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Inna appears together with Downtown Abbey Star

Devised by Nigel Hess and presented by the International Music Foundation, Admission: One Shilling is a unique, one-night-only theatrical evening that tells the extraordinary story of Myra Hess and her famous World War II National Gallery concerts. This production starring Downton Abbey actress (Mrs. Patmore) Lesley Nicol and pianist Inna Faliks will take place at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets (maximum 4 tickets per request) are free of charge and may be obtained by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to International Music Foundation, 30 East Adams Street, Suite 1206, Chicago, IL 60603.  Ticket requests must be post-marked after January 7, 2013.  Requests post-marked before January 8 will be discarded.

In Dame Myra’s own words – compiled by her great-nephew, composer Nigel Hess – and with piano music by Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Schumann and Chopin, we hear how the ‘great adventure’ of these 1600 lunchtime concerts in the National Gallery began, and how it continued on a daily basis for 6 years, even while bombs rained down on London. It is fitting that the US premiere of this work should take place in Chicago, a city which continues to honor the memory of Dame Myra Hess with the weekly Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts presented every Wednesday of the year at the Chicago Cultural Center by the International Music Foundation. This performance is made possible through the generous lead sponsorship of BMO Harris Bank, with major additional support from the English Speaking Union and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

Actress Lesley Nicol spent her formative years in a small town in Lancashire. Daughter of a Scottish GP and a Welsh actress, she discovered early on that accents and being funny were very useful at school, and compensated for fairly shocking results in any subject other than English and Drama. When she was studying for ‘A’ levels in Manchester, she discovered the Library Theatre – became besotted – and gently nagged them, until they employed her at £1 a week. She then spent 3 years at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in the early 70’s and has been acting ever since. Lesley has enjoyed a hugely diverse career, and this continues to this day. She started her musical career in Jesus Christ Superstar – the first production! – sang her way round the theatres of Great Britain, then found herself in the West End for 3 years playing Rosie in Mamma Mia and Kath Casey in Our House. Her television career has encompassed drama and comedy. Perhaps one of Lesley’s strengths is the ability to make you laugh, and also to move you. When she was in Mamma Mia, fellow actress Anne Reid said to her – ‘You have learnt to put your arms around an audience’. She plays Mrs. Patmore in ITV’s hugely successful Downton Abbey written by Julian Fellowes and co-starring Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville.  Lesley’s film career is small but beautifully formed – the multi-award winning UK feature East is East, and the sequel West is West which was released in 2011.

Pianist Inna Faliks has set herself apart in thousands of performances as a sincere, communicative and direct performer whose virtuosity, power and risk taking serve the depth, intelligence and poetry of her interpretations. Inna’s command of standard solo and concerto repertoire is highlighted by her love of rare and new music, and interdisciplinary and audience-involving programs and lectures. These include her award winning Music/Words, where she alternates music with readings by contemporary poets, her program of piano music of the poet Boris Pasternak (on MSR Classics Sound of Verse, which drew comparisons to Argerich and Cliburn), 13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg – new variations on Bach’s Aria , music of women composers, and many other programs. She makes sure to present programs that include both beloved crowd pleasers and music that is new and challenging, creating an adventurous, moving and involving experience for the audience. She is a musical omnivore. Faliks debuted as a teenager with the Chicago Symphony and at the Gilmore Festival to rave reviews, and has been exciting and moving audiences worldwide since then.

Nigel Hess, the creator of Admission: One Shilling and the great-nephew of Dame Myra Hess, works extensively as a composer and conductor in television, theatre and film.  He has composed numerous scores for both American and British television productions, including A Woman of Substance, Vanity Fair, Campion, Maigret, Dangerfield, Just William, Wycliffe, Ballykissangel and New Tricks.  He has received the Ivor Novello award twice for Best TV Theme (Hetty Wainthropp Investigates and Testament), and is well-known to Classic FM listeners for his film soundtrack to Ladies in Lavender. Nigel has written many scores for Royal Shakespeare Company productions, and was awarded the New York Drama Desk Award for ‘Outstanding Music in a Play’ for Much Ado About Nothing and Cyrano de Bergerac on Broadway.  His recent work at Shakespeare’s Globe includes the scores for The Merry Wives of Windsor, Romeo and Juliet and Henry VIII.  Nigel has also composed much concert music, most recently his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales.

