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April 28: Pianist Sarah Cahill's The Future is Female, "At Play," - Final of Three Volumes

Pianist Sarah Cahill Announces New Album

The Future is Female, Vol. 3, At Play Final of Three Volumes Out on First Hand Records - Music by 30 Women Composers from Around the Globe

Third of a Three-Volume Series Featuring 30 Solo Piano Works by Women Composers from Around the Globe

Available April 28, 2023 on First Hand Records Downloads and CDs available to press on request

San Francisco, CA – Pianist Sarah Cahill, described as “a sterling pianist and an intrepid illuminator of the classical avant-garde” by The New York Times, announces The Future is Female, Vol. 3, At Play, her latest recording to be released April 28, 2023 on First Hand Records. The Future is Female is a three-volume series, which celebrates and highlights women composers from the 17th century to the present day. These albums encompass 30 compositions by women from around the globe and include many new commissioned works and world premiere recordings.

The Future is Female, Vol. 3, At Play features works by Hélène de Montgeroult, Cecile Chaminade, Grażyna Bacewicz, Frangiz Ali-Zadeh, Chen Yi, Pauline Oliveros, Hannah Kendall, Aida Shirazi, and Regina Harris Baiocchi. This album, centered around the theme of play, concludes the three volume collection. On Wednesday, March 8, 2023 –– in honor of International Women’s Day –– Cahill will give a four-hour performance of The Future is Female, presented by the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

In March of 2022, coinciding with the release of the first volume –– The Future is Female, Vol. 1, In Nature –– and in celebration of International Women’s Day, Cahill gave a marathon performance of The Future is Female presented by the Barbican Centre at the Barbican Conservatory. Vol. 1 In Nature features music by Anna Bon, Fanny Mendelssohn, Teresa Carreño, Leokadiya Kashperova, Fannie Charles Dillon, Vítězslava Kaprálová, Agi Jambor, Eve Beglarian, Deirdre Gribbin, Mary D. Watkins. The second album in the series, The Future is Female Vol. 2, The Dance, features works by Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Clara Schumann, Germaine Tailleferre, Zenobia Powell Perry, Madeleine Dring, Betsy Jolas, Elena Kats-Chernin, Meredith Monk, Gabriela Ortiz, and Theresa Wong.

Since the first album in The Future is Female trilogy, “In Nature” –– an album Classical-Notes describes as presenting “exemplary performances” –– listeners have wholeheartedly embraced Cahill’s celebration of historical and living women composers. BBC Music Magazine writes: “As with the fine first instalment, the American pianist [Sarah Cahill] takes us on a chronological journey that zips around the world, stitching together contrasting styles into an enjoyable musical patchwork.” Musicweb International calls Vol. 2, The Dance “a revelation,” while New Music Buff notes the “impressive command of baroque, classical, romantic, and modern idioms” that Cahill brings to both “In Nature” and “The Dance.”

Cahill started working on her project, The Future is Female, which now encompasses more than 70 compositions, in 2018. “For decades I had been working with many living American composers, including Pauline Oliveros, Tania León, Eve Beglarian, Mary D. Watkins, Julia Wolfe, Ursula Mamlok, Meredith Monk, Annea Lockwood, and many more, but felt an urgent need to explore neglected composers from the past, and from around the globe,” she explains. “Like most pianists, I grew up with the classical canon, which has always excluded women composers as well as composers of color. It is still standard practice to perform recitals consisting entirely of music written by men. The Future is Female, then, aims to be a corrective towards rebalancing the repertoire. It does not attempt to be exhaustive, in any way, and the three albums in this series represent only a small fraction of the music by women which is waiting to be performed and heard. Since recording these three albums in August 2021, I’ve performed extraordinary music by Louise Farrenc, Maria Szymanowska, Helen Hopekirk, Dora Pejačević and Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, Reena Esmail, Arlene Sierra, Viola Kinney, Marion Bauer, and many other composers who should rightfully be included in this series. The possibilities are, in fact, limitless. I am delighted to be working with First Hand Records on this three-album project, concluding with this third and final album, loosely based on the theme of ‘play’”.

Cahill has developed and performed The Future is Female as a flexible concert program, which she has been performing since the project’s inception. It has been presented as an evening-length recital performance and as a marathon performance and is ideal for concert halls, museums, and gallery spaces. The marathon performance duration is typically between four to seven hours, allowing audience members to sit and listen for any length of time, with the ability to come and go, as well as the ability to walk around the space. Recent and upcoming performances of The Future is Female include concerts presented by The Barbican, the National Gallery of Art, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Carolina Performing Arts, Carlsbad Music Festival, Detroit Institute of Arts, University of Iowa, Bowling Green New Music Festival, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, North Dakota Museum of Art, Mayville State University, the EXTENSITY Concert Series’ Women Now Festival in New York, and the Newport Classical Festival.

