Sarah Rothenberg is a pianist of “heart, intellect and fabulous technical resources” (Fanfare) who creates unique multidisciplinary performances linking music to literature and visual art. In 2009-10, Rothenberg's The Blue Rider in Performance, commissioned by Works & Process at The Guggenheim, premiered to sold-out houses at New York's Miller Theater; and she performed Chopin in Paris: Epigraph for a Condemned Book at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. Presented by Great Performers at Lincoln Center for five consecutive seasons and widely toured, her programs inspired by Proust, Mann, Kafka, and Akhmatova have received international acclaim; Moondrunk, a staging of Schoenberg's Pierrot lunaire, inaugurated Lincoln Center's New Visions series in 1999.
A member of the Da Capo Chamber Players from 1985-95, she has performed over 80 world premieres. Recent new music performances include Wuorinen's Ashberyana (dedicated to Rothenberg) under the direction of Maestro James Levine and the 2011 premiere of Tobias Picker's Piano Quintet with the Brentano String Quartet. Award-winning composer Lei Liang is currently composing a Piano Quintet for Rothenberg and the JACK Quartet.
Rothenberg is Artistic and General Director of Da Camera of Houston. She co-founded the Bard Music Festival in 1990 and was co-artistic director of the Festival for five years. A three-time winner of Chamber Music America-ASCAP's Adventurous Programming Award, Rothenberg received a unique Special Commendation for Outstanding Programming Concepts from CMA in 1999. Her writings appear in The Musical Quarterly, Chamber Music and the literary journals TriQuarterly, Threepenny Review, Brick, and Conjunctions. Recently described by The Wall Street Journal as “a prolific and creative thinker,” in 2000, she was awarded the prestigious French Medal of Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
After graduating from The Curtis Institute of Music, where her teachers were Seymour Lipkin and Mieczeslaw Horszowski, Rothenberg studied the music of Olivier Messiaen in Paris with the composer's wife, Yvonne Loriod, who wrote: “Sarah Rothenberg has many gifts: generosity, sensitivity, passion, intelligence...She is a 'Presence' at the piano, a flame between the composer and the public!” Olivier Messiaen himself wrote “A magnificent pianist.”
Marilyn Nonken is one of the most celebrated champions of the modern repertoire of her generation, known for performances that explore transcendent virtuosity and extremes of musical expression. Upon her 1993 New York debut, she was heralded as “a determined protector of important music” by The New York Times.
Nonken's performances have been presented at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Miller Theatre, the Guggenheim Museum, (Le) Poisson Rouge, IRCAM and the Theâtre Bouffe du Nord (Paris), the ABC (Melbourne), Instituto-Norteamericano (Santiago), the Music Gallery (Toronto), the Phillips Collection, and the Menil Collection. Festival appearances include Résonances and the Festival d'Automne (both, Paris) and When Morty Met John, Making Music, and Works and Process (all, New York), American Sublime (Philadelphia), The Festival of New American Music (Sacramento), Musica Nova (Helsinki), Aspects des Musiques d’Aujourd-hui (Caën), Messiaen 2008 (Birmingham, UK), New Music Days (Ostrava), Musikhøst (Odense), Music on the Edge (Pittsburgh), Piano Festival Northwest (Portland), and the William Kapell International Piano Festival and Competition.
In 2011 Nonken released the album Stress Position on the New Focus label to rave reviews. Ira Byelick from the American Record Guide stated “Stress Position is an album of piano music by Chicago based composer and pianist Drew Baker; it is brilliant ....The work is absolutely electrifying, and there are very few people other than the incomparable Marilyn Nonken who could pull it off with such power.” Director of Piano Studies at New York University’s Steinhardt School, Nonken is a Steinway Artist.