Versatile and passionate internationally touring pianist Inna Faliks, who currently makes her home in Los Angeles and is professor and head of the piano department at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music, brings her one woman concert-theater experience, Polonaise-Fantaisie: Story of a Pianist, home for one free performance on June 8, 2018 at 7:30pm at Schoenberg Hall, 445 Charles E Young Drive East, University of California, Los Angeles, CA. Admission is free; further information is available by clicking here.

Ms. Faliks, known for her moving and committed interpretations in performances at venues throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, such as Carnegie Weill Hall in New York City and The National Performing Arts Center in Beijing, offers this live performance to complement her double CD on Delos Records – Polonaise-Fantaisie: The Story of a Pianist.

The thirteen works on this recording span 289 years in their dates of composition and run the gamut from Bach and Mozart to Gershwin and Elliott Carter. The musical tracks appearing on the CD are interspersed with writings by the pianist chronicling her upbringing in Odessa, Ukraine; her musical and romantic awakenings; and her subsequent immigration to the US as a Jewish refugee. Each selection illustrates or relates to the text, either autobiographically or contextually. The album, which was recorded at UCLA, has been released in physical and digital format and is available at delosmusic.com as well as on AmazoniTunesSpotify, and more.

The musical selections featured are unified by their brevity. Representing a huge variety of styles, they are carefully curated to be emotionally and texturally illustrative of events unfolding in the life experience of the protagonist.


Works in the live performance are:

*Rodion Shchedrin: Basso Ostinato
*J.S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue in G-sharp Minor, The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1
*Jan Freidlin: Ballade in Black and White* – *composed for Inna Faliks in 2011
*W.A. Mozart: Fantasia in D Minor, K 397
*Chopin-Liszt: The Maiden’s Wish
*Paganini-Liszt: La Campanella
*Frédéric Chopin: Polonaise-fantaisie, Op. 61
*Ludwig van Beethoven: 6 Bagatelles, opus 126


For more information about Inna Faliks, please visit innafaliks.com.

TORCHTORCH comprises Brian Chin, trumpet; Eric Likkel, clarinets; Ben Thomas: vibes, bandoneón, and percussion; and Steve Schermer, bass. Conservatory trained, and yet jazz informed, all members of this Seattle based quartet are improvisers and also write for the group. The group’s name is inspired by the Thomas Mann quote, “Art is the sacred torch that must shed its merciful light into all life’s terrible depths.

TORCH’s self-titled first full-length album features the varied and vibrant sounds of their composer collective. As an advocate for collaboration, TORCH works with visual artists, dancers, and creatives of all types to inspire socially conscious art.  A voyage of thirteen selections spanning forty minutes represents a wide representation of the diverse styles and influences of this ensemble from 20th century classical to contemporary jazz, European post-rock, and Argentine tango. From the modern tango inspired opening track “Tangent 7”, to the Bartok-inspiredAir” and Satie/Stravinsky adaptations, TORCH has landed solidly as a contemporary chamber ensemble worthy of note.

Member Brian Chin adds: “With enough repertoire for five records, we decided to create an album that could speak to some of the best of what we do while holding together as a stand alone recording.

Physical and digital distribution for TORCH is through their own Common Tone Records imprint, and is now available through CDBaby, Bandcamp, Amazon, Spotify, and through their website TorchTheMusic.com. It will also soon be available on iTunes.

The album was engineered by Floyd Reitsma (Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam) on August 30-31, 2017, at Nickerson Studios, Seattle, WA. It was self-produced by TORCH, and mastered by Ed Brooks.


