Sarah Cahill

“Sterling Bay Area pianist and an intrepid illuminator of the classical avant-garde” —The New York Times

Pianist Sarah Cahill celebrated the eightieth birthday of Terry Riley in 2015 by playing seven compositions by and for Riley, including several world premieres by MIT composers.

Sarah Cahill’s visit to the Institute is part of MIT Sounding, an innovative annual performance series that blurs the boundaries between contemporary and world music. Curated by Evan Ziporyn, Faculty Director of the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology, the 2014-15 season of MIT Sounding’s diverse offerings range from live performances by new music pioneers Alvin Lucier and Terry Riley to early music denizens Boston Camerata and the Grammy Award-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth.

The 2014-15 MIT Sounding Performance Series is presented by the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) and MIT Music and Theater Arts.

Called “fiercely gifted” and “superb” by the New York Times and “as tenacious and committed an advocate as any composer could dream of” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Sarah Cahill performs music which has been dedicated to her by composers, including John Adams, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Evan Ziporyn, Pauline Oliveros, Ingram Marshall and Yoko Ono.

Specializing in the work of contemporary composers, Sarah Cahill has commissioned, premiered and recorded numerous compositions for solo piano. Her appearances include Spoleto Festival USA, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, the Portland Piano Festival and the Mendocino Music Festival. She has performed chamber music with the New Century Chamber Orchestra, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and many other chamber groups. In January, at San Quentin, she performed compositions Henry Cowell wrote while incarcerated there. She has also premiered pieces by Lou Harrison, Julia Wolfe, Ingram Marshall, Toshi Ichiyanagi, George Lewis, Leo Ornstein and many others. Cahill’s project, A Sweeter Music, premiered in UC-Berkeley’s Cal Performances series and continued to New Sounds Live at Merkin Hall, the Rothko Chapel, the North Dakota Museum of Art, Le Poisson Rouge and venues around the country, with newly commissioned works on the theme of peace by Terry Riley, Meredith Monk, Yoko Ono, Frederic Rzewski, Phil Kline and many others.

Her albums A Sweeter Music and Mamoru Fujieda’s Patterns of Plants were released by Other Minds and Pinna Records, respectively. Cahill has many albums on the New Albion label, and she has also recorded for the CRI, New World, Other Minds, Tzadik, Albany, Cold Blue, Pinna and Artifact labels.

More at the artist’s website: Sarah Cahill.

Past Events

Terry Riley’s 80th Birthday Concert, Sarah Cahill, piano
Performing works from her acclaimed CD A Sweeter Music
November 16, 2014 / 4:00pm
MIT Killian Hall, 14W
160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA

Steppe Music, Meredith Monk
Peace Dances, Frederic Rzewski
The Olive Branch Speaks, Mamoru Fujeda
Authentic Presence, Ingram Marshall
Fragrant Forest, from Pondok, Evan Ziporyn
RCSC, Annea Lockwood
The Long Winter, Phil Kline
Be Kind to One Another, Terry Riley

New York Times, Maya Beiser: Making classical music sexy and smart, February 2014

U-T San Diego, Harrison concerto LJ Symphony highlight, February 2014

Berkely Side, Pianist Sarah Cahill plays Berkeley Arts Festival, September 2013

Sarah Cahill. Credit: Christine Alicino.
Sarah Cahill. Credit: Christine Alicino.