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Pianist Sarah Cahill Performs The Future is Female Presented by the Barbican Centre on March 5

Pianist Sarah Cahill

Presented by the Barbican Centre as Part of its 40th Birthday Celebration

Marathon Performance of The Future is Female

Saturday, March 5, 2022 from 12pm – 8pm

Barbican Conservatory at Barbican Centre | Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS

Free Admission. More information:

Plus New Album – The Future is Female, Vol. 1, In Nature

Available March 4, 2022 on First Hand Records

Pianist Sarah Cahill, described as “a sterling pianist and an intrepid illuminator of the classical avant-garde” by The New York Times, is presented by the Barbican Centre for a marathon performance of The Future is Female on Saturday, March 5, 2022 from 12pm – 8pm. This performance is presented as part of the Barbican’s 40th birthday celebration, featuring eclectic and vibrant events, exhibitions, films, concerts, dance and theatre showcasing the Barbican’s unique role as an internationally-acclaimed multi-disciplinary venue, located in the heart of the City of London. Since 1982, the Barbican has welcomed millions of visitors and thousands of artists; been a home for artistic exchange and performance; a public place for discovery; a resource for local communities, and played a significant role inspiring and developing future artists.

The Future is Female is an investigation and reframing of the piano literature featuring more than seventy compositions by women around the globe, from the Baroque to the present day, including new commissioned works. Admission to the event is free, and audience members are invited to come and go over course of the afternoon, as Cahill fills the tranquil Barbican Conservatory with the piano works of women reclaiming their rightful place in history, as well as highlighting the voices of today with world premieres by Arlene Sierra and Errollyn Wallen. This program includes more than forty pieces, with works by Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Teresa Carreño, Florence Price, Kaija Saariaho, Eleanor Alberga, Anna Meredith, Hannah Kendall, and many more. A complete repertoire list is available below.

Coinciding with the performance, Cahill releases the first album in a three-volume series The Future is Female, Vol. 1, In Nature, on March 4, 2022 on First Hand Records. This first album, loosely based on the theme of nature, will be followed later in 2022 by Vol. 2, At Play and Vol. 3, The Dance. The album release and performance are presented in celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2022.

Cahill began working on this project 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 colour. 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. At some point I would love to record Kaprálová’s complete April Preludes and Kashperova’s Au sein de la nature, but my main objective in this project is to be inclusive rather than exhaustive.”

Additionally, as part of the event, Cahill will perform four-hand and two-piano works with pianists from Guildhall School of Music & Drama. The afternoon culminates in a panel talk with artists and curators celebrating, reflecting and discussing the themes of the day.

Complete repertoire list for The Future is Female on March 5, 2022:

Hour one:

Élisabeth-Claude Jacquet de La Guerre: Keyboard Suite in D minor (1687)

Franghiz Ali-Zadeh: Music for Piano (1989/1997)

Fanny Mendelssohn: Lieder Op. 8, Nos. 1 and 3 (1846)

Maria de Alvear: excerpt from Intenso (1995)

Hannah Kendall: On the Chequer’d Field Array’d (2013)

Grażyna Bacewicz: Scherzo (1934)

Elena Kats-Chernin: Dance of the Paper Umbrellas (2013/2019) for four hands

Hour two:

Hélène de Montgeroult: Sonata No. 9, Op. 5 No. 3 (1811)

Kaija Saariaho: Ballade (2005)

Regina Harris Baiocchi: “cockleburs in wooly hair” from Piano Poems (2020)

Gabriela Ortiz: Prelude and Etude No. 3 (2011)

Clara Schumann: Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, Op. 20 (1853)

Eleanor Alberga: Three-Day Mix (1991) for four hands

Hour three:

Vítězslava Kaprálová: Dubnová Preludia (April Preludes) Nos. 1 and 3 (1937)

Deirdre Gribbin: Unseen (2018)

Florence Price: Sonata in E minor, first mvt. (1932)

Ruth Crawford Seeger: Preludes Nos. 6, 7, and 9 (1928)

Anna Bon: Sonata Op. 2, No. 6 (1757)

Judith Weir: Ardnamurchan Point (1990) for two pianos

Hour four:

Ann Southam: Glass Houses, No. 7 (1981)

Teresa Carreño: Un rêve en mer, Op. 28 (1868)

Arlene Sierra: Birds and Insects, Book 3: Canyon Wren and Lovely Fairywren (premiere)