Tracks included:

Tangent 7 (Ben Thomas) 3:08
Air (Brian Chin) 4:01
The Surface of an Emerald (Ben Thomas) 1:45
Tennis (Erik Satie | Eric Likkel) 0:49
Yachtie (Erik Satie | Eric Likkel) 3:55
Fire (Ben Thomas) 3:01
Nana (Manuel de Falla | Brian Chin) 3:29
Valse d’Alchimie (Eric Likkel) 1:44
Larghetto-Land (Igor Stravinsky | Brian Chin) 2:13
Lento Bash (Igor Stravinsky | Brian Chin) 3:39
Picardy (Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence) (Trad. French | Eric Likkel) 3:57
April 21 (Rabbit) (Ben Thomas) 5:16


For more about TORCH, please visit TorchTheMusic.com.

Shared with permission by author Natalia Dagenhart

Jennifer Higdon, composer
Jennifer Higdon, composer

“The eternal feminine leads us upwards,” said Goethe in the final lines of “Faust.” These wise words say it all. Although the role of women, as well as the role of women composers, is often underestimated, women did shape this world and particularly the world of classical music more than we think. A great example is the ninth-century abbess and composer Kassiani, whose beautiful scores survived up to our days. Chicago Sinfonietta, one of the most diverse orchestras in America, is happy to demonstrate the talent of women composers in its concert program called “Hear Me Roar.” It will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 11 at Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville and at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 12 at Symphony Center in Chicago.

“‘Hear Me Roar’ will be a celebration of the many contributions women have made to the field of classical music,” said Jim Hirsch, Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Sinfonietta. “As a part of Chicago Sinfonietta’s 30th anniversary season, this concert reflects our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by showcasing works composed by women and is the centerpiece concert of our year-long Project W commissioning project.”

Interestingly, during its 30th anniversary season Chicago Sinfonietta has been presenting a higher percentage of works by women composers than any other orchestra in the United States. Chicago Sinfonietta’s year-long initiative called Project W with its statement “Women Rule” is a great way to demonstrate the unique talent and mastership of female composers. Only by promoting music written by women and by making it available to various audiences is it possible to prove that women composers are as skillful as men and are capable of creating timeless masterpieces.

“‘Hear Me Roar’ takes Chicago Sinfonietta into uncharted repertoire with two major new commissions among three Chicago Premieres,” said Maestro Mei-Ann Chen. “The entire program is comprised of incredible works created by women composers – both past and present. While Jennifer Higdon and Reena Esmail represent the new generation of composers who are making symphonic history with every piece they compose, Florence Price and Dora Pejačević wrote music that has literally become the hidden gem of the orchestral repertoire as very few music lovers know their music well.”

This brilliant concert program will be the fourth out of five main stage programs of this concert season. Maestro Chen, Chicago Sinfonietta’s beloved and extremely enthusiastic music director and conductor who celebrates her seventh year with the Chicago Sinfonietta, will lead the program. “Hear Me Roar” will feature such talented instrumentalists as Carol Dylan, violin; Karen Nelson, violin; Marlea Simpson, viola; and Ann Griffin, cello. Interestingly, “Hear Me Roar” falls right after International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8, and within Women’s History Month (March).

“Under the baton of Music Director Mei-Ann Chen, the Sinfonietta will open the concert with Florence Price’s Dances in the Canebrakes,” noted Mr. Hirsch. “Price was the first African-American to have a symphonic work performed by a major American Orchestra. She has recently been rediscovered thanks in large part to Maestro Chen’s programming of her works with Chicago Sinfonietta and other orchestras. The first half concludes with Dance Card, a work co-commissioned by Chicago Sinfonietta by Grammy Award winning composer Jennifer Higdon.”

Price was born in Arkansas in 1887, and after intensively studying music and attending the New England Conservatory, she and her family moved to Chicago in 1927. Eventually, Chicago brought her fame and recognition, but her path wasn’t the easiest one. Price created more than three hundred compositions and was inducted into the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 1940, but after her death in 1953 her music was partially lost and partially forgotten. Chicago Sinfonietta is proud to demonstrate all the passion and the talent of this African-American female composer who deserves to be praised for her hard work, enthusiasm and mastership. Her piece called “Dances in the Canebrakes” will touch the heart of every member of the audience.

