Sarah Rothenberg — Artistic and General Director
Pianist Sarah Rothenberg, artistic director of Da Camera since 1994, expanded her role in 2011 to become Da Camera’s artistic and general director. A pianist of “heart, intellect and fabulous technical resources” (Fanfare) and “power and introspection” (The New York Times), Sarah Rothenberg is active as performer, writer, educator and as creator of unique multidisciplinary performances linking music to literature and visual art. The Wall Street Journal recently described her as “a prolific and creative thinker.”
In recent seasons, Sarah Rothenberg’s live multimedia performance, The Blue Rider: Kandinsky and Music, commissioned by Works & Process at The Guggenheim, premiered to sold-out houses and critical acclaim at New York’s Miller Theatre; she performed her original production, Chopin in Paris: Epigraph for a Condemned Book, at the prestigious Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, and her newest CD, Messiaen’s Visions de l'Amen (with Marilyn Nonken), was released by Bridge Records to rave reviews here and abroad. The Music and the Literary Imagination series, conceived, directed and performed by Rothenberg, inspired by the writings of Proust, Mann, Kafka and Akhmatova, was presented by Great Performers at Lincoln Center for five consecutive seasons; Moondrunk, a staging of Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire with soprano Lucy Shelton and performance artist John Kelly, inaugurated Lincoln Center’s New Visions series in 1999. Her artistic collaborations reach beyond the music world to include lighting designer Jennifer Tipton; actors Fritz Weaver, Uta Hagen and André Gregory; American poet John Ashbery, Dutch author Cees Nooteboom and Polish poet Adam Zagajewski. She has been presented in concert by Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), Barbican Centre (London), The Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Palais des Beaux-Arts (Brussels), Bard Summerscape, The 92nd Street Y, Library of Congress, Van Cliburn Foundation, The Getty Museum, New York's (Le) Poisson Rouge and concert series across the United States. This season, Sarah Rothenberg embarks on a new multi-disciplinary adventure with choreographer/director Martha Clarke, sharing the stage with actress Amy Irving and renowned ballet dancers Herman Cornejo and Alessandra Ferri in Cheri at New York’s off-Broadway Signature Theatre.
Committed to performing the music of our time and to the rediscovery of forgotten repertoire of the past, Sarah Rothenberg’s recordings for Bridge, Arabesque, GM, Koch and Naxos include the U.S. premiere recordings of Fanny Mendelssohn's Das Jahr (Independent Record Companies Award for Best Solo Classical Recording); Rediscovering the Russian Avant-Garde: Lourié, Mosolov and Roslavetz (GM); Shadows and Fragments: Piano Works of Brahms and Schoenberg; and works of Wuorinen, Carter, Perle, Ran, Tower, Tsontakis, in collaboration with the composers. She has performed over 80 world premieres and was a member of the New York contemporary music ensemble, Da Capo Chamber Players, from 1985-94. Recent new music performances include Wuorinen’s Ashberyana (commissioned by Da Camera and dedicated to Sarah Rothenberg) under the direction of maestro James Levine. Last season she performed the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s Piano Quintet in Houston with the Brentano String Quartet and the work’s New York premiere on the prestigious Composer Portraits series at Miller Theatre at Columbia University. She also performed the world premiere of a new work by Danish composer Poul Ruders with violist Hsin-Yun Huang. Upcoming recordings include the Picker Quintet with the Brentano String Quartet on the Tzaddik label and the release of Da Camera’s Music for Rothko Chapel: Satie, Cage and Feldman on ECM in 2014.
Prior to coming to Da Camera, Sarah Rothenberg co-founded the Bard Music Festival and was co-artistic director of the Festival for five seasons. She also served as Chair of the Bard College Department of Music. Under her leadership, Da Camera has been a three-time winner of Chamber Music America-ASCAP’s Adventurous Programming Award, was awarded the CMAcclaim Award and received a unique Special Commendation for Outstanding Programming Concepts from Chamber Music America in 1999. She has been a Senior Fellow at the New School’s Vera List Center for Art and Politics in New York, and was visiting artist-in-residence at the Mitchell Center for the Arts at University of Houston in 2008. Sarah Rothenberg’s writings appear in the literary journals TriQuarterly, Threepenny Review, Brick and Conjunctions, as well as The Musical Quarterly, Nexus and Chamber Music; and in The Crisis of Criticism (ed. Maurice Berger/New Press) and Rackstraw Downes: Onsite Paintings (2010).
Sarah Rothenberg's early training was at The Juilliard School with Herbert Stessin. After graduating from The Curtis Institute of Music, where her teachers were Seymour Lipkin and Mieczeslaw Horszowski, Sarah studied the music of Olivier Messiaen in Paris with the composer’s wife, Yvonne Loriod. In 2000, she was awarded the French Medal of Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.