The Future is Female, Vol. 3, At Play | Sarah Cahill, piano | First Hand Records | Available April 28, 2023

Recorded at St. Stephen’s Church, Belvedere, California, August 15–28, 2021 | Produced and recorded by Matt Carr

Hélène de Montgeroult (1764–1836)

Sonata No. 9, op. 5 no. 3 (1811) [19:52]

1. I. Allegro spiritoso [8:10] 2. II. Adagio non troppo [4:38] 3. III. Presto [6:57]

Cecile Chaminade (1857–1944)

4. Thème varié (1898) [5:01]

Grażyna Bacewicz (1909–1969)

5. Scherzo (1934) [7:08]

Chen Yi (b. 1953)

6. Guessing (1989)† [5:15]

Frangiz Ali-Zadeh (b. 1947)

7. Music for Piano (1989-1997) [9:32]

Pauline Oliveros (1932–2016)

8. Quintuplets Play Pen (2001)* [4:15]

Hannah Kendall (b. 1984)

On the Chequer'd Field Array'd (2013) [10:40]

9. I. Middlegame [2:35] 10. II. Mindplay [5:19] 11. III. Coda [2:40]

Aida Shirazi (b. 1987)

12. Albumblatt (2017)† [6:58]

Regina Harris Baiocchi (b. 1956)

Piano Poems (2020)* [13:25]

13. I. Common Things Surprise Us [2:54] 14. II. Cockleburs in Wooly Hair Tiny Pond [3:54] 15. III. Beatitudes [2:17] 16. IV. A Candle Burns Times [4:12]

Total Time: [79:50]

Première recording * Première commercial recordings †

About Sarah Cahill: Sarah Cahill, hailed as “a sterling pianist and an intrepid illuminator of the classical avant-garde” by The New York Times anda brilliant and charismatic advocate for modern and contemporary composers” by Time Out New York, has commissioned and premiered over seventy compositions for solo piano. Composers who have dedicated works to Cahill include John Adams, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, Julia Wolfe, Roscoe Mitchell, Annea Lockwood, and Ingram Marshall. Keyboard Magazine writes, “Through her inspired interpretation of works across the 20th and 21st centuries, Cahill has been instrumental in bringing to life the music of many of our greatest living composers.” She was named a 2018 Champion of New Music, awarded by the American Composers Forum (ACF).

Cahill enjoys working closely with composers, musicologists, and scholars to prepare scores for each performance. She researched and recorded music by prominent early 20th-century American modernists Henry Cowell and Ruth Crawford and commissioned a number of new pieces in tribute to their enduring influence. She has also premiered and recorded music by Leo Ornstein, Marc Blitzstein, and other 20th century mavericks.

Cahill has worked closely with composer Terry Riley since 1997, when she commissioned his four-hand piece Cinco de Mayo for a festival at Cal Performances celebrating Henry Cowell’s 100th birthdaythe first of six works she has commissioned from him. For Riley’s 80th birthday, Cahill commissioned nine new works for solo piano in his honor and performed them with several of Riley’s own compositions at (Le) Poisson Rouge and Roulette in New York, MIT, the North Dakota Museum of Art, and other venues across the country. Sarah Cahill commissioned the late Frederic Rzewski to compose a substantial solo piano work in honor of Terry Riley’s 85th birthday.

Sarah Cahill also worked closely with Lou Harrison and has championed many of his works for piano. In 1997, Cahill was chosen to premiere his Festival Dance for two pianos with Aki Takahashi at the Cooper Union and worked with Harrison in rehearsals. She was also chosen to perform his Dance for Lisa Karon, discovered only a few years ago and not heard since its premiere in 1938, and she performed his Varied Trio, both piano concertos, and a number of solo and chamber works on her 2017 Lou Harrison tour celebrating his centennial year, with concerts in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Orlando, Miami, Hawaii, Tokyo and Fukuoka in Japan, and more. In Fall 2019, Sarah performed Lou Harrison's exuberant Concerto for Piano with Javanese Gamelan in two Berkeley performances and at the ICA Boston. She also performed and recorded the work with Gamelan Galak Tika at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Cahill has performed classical and contemporary chamber music with artists and ensembles such as Jessica Lang Dance; pianists Joseph Kubera, Adam Tendler, and Regina Myers; violinist Stuart Canin; the Alexander String Quartet; New Century Chamber Orchestra; Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and many more. She also performs as a duo with violinist Kate Stenberg.

Sarah Cahill’s discography includes more than twenty albums on the New Albion, CRI, New World, Tzadik, Albany, Innova, Cold Blue, Other Minds, Irritable Hedgehog, and Pinna labels. Cahill's latest album, The Future is Female, Vol. 2, The Dance, was released in October 2022 on First Hand Records. The Future is Female is a three-volume series, which celebrates and highlights women composers from the 17th century to the present day. These albums encompass 30 compositions by women from around the globe and include many new commissioned works and world premiere recordings. Cahill’s 2013 release A Sweeter Music (Other Minds) featured musical reflections on war by eighteen eloquent and provocative composer/activists. In 2015, Pinna Records released her two-CD set of Mamoru Fujieda’s Patterns of Plants, an extraordinary fusion of nature and technology created by identifying the musical patterns in the electrical impulses of plants. In September 2017, she released Eighty Trips Around the Sun: Music by and for Terry Riley, a box set tribute to Terry Riley, on Irritable Hedgehog Records. The four-CD set includes solo works by Riley, four-hand works with pianist Regina Myers, and world premiere recordings of commissioned works composed in honor of Riley’s 80th birthday.

Sarah Cahill’s radio show, Revolutions Per Minute, can be heard every Sunday evening from 6 to 8 pm on KALW, 91.7 FM in San Francisco. The program focuses on the relationships between classical music and new music, encompassing interviews with musicians and composers, historical performances, and recordings outside the mainstream. Cahill is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory and is a regular pre-concert speaker with the San Francisco Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

For more information, visit

The Future is Female Vol. 1 In Nature The Future is Female Vol. 2 The Dance “….delivered with real conviction “This disc is a revelation, by pianist Sarah Cahill” and is wholeheartedly recommended.

(**** / ***** BBC Music Magazine) (MusicWeb International)

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