion is advocating music by composers of the African Diaspora. Dr. Nyaho is also the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of the Music Teachers National Association.
Grammy® nominated pianist Aron Kallay’s playing has been called “exquisite…every sound sounded considered, alive, worthy of our wonder” (LA Times). Aron’s performances often integrate technology, video, and alternate tunings, inspiring Fanfare magazine to describe him as “a multiple threat: a great pianist, brainy tech wizard, and visionary promoter of a new musical practice.” Aron has performed throughout the US and abroad and is a fixture on the LA new-music scene, regularly performing with Jacaranda, the LA Phil, and Wild Up!, amongst others. A sought-after recording artist, Aron has releases on Cold Blue, Delos, Deutsche Grammophon, and Populist Records. He is co-director of the indie label MicroFest Records, and was co-founder of People Inside Electronics and managing director of MicroFest concert series throughout the 2010s. More recently, Aron is founder and artistic director of Brightwork newmusic, a Pierrot + percussion sextet and non-profit organization dedicated to curating and presenting new work through their underground concert series Tuesdays @ Monk Space. Through Brightwork’s Project Beacon, Aron works with talented high school and college composers and performers from diverse backgrounds. In addition to his solo and chamber work, Aron performs with his duo partner, Vicki Ray, as the Ray-Kallay Duo. He is on the faculty of Pomona and Scripps colleges.
“Since moving to Los Angeles over fifteen years ago, I have been blown away by the artistic integrity, creativity, and world-class pianism of the Piano Spheres Core Artists,” Kallay says. “In fact, many of my most memorable experiences as an audience member happened at their concerts. Seeing the organization grow and expand to include the mentorship of emerging artists and the summer jazz series shows that Piano Spheres is focused firmly on the future. I am humbled and excited that the organization has asked me to join the Core Artists on a permanent basis. I look forward to continuing their tradition of thoughtful, provocative, and cutting-edge piano recitals.”
The Leonard Stein Artist Residency is a groundbreaking program for artists and communities from historically underrepresented groups that demonstrates Piano Spheres’ ongoing commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. Over a one-year period the Stein Resident Artist will be featured on Piano Spheres’ annual concert series at Zipper Hall in Los Angeles, and will assist and advise the organization in advancing one or more projects geared toward overturning biases in the field of classical new music. Some of the projects that the resident artist will collaborate on include: Inspiring Underserved Youth through performances, workshops and story-sharing with the support of community partners; serving as a mentor with Piano Spheres Emerging Artists program as a model of achievement in the classical music field; Curating a Concert Series in LA for Black pianists; and furthering Piano Spheres’ Composer Diversity Project by assisting in compiling a library of works by historically underrepresented composers, both contemporary and historical, through the Piano Spheres Collection located in the UCLA Library. Named for the Piano Spheres founder, Leonard Stein, the residency carries on his investigative and inquisitive tradition of excellence.
Dr. Nyaho says of his upcoming residency: “I am delighted and honored to be the first Leonard Stein Resident Artist for Piano Spheres. I hope to be an asset to this wonderful organization as a performing artist bringing piano music of Africa and the African diaspora to Southern California communities. I look forward to sharing great art-music by composers from the African continent and its diaspora with Piano Spheres’ audiences, with the hope of encouraging listeners, musicians, artists to seek it out. I am also excited to be adding an educational component to my time with Piano Spheres by doing outreach programs to schools and community organizations, giving workshops for Music Teachers organizations and being a role model and inspiration to young classical musicians of color. I very much look forward to my year with Piano Spheres.” One of the community organizations Dr. Nyaho will be working with during his residency is the Neighborhood Music School in Boyle Heights. Executive Director Karen Louis says, “At Neighborhood Music School, we believe that lives change through music, and music is best taught in mentorship that both honors and uplifts each musician’s individual journey. The Leonard Stein Artist Residency provides an exciting opportunity to both inspire and engage our students and faculty through the remarkable and enduring work and influences of Dr. Nyaho. “