Photo by ChristineAlicino

Photo by ChristineAlicino

Sarah Cahill, piano

Sarah Cahill, recently called “a sterling pianist and an intrepid illuminator of the classical avant-garde” by the New York Times and “a brilliant and charismatic advocate for modern and contemporary composers” by Time Out New York, has commissioned, premiered, and recorded numerous compositions for solo piano. Composers who have dedicated works to her include John Adams, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, and Ingram Marshall, and she has also premiered pieces by Lou Harrison, Julia Wolfe, Toshi Ichiyanagi, George Lewis, Leo Ornstein, and many others.


Cahill has researched and recorded music by the important early 20th-century American modernists Henry Cowell and Ruth Crawford, and has commissioned a number of new pieces in tribute to their enduring influence. She enjoys working closely with composers, musicologists, and scholars to prepare scores for performance.

Recent appearances include a concert at San Quentin of the music Henry Cowell wrote while incarcerated there, four performances at the San Francisco Symphony’s Soundbox, a residency at the Noguchi Museum, and concerts at Le Poisson Rouge and the Italian Academy in New York. She performs as a duo with violinist Kate Stenberg and has performed chamber music with the Alexander String Quartet, New Century Chamber Orchestra, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and many other chamber groups. Performance highlights for the 2017-18 season include the Interlochen Arts Festival, Mendocino Music Festival, the Cleveland Museum of Art, concerts in Tokyo and Fukuoka, Terry Riley’s Sri Moonshine series, and New Music Miami.

Sarah Cahill’s discography includes over twenty albums on the New Albion, CRI, New World, Tzadik, Albany, Innova, Cold Blue, Other Minds, Pinna, and Irritable Hedgehog labels. Her 2013 release A Sweeter Music (Other Minds) featured musical reflections on war by eighteen composer/activists, commissioned especially for the album. In 2015, Pinna Records released her two-CD set of Mamoru Fujieda’s Patterns of Plants, a fusion of nature and technology created by identifying the musical patterns in the electrical impulses of plants. Cahill’s four-CD box set, Eighty Trips Around the Sun: Music by and for Terry Riley, was released in 2017 on the Irritable Hedgehog label and features Riley’s solo and four-hand works (with Regina Myers and Samuel Carl Adams) and eight world premiere recordings of commissioned works in honor of his 80th birthday.

Her radio show, Revolutions Per Minute, can be heard every Sunday evening from 8 to 10 pm on KALW, 91.7 FM in San Francisco. She is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory and curates a monthly series of new music concerts at the new Berkeley Art Museum.

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