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Lois Svard

LOIS SVARD has received enthusiastic acclaim internationally for her performances of contemporary piano music. Critics have praised her for her "lucid interpretations of unusual and seldom-heard repertoire," and for the "extraordinary musicianship" of her playing. A recent Village Voice review stated that "Svard played with an emotionality that many pianists bring to Brahms, but not to post-Cage repertoire."

With a special interest in American music, she has commissioned and premiered several works by such American experimental composers as Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier, Annea Lockwood, "Blue" Gene Tyranny, Jerry Hunt, Kirk Nurock and William Duckworth. She has performed throughout the United States and Europe in such venues as Roulette (New York), Honolulu Academy of Arts, Stichting Logos (Belgium), Het Apollohuis and Zaal de Unie (Netherlands), and on such series as the Interpretations Series at Merkin Hall in New York and the Lane Series at the University of Vermont. In October 1998 she participated in two performances of John Cage's Musicircus at the Barbican Centre in London as part of their American Pioneers series.

Her most recent compact disc, Other Places, released by Lovely Music, Ltd. in December 1997 and featuring the music of Elodie Lauten, Jerry Hunt and Kyle Gann, won immediate praise: "Svard plays with enormous sureness and poetry . . . she has excellent taste, great intellectual and artistic curiosity, and rock-solid technique." Her first compact disc, With and Without Memory, also released by Lovely Music and containing works of Robert Ashley, William Duckworth and "Blue" Gene Tyranny, also elicited enthusiastic praise from critics. It has been called "an important, ravishingly beautiful release," with Svard herself praised for her "probing, delicate sensibility" and for a performance "so in keeping with the music's soul as to sound a syncretic marvel." She has also recorded for Composers Recordings, Inc., and her performances have been broadcast over radio stations in Europe and in the United States.

In addition to premiering many works by American composers, Svard has also brought European music to U.S. audiences. She was the first American pianist to play The Book of Sounds (1979-1982) by Hans Otte, and the first to play György Ligeti's award-winning Etudes for piano, Vol. I (1985), in its entirety. During the 1999-2000 season, she will present a series of concerts entitled "150 Years of the Avant-garde" featuring ground-breaking piano works from Franz Liszt to works for digital keyboard.

Svard frequently writes about new piano music, and her articles have appeared in Musical America, Keyboard and Notes. In connection with her performances of recent piano music, she often gives talks about twentieth-century compositional techniques for the piano. She holds a doctorate in piano performance from The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University and is currently on the piano faculty at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. In 1995 she became the co-director of The Gallery Series at Bucknell, a concert series of performance art and experimental music, and in 1996 she coordinated the Bucknell Humanities Institute on Creativity.

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