The International Music Foundation has presented the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts under the magnificent Tiffany stained-glass dome in the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. since 1977.  The concerts are broadcast live over WFMT Radio (98.7FM) locally, and are streamed globally over www.wfmt.com. The concerts are an important showcase for local, national, and international emerging classical artists, and follow in the tradition of Dame Myra Hess, one of the most eminent pianists of the 20th century, whose assistance to young musicians was a constant during her career.

Beethoven, Schumann, Shchedrin, and Ljova at the Brooklyn Library

Inna Faliks will appear in the Brooklyn Public Library’s free Classical Interludes Series, on Sunday, December 2, 2012, 4 pm at the Central Library, Dweck Center, Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn. The mixed program will include works by Beethoven, Schumann, Shchedrin, and Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin.  Subway: B, D, N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4, 5 to Atlantic Ave. For more information, visit www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/events/culture-arts/ or call 718-638-1531.
The program will include:
Shchedrin Basso Ostinato
Beethoven Polonaise in C op 89
Beethoven Sonata op 111 in c minor
Ljova “Sirota”, written for Inna Faliks in 2011
Schumann Davidsbundlertanze op. 6

Music/Words at LPR September 23

I am very excited about the Music/Words 5th Season opening on September 23rd, at 7:30 pm at New York City’s Le Poisson Rouge (tickets here). This performance at LPR includes the world premiere of the powerful song cycle for baritone and piano by John Eaton, “Songs of Nature and Beyond”, with the wonderful baritone David Adam Moore. I will play Beethoven (work TBA), and also Fantasia on an Ostinato by John Corigliano. This poetic shimmering piece uses Beethoven’s Ostinato from the 7th Symphony, and explores its rhythmic and harmonic elements in a hypnotic, colorful fantasy. It serves as the link between Eaton and Beethoven sound worlds.

The Barnard Women Poets Prize winning poet Sandra Beasley‘s poetry will be read by the author in between the pieces. The Eaton song cycle is set to the poetry by Auden, Blackmur, Wallace Stevens, and W.B Yeats, and Sandra’s lucid and fresh voice completes the link between then and now.

The following Music/Words performance is sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, and takes place at Curtiss Hall, 410 South Michigan Ave. in Chicago, on October 22nd.  It includes readings by poets Vera Pavlova and Verzhyna Mort.

Review of Inna at IKIF-Mannes

“Ms. Faliks’ virtuosity in La Campanella was truly dazzling, reminiscent of great Liszt players…”

Donald Isler reviews Inna’s recent performance in The Classical Music Guide as part of the recent 14th International Keyboard Institute and Festival at Mannes College.

Sequenza21.com Review: “A Night of Words and Music at Cornelia Street Cafe”

Written by Kyle Lynch

“Last Sunday evening, pianist Inna Faliks closed the fourth season of her Music/Words series at the West Village institution, Cornelia Street Café, in New York City. It was an intimate affair in the Café’s cozy basement theatre, and Inna was joined by soprano Samatha Malk, Brazilian pianist and singer Clarice Assad, and poet Irina Mashinski. The potpourri of solo piano, songs, and poetry readings hearkens back to old European salons of the turn of the century. Yet the evening was thoroughly enjoyable and modern…” READ FULL ARTICLE.

Music/Words: The Sensuousness of Spring

*NEW as of April 21: Read the preview article in Sequenza21.*

Music/Words continues its fourth season on Sunday, April 22, 2012, at 6:00 pm with a performance at New York’s Cornelia Street Cafe featuring Inna Faliks alongside guest Clarice Assad at the piano along with soprano Samantha Malk and poet Irina Mashinski. The program will explore the sensuousness of early Schoenberg (with the Stefan Georgy poetry used in the songs), along with the passion of Mashinski’s poetry and Assad’s Brazilian music. The program includes Schoenberg’s Drei Klavierstucke, opus 11; his songs from Book of Hanging Gardens; and various improvisations by Ms. Assad based on Brazilian piano music. The Cornelia Street Café (www.corneliastreetcafe.com) is located at 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village, NYC. Tickets are $20 and are available by calling 212-989-9319.

In this performance, Ms. Mashinski will tailor her readings to Ms. Assad’s and Ms. Faliks’ musical selections, finding poems from her own works that connect with the music. Music/Words will be featured in regular live broadcasts throughout the month of April on WFMT Radio in Chicago.

