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Fred Hersch and Ethan Iverson Rework Stephen Sondheim for Pianist Anthony de Mare

SOURCE: Published:
Anthony de Mare Pianist Anthony de Mare Salutes Stephen Sondheim in LIAISONS: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano

A Nationwide Tour of 36 Premiere Interpretations by Today's Most Revered Composers


2012 Concert Tour:

  • Jan 21 :: Hudson Opera House, Hudson, NY
  • Feb 4 :: Cliburn Concerts, Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX
  • Mar 12 :: Music at Meyer, San Francisco, CA
  • Apr 21 :: Symphony Space, New York, NY
  • May 1-2 :: Gilmore Keyboard Festival, Kalamazoo, MI


Fred Hersch/No One Is Alone—"No One Is Alone (from Into the Woods ) appealed to me because its diatonic melody (like many of the great tunes by Richard Rodgers) enabled me to make subtle changes in the harmony that reflect my jazz sensibility. I could make the arrangement sound lush and pianistic—and just let the melody sing. And I love what the lyric says—it is a very relevant song." Commissioned by Dan Gallagher and Peter Shearer for their son, Ian Gallagher Shearer.

Ethan Iverson/Send in the Clowns—Pianist, composer and critic Iverson is a graduate of The Juilliard School. Best known for his work in the postmodern jazz trio The Bad Plus, which tours all over the world, he was formerly musical director for The Mark Morris dance Group. Commissioned by Frank K. Godcheaux and Mark Murashige.

New York City, NY —- Internationally renowned contemporary pianist Anthony de Mare presents LIAISONS: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano—an intrepid program featuring 36 short solo piano pieces based on the music of the legendary composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Commissioned purely for this landmark project, the world's foremost contemporary composers of varying genres and generations come together to pay homage to Sondheim, whose music has dominated American musical theater for the past four decades. (See below for full program details.)

This marks the first time that Sondheim songs have ever been adapted for solo piano. “LIAISONS demonstrates just how universal and timeless Sondheim's music truly is," explains de Mare. “The program's collection of composers, ranging from jazz pianist Fred Hersch to film composer Thomas Newman to maverick Steve Reich, reveals Sondheim's amazing ability to transcend the traditional boundaries of musical theater."

Chosen by de Mare in consultation with Sondheim, the roster spans both established and emerging composers from the realms of classical, jazz, film, pop, musical theater, opera and avant-garde music. Each composer put their own spin on recognizable classics including Send in the Clowns, The Ballad of Sweeney Todd, and Being Alive, to name a few. The pieces range from direct transcriptions of original tunes (such as Ricky Ian Gordon's re-working of Every Day A Little Death from A Little Night Music) to clever de-constructions (such as Frederic Rzewski's I'm Still Here) to full-fledged paraphrases (such as David Rakowski's The Ladies Who Lunch and Ricardo Lorenz' Latin fusion of The Worst Pies in London and A Little Priest.)

Known as a champion of classical contemporary music, de Mare first had the idea for the LIAISONS project over 20 years ago. It later came to fruition in 2006 when de Mare and his producer secured the commissions which led to “sneak preview" premieres of selections in 2011 at the Banff Centre and the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts. LIAISONS will continue to preview select premieres nationwide leading up to its official New York debut at Symphony Space, welcoming Stephen Sondheim on stage for a special, intimate discussion alongside panels with several of the composers. A full recording of the project is also underway, produced by Judith Sherman, for release in 2012.

About Anthony de Mare

Creator/performer Anthony de Mare is internationally recognized as one of the foremost champions of contemporary music, drawing praise from leading music critics. The New York Times cites de Mare as having “transformed the recital format." He has inspired, commissioned and/or premiered new work by Meredith Monk, John Zorn, Frederic Rzewski and Jerome Kitzke among many others, and made his Carnegie Hall debut at Zankel Hall in 2005 with premieres of new work by Pulitzer Prize winners Paul Moravec and David Del Tredici, jazz legend Fred Hersch and the Tony award-winning Jason Robert Brown. Since receiving his debut under the auspices of Young Concert Artists, de Mare has toured internationally with popular programs including The American Piano, Missing Peace (premiered at the Rubin Museum), and his multi-media solo piano event, Playing with Myself. De Mare is a Yamaha Artist with nearly 20 recordings in his discography and was short-listed in 2005 and 2011 for a Grammy Award. He also serves on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and New York University.

LIAISONS: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano
Program Details (subject to change; 12-14 works per concert):

Mason Bates (b. 1979) Putting it Together
Eve Beglarian (b.1958) Happiness
Derek Bermel (b. 1967) Sorry-Grateful
William Bolcom (b. 1938) Anyone Can Whistle + Send in the Clowns
Jason Robert Brown (b.1970) TBA
Kenji Bunch (b. 1973) The Ballad of Sweeney Todd
Mary Ellen Childs (b. 1957) Now-Later-Soon
Michael Daugherty (b. 1954) The Gun Song + The Ballad of Booth
Adam Guettel (b.1964) Generique
Peter Golub (b. 1959) Children and Art
Ricky Ian Gordon (b. 1956) Every Day a Little Death
Annie Gosfield (b. 1960) A Bowler Hat
Jake Heggie (b. 1961) A Weekend in the Country
Fred Hersch (b. 1955) No One Is Alone
Ethan Iverson (b. 1973) Send in the Clowns
Gabriel Kahane (b. 1981) Being Alive
Jerome Kitzke (b. 1955) Sunday, Lesson #8 + Move On
Phil Kline (b. 1960) Someone In A Tree
Tania Leon (b. 1943) Good Thing Going
Ricardo Lorenz (b. 1961) The Worst Pies in London + A Little Priest
John Musto (b. 1954) Epiphany
Paul Moravec (b. 1957) Losing My Mind
Thomas Newman (b. 1955) Not While I'm Around
David Rakowski (b. 1958) The Ladies Who Lunch
Steve Reich (b. 1936) Finishing the Hat
Eric Rockwell (b. 1959) You Could Drive a Person Crazy
Daniel Bernard Roumain (b. 1972) Another Hundred People
Frederic Rzewski (b. 1938) I'm Still Here
Rodney Sharman (b. 1958) Beautiful
David Shire (b. 1936) Love is In the Air
Bernadette Speech (b. 1948) Liaisons + Send in the Clowns
Marc-Anthony Turnage (b. 1960) Pretty Women
Nils Vigeland (b. 1950) Alma Mater + Merrily We Roll Along

+ 3 composers TBA....


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