Anthony de Mare's LIAISONS: RE-IMAGINING SONDHEIM FROM THE PIANO to Feature an Interview With Sondheim, 4/21

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After nearly a year of previews throughout the U.S. and Canada, LIAISONS: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano featuring contemporary pianist Anthony de Mare comes to New York City's Symphony Space for one night only on April 21. 

Based on the music of the legendary composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, LIAISONS is described as "an intrepid program of 17 new, solo piano works by 17 of the world's foremost contemporary composers - this marks the first time that Sondheim songs have ever been re-imagined for solo piano."

The evening will also include an intimate, on-stage discussion with Stephen Sondheim led by Mark Eden Horowitz, the critically acclaimed author of Sondheim on Music, as well as brief composer panels moderated by Symphony Space's Artistic Director Laura Kaminsky. 

"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 and Academy- and Grammy- award-winning composer David Shire to post-classical mavericks Steve Reich and Mason Bates and opera composer Jake Heggie, reveals Sondheim's amazing influence and ability to transcend the traditional boundaries of musical theater."  

Chosen by de Mare in consultation with Sondheim, 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 are said to "range from near-direct transcriptions of original tunes such as Ricky Ian Gordon's re-working of 'Every Day A Little Death' to full-fledged paraphrases such as David Rakowski's 'The Ladies Who Lunch' and Ricardo Lorenz's Latin fusion 'The Worst [Empanadas] in London.'"

According to Steve Reich, his "Finishing the Hat" piece for two pianos is a rather faithful re-working of one of Sondheim's favorite songs from Sunday in the Park with George, and incidentally the title of Sondheim's recent book.  "Harmonically very close to the original, and melodically adding only occasional variations, my only real change is in the rhythm of constantly changing meters," explains Reich. "This gives my two piano version a rhythmic character more in line with my own music and, hopefully, another perspective with which to appreciate Sondheim's brilliant original."  

Known as a champion of classical contemporary music, de Mare first had the idea for the LIAISONS project over 20 years ago.  It came to fruition in 2006 when he and producer Rachel Colbert starting securing commissions which subsequently led to preview concerts in 2010.  To date, 30 pieces have been commissioned by sources including the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Banff Centre, The Schubert Club, and Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in addition to many private individuals.  LIAISONS' 2012 nationwide tour has made stops in San Francisco, Fort Worth, and Hudson Opera House, to name a few, and will continue in May with a performance at the Gilmore Festival.  A full recording of the project is also underway, produced by Judith Sherman, for release in 2013. 

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