It will be followed by the Chicago premiere of “Dance Card” written by Jennifer Higdon, one of America’s most frequently performed living composers. Despite the fact that Higdon started late in music, she achieved a lot as a musician and composer and has become a major figure in contemporary classical music. She received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto, a 2010 Grammy for her Percussion Concerto, and a 2018 Grammy for her Viola Concerto. She is just another example of how far a woman composer can go and how much a woman can achieve. In one of her notes about “Dance Card,” Higdon enthusiastically wrote: “‘Dance Card’ is a celebration of the joy, lyricism and passion of a group of strings playing together!” Chicago Sinfonietta is happy to demonstrate all these emotions to its audience.

“The second half of the concert begins with another commissioned work, this time a world premiere by Reena Esmail entitled #MeToo,” added Mr. Hirsch. “All three of these works [premieres] will be recorded for our 16th CD and released on Cedille Records in 2019. The concert concludes with the first movement of Symphony in F-sharp minor by Dora Pejačević. This seldom heard symphony is an early example of a composition by a women composer that should be a part of the standard repertoire of orchestras all over the world.”

The piece with the modern title #MeToo is written by Indian-American composer Reena Esmail whose works combine both the features of Indian and Western classical music. This unique composer brings communities together through the creation of pieces that are loved and understood by people with different backgrounds. Her compositions are successfully performed throughout the US and abroad and have been programmed at Carnegie Hall, the Barbican Centre in London, Schloss Esterhazy in Hungary, and throughout India. Esmail holds degrees in composition from The Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music, and was a Fulbright grantee to India. Her piece #MeToo is so unique that it is worth hearing it!

The first movement of Symphony in F-sharp minor by Croatian composer Dora Pejačević will conclude the concert. Pejačević was and still is one of the most influential figures in Croatian music. She is known for bringing orchestral song to Croatian late-Romantic music. During her short life (she lived only thirty eight years) she composed fifty seven completed works. It will be an unforgettable Chicago Premiere of Pejačević’s unique and colorful piece that will make this concert program unforgettable!

If you are interested in supporting women composers and hearing their remarkable compositions, please call Chicago Sinfonietta at 312-284-1554 or purchase tickets online at www.chicagosinfonietta.org. Tickets range from $20-$99 for concerts at Symphony Center and $49-$62 for concerts at North Central College with special $10 pricing available for students at both concerts. Ticket holders are invited before the concert and during intermission to experience activities with Girls Rock! Chicago and YWCA. These activities are presented as part of BRIDGE – Chicago Sinfonietta’s audience engagement thematic concert programming established to break social, racial, and economic barriers within the symphonic experience.

Natalia Dagenhart

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TORCH
Seattle-based quartet TORCH is poised to release their debut CD, TORCH in May 2018. TORCH comprises Brian Chin, trumpet; Eric Likkel, clarinets; Ben Thomas: vibes, bandóneon, and percussion; and Steve Schermer, bass.

Conservatory trained, and yet jazz informed, all members are improvisers and also write for the group. The group’s name is inspired by the Thomas Mann quote, “Art is the sacred torch that must shed its merciful light into all life’s terrible depths.

On Saturday, March 10, 2018, join TORCH and friends Juliet McMains (Choreographer), Scott Kolbo (Visual Artist), and students from the UW Department of Dance at the Alhadeff Studio Theater at Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center for a celebration of the upcoming self-titled album and the launch of TORCH as a program of Common Tone Arts, a non-profit organization committed to inspiring positive change for our diverse world through arts education and music.
This CD Pre-Release Party will take place at Alhadeff Studio Theater at Cornish Playhouse, Seattle Center, 201 Mercer St., 7:30 pm; Tickets $15 general / $10 students. Tickets are available online.

In 2012, the members of TORCH asked themselves, “What would it sound like if we created music that could exist as both intellectually rich and crafted with precision while maintaining a palpable groove without using a drummer?” The TORCH quartet was born, answering the question with series of self-composed, original programs of music.

