Aug. 28: Pianist Liza Stepanova Releases New Album – E Pluribus Unum – celebrating Music by American Composers with Immigrant Backgrounds including Three World Premiere Recordings

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Pianist Liza Stepanova Announces New Album E Pluribus Unum
Celebrating Music by American Composers with Immigrant Backgrounds
IncludingThree World Premiere Recordings

Liza_NV6300 - Stepanova, Liza - E Pluribus Unum - front cover copy.jpg
Release Date: August 28, 2020 (Navona Records) | Downloads and CDs available for press upon request

“crystal-clear articulation, rock-solid authority and a very Russian sense of rhapsody in her phrasing” – The Washington Post

More information: www.liza-stepanova.com/e-pluribus-unum

New York, NY – Pianist Liza Stepanova, praised by The New York Times for her “thoughtful musicality” and “fleet-fingered panache,”announces the August 28, 2020 release of her new album E Pluribus Unumon Navona Records.This collection showcases nine renowned American composers with immigrant backgrounds, including Lera Auerbach, Anna Clyne, Gabriela Lena Frank, Kamran Ince, Reinaldo Moya, Pablo Ortiz, and world premiere recordings of music by Chaya Czernowin, Badie Khaleghian, and Eun Young Lee.

Born out of the political climate of 2017, E Pluribus Unum is an artistic response to the immigration policies implemented by the American government at that time. Stepanova explains, “Many of my colleagues, friends, and students in the music world found themselves or their communities to be directly affected. One of them was the wonderfully gifted young composer Badie Khaleghian, at the time my piano student, whose Iranian parents were barred from traveling to attend his graduation recital at the University of Georgia. In response to this situation, I decided to commission him for a new work that became the centerpiece of a recital program and this recording.”

While some of the works address the urgency of historical, cultural, and political calls for justice – above all, the music on this album reflects the composers’ roots, celebrates their immense contributions to American musical life, and a confluence of voices, narratives, and ideals.

An important part of this project is also Stepanova’s collaboration with Syrian-American visual artist Kevork Mourad. Mourad’s painting Between Two Worlds, a reflection of the immigrant experience, graces the cover of the album, and his forthcoming video collaboration with Stepanova, featuring a live performance of Reinaldo Moya’s Rain Outside the Church, conveys the message of gaining voice and refuge through art.

Stepanova continues, “Immigration is also an integral part of my own personal story. Born in Belarus, I lived in Germany for a decade and am now a US citizen. When I play the opening piece of this album by Lera Auerbach, it reminds me of home, as I spent a lot of my childhood in Russia, in my maternal grandmother’s house, filled with pictures of our family’s past. I got to know Venezuelan-American composer Reinaldo Moya in graduate school, and his personal connection to the difficult issues surrounding immigration is evident in his powerful piano cycle The Way North (2017), of which two movements are included on this program. Other featured composers were born or have deep roots in Turkey (Kamran Ince), Israel (Chaya Czernowin), England (Anna Clyne), Korea (Eun Young Lee), Argentina (Pablo Ortiz), and Andean South America (Gabriela Lena Frank). They bring a rich diversity of artistic, cultural, and personal expression to the vibrant landscape of American music and are an embodiment of the motto E Pluribus Unum – out of many, one.” Click here for an extended message from Stepanova, as well as program notes about each piece featured on the album.

Stepanova has performed at the Berlin Philharmonie, the Weill and Zankel recital halls at Carnegie Hall; Alice Tully, Merkin, David Geffen, and Steinway halls in New York City; and at the Kennedy Center. She has appeared as a soloist with conductors James DePreist and Nicholas McGegan and live on WQXR New York, WFMT Chicago, and WETA Washington.

E Pluribus Unum follows Stepanova’s debut solo album Tones & Colors: Music and Visual Art (CAG Records, 2018), recorded with GRAMMY-winning producer Adam Abeshouse, which was featured on Performance Today and in a release celebration at National Sawdust in New York City. Tones & Colors covers a wide range of relationships between the two mediums – paintings inspired by music, music inspired by paintings. New Music Buff writes, “She plays what sounds like fingerbreakingly difficult music with both ease and expressiveness,” and BBC Music Magazine describes the album as “a varied disc with extensive programme notes and elegant playing from Liza Stepanova, who explores the intersection of art and music.”

Liza Stepanova, piano – E Pluribus Unum – Navona Records | Released August 28, 2020

[1] Lera Auerbach (b. 1973): “An Old Photograph from the Grandparents’ Childhood” from Images from Childhood (2000) 1:21

[2] Kamran Ince (b. 1960): Symphony in Blue (2012) 12:45

[3] Chaya Czernowin (b. 1957): fardanceCLOSE (2012) * 4:37

[4-5] Reinaldo Moya (b. 1984): The Way North (2017)

IV. La Bestia 3:11
VII. Rain Outside the Church 3:58

[6] Anna Clyne (b. 1980): On Track (2007) 7:23

[7] Eun Young Lee (b. 1967): Mool (2012) * 7:53

[8-10] Badie Khaleghian (b. 1985): Táhirih The Pure (2017) * Commissioned by Liza Stepanova

I. The Day of Alast 3:46
II. Unchained 5:59
III. Badasht 7:28

[11] Pablo Ortiz (b. 1956): Piglia (2002) 3:52

[12] Gabriela Lena Frank (b. 1972): Karnavalito No. 1 (2013) 6:15

*denotes world premiere recording

About Liza Stepanova: Praised by The New York Times for her “thoughtful musicality” and “fleet-fingered panache,” Liza Stepanova is in demand as a soloist, collaborator, and educator. Recent concert highlights include invitations to the Bowdoin Music Festival and Prague Piano Festival, solo recitals at USF Steinway Piano Series and East Carolina University Piano Series, and chamber music tours with the Lysander Piano Trio, winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, in Canada, Mexico, and across the United States at Spivey Hall in Atlanta, the Crescent City Festival in New Orleans, Norton Museum in Palm Beach, and more.

Highlights of past seasons include performances at international festivals at Castleton, La Jolla, [email protected], Mostly Mozart, Copenhagen (Denmark), and Davos (Switzerland), and collaborations with leading artists including violinist Cho-Liang Lin, violist James Dunham, clarinetist Charles Neidich, soprano Lucy Shelton, mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, and members of the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and the Atlanta Symphony. With the Lysander Trio, Stepanova has toured extensively across the United States and abroad with performances in most major music centers.

Deeply committed to new music, she has premiered works by Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larsen, Tom Cipullo, Jakub Ciupinski, Reinaldo Moya, and many others, and has given regional premieres of works by George Crumb, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Frederic Rzewski. In 2020, Stepanova is scheduled to premiere a newly commissioned chamber work by Lowell Liebermann. Stepanova holds degrees from the “Hanns Eisler” Academy in Berlin, Germany (B.M.) and The Juilliard School (M.M., D.M.A.) where she studied with Joseph Kalichstein, Seymour Lipkin, Jerome Lowenthal, and George Sava. Following teaching positions at Juilliard and Smith College, Stepanova is currently an associate professor of piano at the University of Georgia. For more information about Liza Stepanova, please visit www.liza-stepanova.com.

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