What are you looking for in pieces of new piano music? Sarah Cahill

What are you looking for in pieces of new piano music? Sarah Cahill



Sarah Cahill
Photo by David Casteel

First of all, it helps if a score is clearly legible. Then, I try to get a sense of its overall structure, both away from and at the piano. If it’s impenetrable or confused, I probably won’t play it. I’m also not interested in any score that’s unnecessarily complex, or that involves harsh or ugly music-making. It shouldn’t cause aural or physical pain. Ideally, it should feel good in the hands. I want the composer to understand the instrument and the kaleidoscopic sound worlds it can produce. Sometimes, a new piece causes a rush of excitement, and I can’t stop reading through it repeatedly, anticipating the pleasure of diving in. That’s ultimately what I look for.

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