Based in contemporary classical composition, modern tango, and jazz improvisation, TORCH bridges gaps between genres, re-imagines works from master composers of the 20th century, and demonstrates an indie-band model of self-composition as a contemporary chamber music ensemble.

TORCH’s self-titled first full-length album features the varied and vibrant sounds of their composer collective. As an advocate for collaboration, TORCH works with visual artists, dancers, and creatives of all types to inspire socially conscious art.

Physical and digital distribution for this self-released title is through CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and the album will also be available directly through TORCH. Produced by TORCH, the album was recorded on August 30-31, 2017, at Nickerson Studios, Seattle, WA.

# # #

For more about TORCH, please visit torchthemusic.com

In conjunction with its Project W initiative which makes bold steps for gender equity in classical music, Chicago Sinfonietta announces performances of Hear Me Roar at Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville, IL (March 11, 2018, 3pm); and at Symphony Center, Chicago (March 12, 2018, 7:30pm).

This performance is the fourth of five Main Stage programs throughout the Sinfonietta’s 30th Anniversary Season. Maestro Mei-Ann Chen, who is Music Director of Chicago Sinfonietta, will conduct. Chicago Sinfonietta is Chicago’s professional orchestra dedicated to modeling and promoting diversity, inclusion, and both racial and cultural equity in the arts.

This timely and topical program includes new works Dance Card by recent Grammy winner Jennifer Higdon, as well as #MeToo by Reena Esmail, both commissioned as part of Sinfonietta’s Project W initiative. Featured instrumentalists include Carol Dylan, violin; Karen Nelson, violin; Marlea Simpson, viola; and Ann Griffin, cello. Hear Me Roar falls right after International Women’s Day (March 8) and within Women’s History Month (March).

The Program includes:
*Dances in the Canebrakes by Florence B. Price
*Dance Card by Jennifer Higdon (Chicago Premiere)
*#MeToo by Reena Esmail (World Premiere)
*Symphony in F sharp minor, Op. 41 by Dora Pejačević (Chicago Premiere)

The concert will be performed at Wentz Concert Hall, North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Ave, Naperville, IL on Sunday, March 11 at 3pm; and at Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL on Monday, March 12 at 7:30pm.

Tickets range from $20-$99 for concerts at Symphony Center and $49-$62 for concerts at North Central College with special $10 pricing available for students at both concerts. Tickets can be purchased by calling Chicago Sinfonietta at 312-284- 1554 or online at chicagosinfonietta.org. Hear Me Roar is sponsored in part by Skadden, ITW, and Fifth Third Bank, in partnership with YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. Chicago Sinfonietta Season Sponsors include Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aon, and Southwest Airlines.

Ticket holders are invited pre-show and during intermission to experience activities with Girls Rock! Chicago and YWCA. These activities are presented as part of BRIDGE – Chicago Sinfonietta’s audience engagement thematic concert programming established to break social, racial, and economic barriers within the symphonic experience.

Leading Women Executives, an experiential program for high-potential women who are prepared to advance from senior management roles to executive leadership positions, is sponsoring a private event for their alumnae prior to the concert, with Motorola Solutions as co-host. The pre-concert event includes a networking reception & panel discussion with a panel of female conductors, composers and musicians.

Hear Me Roar takes Chicago Sinfonietta into uncharted repertoire with two major new commissions among three Chicago Premieres” says Music Director Chen. She continues: “the entire program is comprised of incredible works created by women composers – both past and present. While Jennifer Higdon and Reena Esmail represent the new generation of composers who are making symphonic history with every piece they compose, Florence Price and Dora Pejačević wrote music that has literally become the hidden gem of the orchestral repertoire as very few music lovers know their music well. With less than 2% of the symphonic repertoire annually performed by American professional orchestras being works written by women, the Chicago Sinfonietta has hit the national radar championing for one of the most underrepresented minorities in the classical music world – the women who expressed their life experiences through the musical voices of symphony orchestras.”


For more information, please visit chicagosinfonietta.org