Sarah Rothenberg

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Sarah Rothenberg is a pianist of “heart, intellect and fabulous technical resources” (Fanfare) and “a prolific and creative thinker” (Wall Street Journal) who is recognized internationally for her innovative interdisciplinary performances linking music to literature and visual art. Active as performer, writer, concert curator and institution builder, she has been artistic director of Da Camera in Houston since 1994, general director since 2011, and previously was co-founder of the Bard Music Festival.

Her critically-acclaimed interdisciplinary projects, which she conceives, directs and performs, include In the Garden of Dreams, interweaving music, art and ideas of fin-de-siècle Vienna; The Blue Rider, commissioned by Works & Process at The Guggenheim for the Kandinsky exhibit and New York’s Miller Theater; and Moondrunk, which inaugurated Lincoln Center’s New Visions series. Rothenberg’s Music and the Literary Imagination programs on Marcel Proust, Anna Akhmatova, Thomas Mann, Charles Baudelaire and others have been presented across the US and by Great Performers at Lincoln Center (New York), Barbican Centre (London), The Concertgebouw (Amsterdam).

Committed to performing neglected repertoire as well as new music, she has performed over 85 premieres. Recordings include the U.S. premiere of Fanny Mendelssohn’s Das Jahr; Rediscovering the Russian Avant-Garde: Lourié, Mosolov and Roslavetz; Shadows and Fragments: Piano Works of Brahms and Schoenberg; and works of Wuorinen, Carter, Perle, Ran, Tower, Tsontakis, Ruders, Picker (with Brentano Quartet) in collaboration with the composers, as well as Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen (with Marilyn Nonken) and forthcoming on ECM, Music for Rothko Chapel: Satie, Cage, Feldman. Last season, she appeared as solo pianist in 48 performances of Martha Clarke’s dance/music/theater adaptation of Colette’s Cheri at New York’s off-Broadway Signature Theatre; this season includes performances at the Ravenna Festival (Italy), Kennedy Center (DC) and a return to the Bard Music Festival.

Her writings appear in Threepenny Review, TriQuarterly, Brick, Nexus (Netherlands), The Musical Quarterly, Rackstraw Downes: Onsite Paintings, The Crisis of Criticism. A graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music, her teachers were Seymour Lipkin, Mieczeslaw Horoszowski and Herbert Stessin, and she studied in Paris with Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen. In 2000, she received the French Medal of Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters. She lives in Houston and New York.