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by Daniel Hautzinger

american-graceOf all instrumentalists, pianists seem to commission and perform new works the least often. The repertoire for the piano is already so vast and worthy that many performers see no need to add to it. Why even play pieces from the past half-century, when there is so much great, neglected, earlier music?

Luckily, not all pianists think this way. Take Orli Shaham, whose album American Grace, released in February on Canary Classics, features attractive works written since 1975 by John Adams and Steven Mackey, as well as two world premiere recordings. One of those pieces, Steven Mackey’s concerto Stumble to Grace, was commissioned for Shaham by a consortium of orchestras as a result of her own initiative.

Stumble to Grace (2011), performed here with the responsive Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Shaham’s husband, David Robertson, is Mackey’s first major work for piano. Read the rest of this entry »

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