Germaine Tailleferre: Partita (1957)

Chen Yi: Guessing (1989)

Johanna Beyer: Gebrauchsmusik No. 1 and 3 (1934)

Sofia Gubaidulina: Chaconne (1962)

Elena Langer: Red Mare (2017) for two pianos

Hour five:

Žibuoklé Martinaityté: Heights and Depths of Love, first mvt. (2009)

Anna Meredith: Camberwell Green (2010)

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou: The Homeless Wanderer (1951)

Leokadiya Kashperova: excerpts from Au sein de la Nature (1910)

Reena Esmail: Rang de Basant (2012)

Louise Farrenc: Etudes No. 10 and 20, Op. 26 (1839)

Theresa Wong: She Dances Naked Under Palm Trees (2019)

Meredith Monk: Ellis Island (1981) for two pianos

Hour six:

Rebecca Saunders: Shadow (2013)

Madeleine Dring: Blue Air and Brown Study from Colour Suite (1963)

Maria Szymanowska: Nocturne in B-flat Major (1819)

Adelaide Pereira da Silva: Valse Choro No. 2 (1965)

Margaret Bonds: Troubled Water (1967)

Amy Beach: Dreaming (1892)

Elena Firsova: Hymn to Spring (1993)

Errollyn Wallen: movements 1 and 2 from Piano Concerto (2021) (two piano arrangement)

About Sarah Cahill: Sarah Cahill, recently called “a brilliant and charismatic advocate for modern and contemporary composers” by Time Out New York, has commissioned and premiered over sixty compositions for solo piano. Composers who have dedicated works to Cahill include John Adams, Terry Riley, Pauline Oliveros, Julia Wolfe, Yoko Ono, Annea Lockwood, and Ingram Marshall. She was named a 2018 Champion of New Music, awarded by the American Composers Forum (ACF).

Recent appearances include the Interlochen Arts Festival, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Boston Institute for Contemporary Art, a performance at Alice Tully Hall with the Silk Road Ensemble, Stanford Live, Le Poisson Rouge, and concerts at San Francisco Performances, Sacramento State’s Festival of New American Music, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in the United Kingdom, and Toyusu Civic Center Hall in Tokyo.

Cahill’s recent and upcoming streaming speaking engagements have included a two-day discussion presented by the Boulanger Initiative, The Future is Female: In Conversation and Performance (watch online); a Piano Talk presented by the Ross McKee Foundation titled Challenging the Canon (watch online); a panel presented by American Composers Forum on Advocating for Gender Equity; three webinars presented by the San Francisco Symphony, including Five Composers You Should Know (Who Happen to be Women) (November 10); and At Home with Sarah Cahill a workshop presented by Amateur Music Network, where Cahill spoke about her life in new music and performed a short concert (watch online).

Her previous streamed performances during the pandemic have included the Bang on a Can Marathon in June 2020, a concert presented by Harrison House in Joshua Tree as part of Cahill’s residency there (watch online); a Piano Break recital presented by the Ross McKee Foundation, featuring the world premiere of Regina Harris Baiocchi’s Piano Poems, inspired by poetry by Gwendolyn Brooks and Richard Wright (watch online); a faculty performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, featuring the world premiere of Up for two pianos by Riley Nicholson, performed with Regina Myers (watch online); as well as appearances streamed by Musaics of the Bay, Old First Concerts, SFSymphony+, and Community School of Music and Arts.

The first episode of At Home With Sarah Cahill captures an afternoon of musical storytelling filmed at her home in Berkeley. Cahill performs Vítězslava Kaprálová’s Preludes 1 and 3 (1937) and Amy Beach’s Dreaming (1892), and shares the compelling background of the works and the composers. She performs the two works on Terry Riley’s historic Mason & Hamlin piano, which had just arrived a few days before as a gift from Riley. Additional footage of Cahill speaking in her garden about her home and life in Berkeley is available here.

In addition to The Future is Female trilogy on First Hand Records, Sarah Cahill’s discography includes more than twenty albums on the New Albion, CRI, New World, Other Minds, Tzadik, Albany, Cold Blue, Other Minds, and Pinna labels. 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. The Cleveland Museum of Art released her recording of Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Piano with Javanese Gamelan, recorded with Gamelan Galak Tika, in 2021.

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. She is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory. For more information, visit

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