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Out Now: Pianist Sarah Cahill’s Recording of Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Piano with Javanese Gamelan

Pianist Sarah Cahill’s Recording with Gamelan Galak Tika of

Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Piano with Javanese Gamelan

Now Available Digitally From

Cleveland Museum of Art’s Recorded Archive Editions

Listen: Apple Music | Spotify

More Information:

Pianist Sarah Cahill and Gamelan Galak Tika, under the direction of Evan Ziporyn and Jody Diamond, performed American composer Lou Harrison’s rarely heard Concerto for Piano with Javanese Gamelan for the occasion of Harrison’s centennial on October 20, 2017, presented by the Cleveland Museum of Art in Gartner Auditorium. The members of the gamelan performed on special instruments named Gamelan Si Betty, which were built by Lou Harrison and Bill Colvig and inherited by Jody Diamond from Harrison. This recording, made the day after the concert, is now available commercially from the newly launched CMA’s Recorded Archive Editions. The recording can be heard on Apple Music, Spotify, and via CMA’s dedicated website page which also includes extensive notes by Cahill, Diamond, and Ziporyn.

Cahill writes of the work and the recording:

By 1986, with his Concerto for Piano with Javanese Gamelan, Harrison found a way to coax the grand piano into his “paradise garden of delights,” as he described just intonation, and also found a way to bring together his pianist friends and his gamelan friends. When else will a pianist ever have the great fortune to perform with a gamelan? While the concerto is one of several of his works synthesizing East and West, the retuning of the piano makes this one by far the most radical in terms of preparation and logistics; it takes several retunings, weeks apart, for the piano’s strings to adjust before a performance. And for the pianist, it is disorienting at first, since the keys typically associated with corresponding pitches now ring out with a completely different result. The disorientation, however, provokes more intense listening.

One of the great pleasures of studying Harrison’s music involves his community, as his friends and colleagues have continued his legacy and performance practice. For the Concerto for Piano with Javanese Gamelan, I consulted Belle Bulwinkle, to whom the concerto is dedicated, and met with musicians with the most intimate knowledge of Harrison’s music, including Robert Hughes and William Winant. Best of all was performing the piece with Jody Diamond, who worked so closely with Harrison on his gamelan compositions and was so essential to the premiere in 1987, and with Evan Ziporyn, who has championed Harrison’s music for decades. Our work together culminated in performing and recording at the Cleveland Museum of Art, which brings together its extraordinary collections of Eastern and Western art “for the benefit of all the people forever.” It’s hard to imagine a better home for Lou Harrison’s concerto.

CMA’s Recorded Archive Editions is a series of select concert recordings of historical significance and artistic excellence. The Cleveland Museum of Art’s concert series is the longest-running series among all museums in North America and is home to a performance legacy unlike any other.

About the Artists

Recently called “a sterling pianist and an intrepid illuminator of the classical avant-garde” by the New York Times and “a brilliant and charismatic advocate for modern and contemporary composers” by Time Out New York, Sarah Cahill has commissioned, premiered, and recorded numerous compositions for solo piano. More than 40 composers have dedicated works to her, including John Adams, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, Annea Lockwood, Evan Ziporyn, and Ingram Marshall. Keyboard magazine wrote, “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). Recent and upcoming appearances include the Barbican Centre, the San Francisco Symphony’s SoundBox, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.  Her four-CD set Eighty Trips Around the Sun: Music by and for Terry Riley was recently released on the Irritable Hedgehog label. She is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and her radio show, Revolutions Per Minute, can be heard every Sunday evening from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. on KALW, 91.7 FM, in San Francisco.

Jody Diamond, a composer, performer, and scholar, is well known for her work in contemporary music for Indonesian and international gamelan. Beginning in 1976, she served as Lou Harrison’s gamelan teacher, orchestrator, and ensemble director. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for her work on contemporary Indonesian composers and the gamelan music of Lou Harrison. She is the director of the American Gamelan Institute (founded in 1981) and the editor and publisher of Balungan, an international journal on Indonesian performing arts and their international counterparts. Her compositions for gamelan, voice, and other instruments are performed internationally. Diamond is currently an associated artist in music at MIT, and she has recently been an artist in residence in the Harvard University Music Department and both a senior lecturer in Asian and Middle Eastern studies and gamelan director at Dartmouth College.

Evan Ziporyn’s musical work is informed by his 40-plus-year involvement with gamelan and is directly inspired by Lou Harrison’s visionary example. His groundbreaking compositions for cross-cultural ensembles have been commissioned and performed by Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble, Wu Man, Maya Beiser, Kronos Quartet, American Composers Orchestra, Brooklyn Rider, and Sō Percussion. He shared a 2017 Grammy with Silkroad Ensemble for Best World Music Album, and his work with Silkroad is featured in Ken Burns’s The Vietnam War. He has performed and conducted at major venues throughout the world, including leading the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra in the European premiere of his Blackstar Concerto, which he debuted at MIT with his own ensemble, the Ambient Orchestra. His Gorecki Project was featured at the Warsaw Autumn and Sacrum Profanum Festivals. He co-founded the Bang on a Can All-Stars in 1992, performing with the group for 20 years, and produced and arranged their landmark recording of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports. His collaborations with visual artists Tomás Saraceno, Matthew Ritchie, and Design Earth have been featured at the Seville Biennial, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and the Venice Architecture Biennale. He was a long-standing member of the Steve Reich Ensemble. Other collaborators have included Paul Simon, Ornette Coleman, Terry Riley, Cecil Taylor, Matthew Shipp, Iva Bittová, Don Byron, Meredith Monk, and Ensemble Modern. At MIT he heads Music and Theater Arts and is faculty director of the Center for Art, Science, and Technology.

Track List & Credits:

Concerto for Piano with Javanese Gamelan (1986-87) by Lou Harrison (1917-2003)

[1] I. Bull’s Belle [10:16]

[2] II. [Untitled] [9:30]

[3] III. Belle’s Bull [5:46]

Total length: 26min

Sarah Cahill, piano

Gamelan Galak Tika, performing on the instruments of Gamelan Si Betty, directed by Evan Ziporyn and Jody Diamond

Recorded Saturday, October 21, 2017, in Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art

CMA’s Recorded Archives Editions

Release Date: September 27, 2021

Gamelan Galak Tika: Djenet Bousnaine, Jody Diamond, Donovan Edelstein, Alicia Garza, Nick Joliat, Minjae Kim, Andreas Liapis, Evan Lynch, Ryan Meyer, Kep Peterson, Ponnapa Prakkamakul, Sachi Sato, So Yeon Shin, Christine Southworth, Mark Stewart, Ilya Sukhotin, Daniel Wick, and Evan Ziporyn

Produced by Thomas M. Welsh, Director of Performing Arts, Cleveland Museum of Art Recorded and mixed by Bruce Gigax, Audio Recording Studio, Cleveland Piano technician: Matthew Logan, The Sun and Moon Piano Shoppe, LLC

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