Pianist Clarice Assad

Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as a “serious triple threat,” and “an arranger and orchestrator of great imagination” (SF Classical Voice), Clarice Assad (www.clariceassad.com) is making her mark in the music world as a pianist, arranger, as a vocalist and as a composer.  A versatile artist of musical depth and sophistication, her works have been published in France (Editions Lemoine), Germany (Trekel), and in the United States (Virtual Artists Collective Publishing), and have been performed in Europe, South America, the United States and Japan. Miss Assad’s music often have a thematic core, and explore the physical and psychological elements of the chosen story or concept. With a repertoire in continuous expansion, her works are sought out by musicians both in the classical and the jazz realms.

South African soprano Samantha Malk recently returned from a concert tour around China, Vietnam and Thailand.  At the end of 2010, she was thrilled to make her Weill Hall debut recital at Carnegie Hall.  During that summer, she finished her engagement as a young artist for the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Music Festival in Chicago.  In July 2010, the International Contemporary Ensemble invited Samantha as the guest soprano in a live broadcast on WQXR Classical Radio New York as well as a two-day music festival celebrating the music of Edgar Varèse at Alice Tully Hall.  Earlier that year, during an alumni residency, Samantha performed songs of Debussy and Schumann lieder at the Britten Pears Music Festival.  Her operatic roles include Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Nannetta in Falstaff, Belinda in Dido and Aeneas and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro.  After immigrating to the United States, Samantha came to study music, earning her Bachelor of Music at Indiana University and her Master of Music at Manhattan School of Music.

Bilingual poet and translator Irina Mashinski has authored seven books of poetry in Russian, and her most recent collections are Volk (Wolf) and Raznochinets pervyi sneg i drugie stikhotvoreniia (Raznochinets First Snow and Other Poems). Her work has appeared in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, including Poetry International, Fulcrum, Zeek, The London Magazine, and An Anthology of Contemporary Russian Women Poets. She is the co-editor of the forthcoming Anthology of Russian Poetry from Pushkin to Brodsky, as well as co-founder and co-editor of the Cardinal Points literary journal, published in the U.S. in English and Russian. She also serves on the editorial board for the NYC based translation project “Ars-Interpes.” Irina Mashinski is the winner of several literary awards, including the First Prizes at the Russian America (2001), Maximilian Voloshin (2003), and other poetry contests. Her poetry has been translated into English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Serbian.

Lucid Culture Review of Music/Words, February 2012

“Cross-Pollination at the Gershwin with Inna Faliks” from Lucid Culture:

Virtuoso pianist Inna Faliks’ latest installment of her innovative Music/Words series last night was a throwback to the Paris salons of the late 1800s, in the aptly lowlit atmosphere of the back room at the Gershwin Hotel. As she describes it, the concept of the series is to match music with poetry that shares a mood or evokes similar emotions, rather than referring to specific ideas or events. As an attempt to link two worlds that otherwise don’t usually intersect, it’s an admirable idea. Musically, this program was extremely diverse, spanning from classical to late Romantic, with Faliks pulling one of the obscurities she’s so fond of out of the woodwork as well. Lyrically, it was surreal, impactful, and relevant. Poet Tom Thompson doesn’t waste words: he finds the logic in cruel irony, assembles scenes vividly yet economically, and makes connections – like the commonalities in the desires of a child at play and a hungry spider – that might seem farfetched at face value but make perfect sense as he describes them (spiders got a lot of time this time out). “The lake is tired of being a mirror…it closes its one historical eye before we ever get to use it,” he observed bleakly. In an understatedly moving account of his son’s experience with seizures, Thompson coldly acknowledged how in one culture, people who suffer from them get killed, while in another they’re worshipped. A New York water tower became a “wholly owned subsidiary” of the dead leaves that get under the screws that hold it together; people and insects in Central Park shared a fate brought on by their inability to escape their desires. If insightfully ominous, loaded imagery is your thing, Thompson has a couple of collections out from alicejamesbooks that you should investigate.

