New York, NY – Cantaloupe Music will release Sierra, a new album from composer Jane Antonia Cornish and pianist Vicky Chow, worldwide on April 22, 2022. Sierra features the world premiere recordings of six new pieces composed by Cornish – Sky, Ocean, Sunglitter, Last Light, and Sierra. Except for Last Light, which is for solo piano, the music on the album is for four or six multi-layered pianos, all of which have been recorded by Chow. Chow and Cornish will give an album release concert to celebrate the release of Sierra on April 18 at 8pm, at Roulette (509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn), with art direction and lighting design by Ben Toht. The first single, Last Light, was released on April 8.
Introspective and quietly majestic, Sierra is a vivid meditation on how our deep connection to nature can move us to an inner stillness and awaken the creative impulse. Sierra consists of five separate pieces composed for multiple pianos, ranging from the poignant solo excursion Last Light to the cascading, undulating Ocean and the epic 15-minute title piece. Performed with confidence and commitment by pianist Vicky Chow, whose ability to flex in different interpretive directions, depending on the composer’s intention, is renowned in the modern classical community, Sierra captures a palette of subtle but insistent emotions – wonder, wistfulness, joy and awe – that can elevate and transport us with astonishing power.
The genesis of the album, which was conceptualized and composed in 2020 during the early days of the pandemic, came from a painting – Noah Buchanan’s Symphony. Buchanan asked Cornish to compose a piece of music to paint into the work. Cornish says, “I aimed to compose something that would not only sound beautiful, but look beautiful in the painting as well.”
Cornish and Chow had previously talked about recording another album – one that would include music for multiple pianos. With their schedules otherwise open in 2020, they decided it was time to embark on the recording project that would become Sierra. Cornish says, “I wanted this music to have many layers, but still live in a similar sound world to my previous albums, which are transcendent and peaceful, with a lot of space and a lot of quiet. It’s very textural.”
Jane Antonia Cornish is the first woman to have won a BAFTA award for music. Her five previous albums have been called “a font of wistfulness and melancholic beauty” by WQXR, “beautiful” by BBC Radio 3, “patient, virtuosic, and mesmerizing” by Tom Schnabel, KCRW and, “a virtual blessing in a world gone mad” by ICON Magazine. Vicky Chow, pianist in the Bang on a Can All-Stars since 2009, has been described as, “one of our era’s most brilliant pianists,” by The New York Times. Her latest album was described by The New Yorker as, “a milestone of pianism.”
The two artists first met when Cornish approached Chow to play on her album Into Silence in 2017 and have worked together ever since. For Chow, Cornish’s music has become a touchstone. She says, “Playing Jane’s music gives me the time to breathe and be myself, and gives me some time and space. Every time I listen to it, and every time I play it, it just really touches my heart.”
As Brett Banducci puts it in the album’s poetic liner notes, “This is music that entices us back to oneness with nature and the universe. It beckons us to reconnect, reflect, and return to the resonance of our own inner being.”
About Jane Antonia Cornish
Time, silence, light, reflection and transcendence: exploring these themes, Jane Antonia Cornish’s five studio albums have been met with wide acclaim.
The music from these albums has led to collaborations in the world of ballet. Ask la Cour, NYC Ballet Principal, choreographed a pas de deux to Into Silence, which was performed and toured by Stars of American Ballet. Most recently the Royal Swedish Ballet performed a new work by Joseph Sturdy to music by Jane Antonia and Michael Gordon.
The first woman in history to win a British Academy Award (BAFTA) for music, Jane Antonia has also scored many films, including “Fireflies in the Garden” starring Julia Roberts, Ryan Reynolds and Willem Dafoe. She was named one of the UK Film Council’s “Breakthrough Brits in Hollywood” and was nominated for “Breakthrough Composer of the Year” award by the International Film Music Critics Association.
Jane Antonia Cornish studied composition at The Royal Northern College of Music with Anthony Gilbert, where she was made a Major Scholar. She went on to complete her postgraduate degree at the Royal College of Music, London.
About Vicky Chow
Hong Kong/Canadian pianist Vicky Chow has been described as “brilliant” (New York Times) and “one of our era’s most brilliant pianists” (Pitchfork). Since joining the Bang on a Can All-Stars in 2009, she has collaborated and worked with artists and ensembles such as the International Contemporary Ensemble, The Knights, Tyshawn Sorey, Andy Akiho, John Zorn, Meredith Monk, Gong Linna, Kronos Quartet, Longleash Trio, Steve Reich, Wet Ink Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, and Momenta Quartet, to name a few.
About her recording of Michael Gordon’s Sonatra, Ethan Iverson wrote for The New Yorker, “Sonatra is a milestone of composition, and Vicky Chow’s recording of it is a milestone of pianism.” Her album Tristan Perich: Surface Image, released in 2013 on New Amsterdam Records, was among the top 10 Avant Music albums in Rolling Stone. In 2022, she will be releasing three new solo albums (Philip Glass: Piano Etudes Book 1 in celebration of his 85th Birthday in 2022, Jane Antonia Cornish: Sierra, and Michael Gordon: July) on the Cantaloupe Music label. Her other recordings can be found on Nonesuch, New Amsterdam, Tzadik, among others.
During the pandemic, she worked with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company on the new production “Afterwardsness,” which premiered at the Park Avenue Armory October 2020 and toured Massachusetts and Minneapolis in late 2021. Upcoming performances in spring 2022 include premieres of a new concerto by Krists Auznieks in Latvia, tours with Bang on a Can All-Stars in Europe, as well as new premieres and album release concerts at Roulette Brooklyn.
Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she is based in Brooklyn, NY. She serves as faculty at the Bang on a Can Summer Institute and has been on faculty at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. She is on the Board of Advisors for Composers Now, and is also a mentor at The Juilliard School. A graduate of The Juilliard School (B.M. ’05, M.M ’07 Piano Performance) and The Manhattan School of Music (M.M. Contemporary Performance ’09), Vicky Chow is a Yamaha artist.