By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Pianists Lois Svard and Jenny Lin will perform in concert Monday, Nov. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rooke Recital Hall of the Weis Music Building at Bucknell University.
The program, "For Merce," celebrates American dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was at the forefront of the American avant-garde for more than 50 years before his death in 2009. Considered one of the most creative figures in American dance, he was known for his collaborations with artists in other disciplines including musicians, painters, designers and architects, perhaps most notably, composer John Cage and artist Robert Rauschenberg.
"For Merce" celebrates Cunningham's collaborations with composers spanning several decades, from Morton Feldman in the 1950s to Stephan Moore and John King in the 2000s. The program ranges from a work for prepared piano to a work composed as a graphic score (no notes, just images) to a computer-generated work that samples the rhythms and pitches of the entire program to create the final work, "In Summary."
The program, which is free and open to the public, is supported by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant and the Kushell Music Endowment.
Considered one of the most respected young pianists today, Lin is admired for her adventurous programming and charismatic stage presence as well as her ability to combine classical and contemporary literature.
She has been acclaimed for her "remarkable technical command" and "a gift for melodic flow" by The New York Times. Gramophone Magazine has hailed her as "an exceptionally sensitive pianist."
Lin's recent orchestral engagements have included Beethoven's Choral Fantasy at Carnegie Hall with the Collegiate Chorale and the American Symphony, and performances with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the La Orquesta Sinfonica de Gijon in Spain; the SWR Rundfunkorchester in Germany, the Orchestra Sinfonica Nationale della RAI in Italy, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan. She has performed at Bucknell, most recently last November in the Weis Center Series.
Well-known as a champion of contemporary American piano music, Svard has been described as "an impassioned musician," (The Wire) who plays "with excellent taste, great intellectual and artistic curiosity, and rock-solid technique."
She has premiered more than a dozen works written for her by American experimental composers as diverse as Robert Ashley, "Blue" Gene Tyranny, Alvin Lucier, Annea Lockwood, William Duckworth, Kyle Gann, and Elodie Lauten.
Her DVD of Annea Lockwood's prepared-piano work, "Ear-Walking Woman," met with critical acclaim in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Critics called it "fascinating," "irresistible," and "a significant contribution to the performance, composition, and study of contemporary avant-garde piano music."
She has performed at festivals, in art galleries, and on university campuses throughout the United States and in Europe, and at concerts ranging from the Honolulu Academy of Art to the Barbican Center in London.
Svard holds a doctorate in piano performance from the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University where she studied with Ann Schein. She was professor of piano at Bucknell University until 2011 when she left academia to devote her time to performing, research and writing.
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