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Fred Hersch & Ethan Iverson Rework Sondheim for Anthony deMare

‘LIAISONS: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano’ to feature new interpretations

Anthony deMare and Stephen Sondheim

Pianists Fred Hersch and Ethan Iverson are among those joining with fellow pianist Anthony de Mare to present “LIAISONS: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano,” a program featuring 36 short solo piano pieces based on the music composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Commissioned purely for this project, composers of varying genres and generations are coming together to pay homage to Sondheim, whose music has dominated American musical theater for the past four decades.

This marks the first time that Sondheim songs have ever been adapted for solo piano. “‘LIAISONS’ demonstrates just how universal and timeless Sondheim’s music truly is,” explains de Mare. “The program’s collection of composers, ranging from jazz pianist Fred Hersch to film composer Thomas Newman to maverick Steve Reich, reveals Sondheim’s amazing ability to transcend the traditional boundaries of musical theater.”

Chosen by de Mare in consultation with Sondheim, the roster spans both established and emerging composers from the realms of classical, jazz, film, pop, musical theater, opera and avant-garde music. Each composer put their own spin on recognizable classics including “Send in the Clowns,” “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” and “Being Alive,” to name a few. The pieces range from direct transcriptions of original tunes (such as Ricky Ian Gordon’s re-working of “Every Day A Little Death” from A Little Night Music) to de-constructions (such as Frederic Rzewski’s “I’m Still Here”) to full-fledged paraphrases (such as David Rakowski’s “The Ladies Who Lunch” and Ricardo Lorenz’ Latin fusion of “The Worst Pies in London” and “A Little Priest”).

De Mare first had the idea for the “LIAISONS” project over 20 years ago. It later came to fruition in 2006 when de Mare and his producer secured the commissions that led to “sneak preview” premieres of selections in 2011 at the Banff Centre and the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts. “LIAISONS” will continue to preview select premieres nationwide leading up to its official New York debut at Symphony Space, welcoming Stephen Sondheim on stage for a special, intimate discussion alongside panels with several of the composers. A full recording of the project is also underway, produced by Judith Sherman, for release in 2012.

2012 LIAISONS Concert Tour

Jan 21 Hudson Opera House, Hudson, NY

Feb 4 Cliburn Concerts, Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX

Mar 12 Music at Meyer, San Francisco, CA

Apr 21 Symphony Space, New York, NY

May 1-2 Gilmore Keyboard Festival, Kalamazoo, MI

LIAISONS: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano

Program Details (subject to change; 12-14 works per concert):

Mason Bates (b. 1979) Putting it Together

Eve Beglarian (b.1958) Happiness

Derek Bermel (b. 1967) Sorry-Grateful

William Bolcom (b. 1938) Anyone Can Whistle + Send in the Clowns

Jason Robert Brown (b.1970) TBA

Kenji Bunch (b. 1973) The Ballad of Sweeney Todd Mary Ellen Childs (b. 1957) Now-Later-Soon

Michael Daugherty (b. 1954) The Gun Song + The Ballad of Booth

Adam Guettel (b.1964) Generique

Peter Golub (b. 1959) Children and Art

Ricky Ian Gordon (b. 1956) Every Day a Little Death

Annie Gosfield (b. 1960) A Bowler Hat

Jake Heggie (b. 1961) A Weekend in the Country

Fred Hersch (b. 1955) No One Is Alone

Ethan Iverson (b. 1973) Send in the Clowns

Gabriel Kahane (b. 1981) Being Alive

Jerome Kitzke (b. 1955) Sunday, Lesson #8 + Move On

Phil Kline (b. 1960) Someone In A Tree

Tania Leon (b. 1943) Good Thing Going

Ricardo Lorenz (b. 1961) The Worst Pies in London + A Little Priest

John Musto (b. 1954) Epiphany

Paul Moravec (b. 1957) Losing My Mind

Thomas Newman (b. 1955) Not While I’m Around

David Rakowski (b. 1958) The Ladies Who Lunch

Steve Reich (b. 1936) Finishing the Hat

Eric Rockwell (b. 1959) You Could Drive a Person Crazy

Daniel Bernard Roumain (b. 1972) Another Hundred People

Frederic Rzewski (b. 1938) I’m Still Here

Rodney Sharman (b. 1958) Beautiful

David Shire (b. 1936) Love is In the Air

Bernadette Speech (b. 1948) Liaisons + Send in the Clowns

Marc-Anthony Turnage (b. 1960) Pretty Women

Nils Vigeland (b. 1950) Alma Mater + Merrily We Roll Along

+ 3 composers TBA….

Originally Published