Pianist Jenny Q Chai “Dissects” Marco Stroppa

Recently compared to pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and David Greilsammer by New York Times reviewers Anthony Tommasini and Vivien Schweitzer in reviews of her appearances at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Le Poisson Rouge, pianist Jenny Q Chai presents her lecture-recital “Dissecting Stroppa” – An Analysis of “Innige Cavatina” from Miniature Estrose by Marco Stroppa — on Monday Dec. 3rd, 7:30 PM, at Miller Hall, Manhattan School of Music, 120 Claremont Avenue, in New York City. Tel: 212 749 2802. Free Admission.

In this groundbreaking performance mixing academics with theater, Chai, wearing a doctor’s lab coat, will “dissect Stroppa” and in particular, his recent work, “Innige Cavatina” from the collection Miniature Estrose. Chai met the composer Marco Stroppa in Darmstadt, Germany five years ago, and she was immediately enthralled by his music. The two kept in touch musically, and Stroppa introduced Chai to Pierre-Laurent Aimard, with whom she has studied for two years. This lecture-recital is taking place as part of Jenny Q Chai’s D.M.A. thesis and dissertation on Stroppa.

For her debut at Zankel Hall, pianist Jenny Q Chai was praised by the New York Times’ Anthony Tommasini for her “resourceful technique and sensitivity” as well as playing that is “admirable for its refinement and directness.” Of her performance at the Keys to the Future Festival, Zachary Woolfe wrote, also in the New York Times: “Jenny Q Chai opened the concert playing two of Ligeti’s Études with rich tone and rhythmic clarity; especially strong was her “Cordes à vide.” Chai is an active pianist specializing in contemporary music, and in addition to Carnegie Hall, Jenny has played at New York venues such as Roulette, Symphony Space, the Stone and recently made her Chicago debut playing Schumann’s Kreisleriana at the Dame Myra Hess Series. Recipient of the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust’s 2011 Pianist/Composer Commissioning Project, first prize winner of the Keys to the Future Contemporary Solo Piano Festival, and recipient of the DAAD Arts and Performance award in 2010, Chai has premiered, most notably, Life Sketches and Five Pieces (for Jenny Q Chai) by Nils Vigeland, Intimate Rejection by Ashley Fu-Tsun Wang, Messiaen’s Canteyodjaya (China premiere) and Marco Stroppa’s Innige Cavatina (US premiere). Chai has also premiered “Marriage (Mile 58) Section F” from The Road by Frederick Rzewski in Ghent, Belgium, where she was given the Logos Award for the best performance of 2008. Chai played the first contemporary solo piano concert in China this June at the National Performing Arts Center in Beijing; and she recently had the privilege of introducing the concept of prepared piano to a Chinese audience, with the world premiere of Mallet Dance by John Slover, in Shanghai Concert Hall. She has recently lectured at NYU, Manhattan School of Music, and in Shanghai at Fu Dan University and at FaceArt Music InterNations.

Composer, researcher and professor, Marco Stroppa was born in Verona, Italy, and has composed for both acoustical instruments and new media. His repertoire includes works for concerts, one music drama, two radio operas and various special projects. He often groups several works around large cycles exploring specific compositional projects, such as a series of concertos for instrument and a spatialized orchestra or ensemble inspired by poems of W.B. Yeats, a book of Miniature Estrose, seven pieces for solo piano, a cycle of works for solo instrument and chamber electronic music inspired by poems of e. e. cummings, and two string quartets. He has worked as a composer and researcher, and teacher at IRCAM (where he was selected by Pierre Boulez to be the director of Musical Research starting in 1987), and he founded the composition and computer music workshop at the International Bartók Festival in Szombathély, Hungary. He taught composition at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris and Lyon and since 1999 he has been full professor of composition and computer music at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart. He studied at the Conservatories of Verona, Milan and Venice and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship. Among Stroppa’s significant pedagogical contributions is a masterclass in composition and interpretation with pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris in 1988.