The music was good too. In between trios of poems, Faliks alternated with pianist Dimitri Dover, who warmed up the performance with the Haydn’s uncharacteristically pensive Sonata in C Minor., Hob. 16:20. A bit later, he played three selections from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, the best being the anxiously stately “Montagues and Capulets” scene followed by Mercutio’s scampering cinematics. He joined Faliks for a perfectly synchronized four-handed take of another uncharacteristic piece, Liszt’s reflective, remarkably terse Symphonic Poem #4: Orpheus, eventually ending the show with three intuitive, energetic Debussy preludes and then a rather stern take on Chopin’s Scherzo No. 2, Op. 31.

Although the program put her on the bill lower than Dover and Thompson, Faliks was still the star of this show, playing with her signature blend of lithe grace and raw power, particularly as she made her way through the nocturnal scenes of Liszt’s Harmonies du Soir, and then the composer’s transcription of Paganini’s La Campanella, which she imbued with playful charm and then maintained it all the way through the dance’s knotty, rapidfire thicket of staccato. Her obscurity du jour turned out to be 20th century Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin’s Basso Ostinato, a fascinatingly biting, expansively acidic prelude that built from a walking bassline to echoes of Alban Berg and Vincent Persichetti. Faliks’ next program in the Music/Words series, on April 22 at 7:30 PM at the Cornelia Street Cafe with Brazilian pianist Clarice Assad and poet Irina Mashinski promises to be equally intriguing.

Inna joins pianists Gabrielian and Tahmizian in Liszt Celebration

Celebrating Franz Liszt: Solo and Seldom Heard Four Hand Music will take place on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 7:30 PM at Yamaha Piano Salon, 689 Fifth Avenue, 3rd Floor, in New York City. This concert, featuring pianists Inna Faliks, Tanya Gabrielian, and Emma Tahmiziàn, is co-hosted by Pro Musicis and Yamaha Artist Services and will include Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes, transcriptions of symphonic poems, and the Dante Sonata. Tickets are $25 at the door for the concert and a post show reception. Reservations can be made by contacting Pro Musicis 212-787-0993or yasi@yamaha.com. This concert will be webcast live at http://www.yamaha.com/yasi/multimedia.html.


Bach-Liszt Prelude and Fugue for Organ in A Minor
Gounod-Liszt Waltz from Faust
Orpheus (from Symphonic Poems, trans. Liszt for piano 4 hands)
From the Transcendental Etudes: Numbers 10 and 9
La Campanella (From Six Grand Etudes after Paganini, # 3)
Prometheus (from Symphonic Poems, trans. Liszt for piano 4 hands)
Apres une Lecture de Dante -Fantasia quasi Sonata
Les Preludes (from Symphonic Poems, trans. Liszt for piano 4 hands)


Inna joins Dimitri Dover and Tom Thompson at next Music/Words

Music/Words, an interdisciplinary series founded and curated by Inna Faliks, continues its fourth season on Friday, February 10, at 7:30pm with a performance at New York’s Gershwin Hotel featuring Faliks at the piano along with guest pianist Dimitri Dover and poet Tom Thompson. The varied program will include solo works of Haydn (Sonata in C minor)  Prokofiev (Romeo and Juliet), Chopin (Scherzo # 2), Debussy (selected Preludes), and Liszt (transcriptions, etudes and the four-hand Symphonic Poem “Orpheus”). The Gershwin Hotel (www.gershwinhotel.com) is located at 7 E. 27th street in New York. Tickets are $20 and are available at the door. More info is at www.musicwordsnyc.com

2012-13 Season News from Inna Faliks

Inna is excited about the upcoming 2012-13 season which takes her to her favorite venues from Chicago to Paris and brings her to Minnesota and to the Peninsula Festival (Wisconsin). Inna is also excited about her upcoming collaboration with violinist Jasmine Lin in 2012-13. More details to come soon, including dates and detailed information, on all of these performances.

Meanwhile, Tom Thompson and Irina Mashinski have been announced as featured poets for Inna’s upcoming Music/Words series performances in 2012:

Poet Tom Thompson will appear Feb 10th at the Gershwin Hotel, NYC; Inna is joined by Dimitry Dover, piano four handsPoet Irina Mashinski will appear on April 22nd at Cornelia Street Cafe, NYC, with Inna on piano. You can read more about Thompson and Mashinski below.

Music/Words will once again be featured on 98.7 WFMT-Chicago on April 16th and 23rd, both at 8 pm.

Read more about the series and about Thompson and Mashinski at www.musicwordsnyc.com