|Michael Mizrahi (Photo: Steven Taylor)||(Artwork: David Stith)|
In the early years of a new century, composers are returning to the piano.
For centuries the piano has been a popular sounding board for new compositional ideas and styles—the ingenious explorations of compositional technique in Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, the pathbreaking musical ideas set forth in Beethoven’s piano sonatas, the previously unimaginable feats of virtuosity achieved by Liszt, and the sonic and formal experiments of Schoenberg’s piano pieces. Much of this cherished repertoire has been central to my solo career as a classical pianist.
By the end of the twentieth century, the piano had lost some of its status—compositions for solo piano declined in prominence at the artistic vanguard, some composers citing the intimidating tradition of canonical piano works as a factor in their reluctance to write for the instrument. However, in the twenty-first century, many composers of my generation, including those featured here, have come to view the piano as being particularly receptive to new music. With this album of recently composed works for solo piano, I showcase the continued vitality of an instrument that evokes an exceptionally rich musical heritage yet still is capable of expressing the most contemporary of musical ideas.
— Michael Mizrahi
Dedicated to the music of our time, Michael Mizrahi has commissioned and given world premieres of several new works for piano and frequently collaborates with composers and instrumentalists in the performance of 21st-century music. He is a founding member of NOW Ensemble, a chamber group devoted to the commissioning and performing of new music by emerging composers. NOW Ensemble released its second album, Awake, to critical acclaim in 2011. Mr. Mizrahi released The Bright Motion, an album of newly commissioned works for solo piano, on the New Amsterdam Records label in May 2012. The album, described by Time Out New York as “an illuminating mix of gorgeous, approachable, recent works,” was selected both by that publication and by Time Out Chicago as one of the top albums released that year. His music video, also called The Bright Motion, was lauded by National Public Radio and New Yorker music critic Alex Ross.
Michael Mizrahi holds degrees from the University of Virginia, where his concentrations were in music, religion and physics, and from the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Claude Frank. After his Philadelphia debut recital, the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that “…the performance had transparency, revealing a forward-moving logic and chord voices you didn’t previously realize were there…textures were sumptuous.”
He is currently Assistant Professor of Piano at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin. For more information, please visit michaelmizrahipiano.com.