Sarah Cahill, recently called “fiercely gifted” by the New York Times and “as tenacious and committed an advocate as any composer could dream of” by the San Francisco Chronicle, has commissioned, premiered, and recorded numerous compositions for solo piano. Composers who have dedicated works to her include John Adams, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, Annea Lockwood, and Evan Ziporyn, and she has also premiered pieces by Lou Harrison, Julia Wolfe, Ingram Marshall, Toshi Ichiyanagi, George Lewis, Leo Ornstein, and many others.
Cahill has researched and recorded the music by the important early 20th-century American modernists Henry Cowell and Ruth Crawford, and has commissioned a number of new pieces in tribute to their enduring influence. She enjoys working closely with composers, musicologists, and scholars to prepare scores for performance. Recent appearances include a concert at San Quentin of the music Henry Cowell wrote while incarcerated there, Lou Harrison’s Piano Concerto with Steven Schick and the La Jolla Symphony, and Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet at the Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Seminar and Festival. She has performed chamber music with the Alexander String Quartet, New Century Chamber Orchestra, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and many other chamber groups. Upcoming concerts include a residency at Dickinson College with Sarah’s husband, video artist John Sanborn, a recital at MIT, and an all-Berio performance with pianist Adam Tendler at the Italian Academy at Columbia University.
Sarah’s most recent project, A Sweeter Music, premiered in the Cal Performances series in Berkeley in January 2009 and continued to New Sounds Live at Merkin Hall, 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. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that “the music, helped along by the impassioned force of Cahill’s playing, amounted to a persuasive and varied investigation of the subject,” and London’s Financial Times called it “a unique commissioning programme that unites artistic aspirations with moral philosophy.” She is working on two new commissioning projects: one explores our relationship to nature, and the other celebrates the eightieth birthday of Terry Riley in 2015. Most of Sarah’s albums are on the New Albion label. She has also recorded for the CRI, New World, Other Minds, Tzadik, Albany, Cold Blue, and Artifact labels. Her album A Sweeter Music is on the Other Minds label, and Pinna Records will release her two-CD set of Mamoru Fujieda’s Patterns of Plants. Her radio show, Revolutions Per Minute, can be heard every Sunday evening from 8 to 10 pm on KALW, 91.7 FM in San Francisco. She is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory, hosts a new music series at the Exploratorium, and curates a monthly series of new music concerts at the Berkeley Art Museum.