Kate Stenberg, violin
Sarah Cahill, piano
Mary Watkins Summer Days commissioned by Cahill, World Premiere
Ronald Bruce Smith Ascent and Horizon commissioned by Stenberg, World Premieres
Somei Satoh Birds in Warped Time II
Lili Boulanger Nocturne
Ruth Crawford Buoyant from Violin Sonata
Germaine Tailleferre Adagietto from Sonata No. 2
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Deep River arranged by Maud Powell
Johannes Brahms Sonata in A major, Op. 100
Composed of pianist Sarah Cahill and violinist Kate Stenberg, the Stenberg|Cahill Duo is dedicated to promoting the American experimental tradition and expanding it through the commissioning of new work. On this program, the Stenberg | Cahill duo will give world premieres by two composers: Summer Days by Mary Watkins (commissioned by Cahill) and Ascent and Horizon – two movements from a work-in-progress – by Ronald Bruce Smith (commissioned by Stenberg).
Watkins says of her piece, “Summer Days is a reflection of a summer day when kids are being kids out of school safely playing together without a care in the world – the way it was when I was a kid!! The music makes me think of children between the ages of 6 and 9 on a hot summer day freely playing in the water of a sprinkler, bouncing, running, wrestling, yelling, laughing, and screaming with delight.”
Smith writes, “Ascent and Horizon (2020) are from a set of pieces in progress for solo violin. Similar to a set of guitar pieces that I began in 2018, there is not a predetermined number of pieces in the collection. The idea is to add pieces as they are composed while ultimately leaving it to the performer to decide which ones to program and the order. Ascent was the first piece I completed following the COVID-19 lockdown in Toronto where I live part of the year. It seemed that the complicated and anxious situation asked for a searching yet uncomplicated contemplative response. Horizon is seeing things in perspective relative to a focal point. These two pieces were written for and are dedicated to Kate Stenberg.”
Recent Stenberg|Cahill Duo appearances include performances at San Francisco Performances PIVOT Series with percussionist William Winant, Berkeley Chamber Performances, Cal State Fullerton New Music Festival, Berkeley Museum of Art and Pacific Film Archive, Other Minds New Music Séance and Garden of Memory at the Julia Morgan Chapel of the Chimes.
Sarah Cahill has commissioned and premiered over sixty compositions for solo piano. Composers who have dedicated works to Cahill include John Adams, Terry Riley, Pauline Oliveros, Julia Wolfe, Yoko Ono, Annea Lockwood, and Ingram Marshall. Keyboard Magazine writes, “Through her inspired interpretation of works across the 20th and 21st centuries, Cahill has been instrumental in bringing to life the music of many of our greatest living composers.” She was named a 2018 Champion of New Music, awarded by the American Composers Forum (ACF).
Cahill’s latest project is The Future is Female, a ritual installation and communal feminist immersive listening experience featuring more than sixty compositions by women around the globe, ranging from the 18th century to the present day, including new commissioned works. Featured composers include Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Maria de Alvear, Galina Ustvolskaya, Frangiz Ali-Zadeh, Florence Price, Hannah Kendall, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Kui Dong, Meredith Monk, Vítězslava Kaprálová, Deirdre Gribbin, Fannie Dillon, and many others. Cahill is performing this project in museums, galleries, and concert halls in current and future seasons. Recent and upcoming performances of The Future is Female include Carolina Performing Arts, Carlsbad Music Festival, Detroit Institute of Arts, Bowling Green New Music Festival, North Dakota Museum of Art, and Mayville State University.
In addition to her collaborative duo with Kate Stenberg, Cahill has performed classical and contemporary chamber music with artists and ensembles such as Jessica Lang Dance; pianists Joseph Kubera, Adam Tendler, and Regina Myers; violinist Stuart Canin; the Alexander String Quartet; New Century Chamber Orchestra; Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and many more.
Recent appearances include the Interlochen Arts Festival, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Boston Institute for Contemporary Art, a performance at Alice Tully Hall with the Silk Road Ensemble, Stanford Live, Le Poisson Rouge, and concerts at San Francisco Performances, Sacramento State’s Festival of New American Music, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in the United Kingdom, and Toyusu Civic Center Hall in Tokyo.
Sarah Cahill’s discography includes more than twenty albums on the New Albion, CRI, New World, Tzadik, Albany, Innova, Cold Blue, Other Minds, Irritable Hedgehog, and Pinna labels. Her 2013 release A Sweeter Music (Other Minds) featured musical reflections on war by eighteen composer/activists. In 2015, Pinna Records released her two-CD set of Mamoru Fujieda’s Patterns of Plants, a fusion of nature and technology created by identifying the musical patterns in the electrical impulses of plants. In September 2017, she released her latest album, Eighty Trips Around the Sun: Music by and for Terry Riley, a box set tribute to Terry Riley, on Irritable Hedgehog Records. The four-CD set includes solo works by Riley, four-hand works with pianist Regina Myers, and world premiere recordings of commissioned works composed in honor of Riley’s 80th birthday.
Cahill’s 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 piano faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory.
Bay Area violinist Kate Stenberg is a leading interpreter of contemporary chamber music. She has premiered over a hundred solo and chamber works, including pieces incorporating multi-media and improvisation. Stenberg has premiered new works by renowned composers Gabriela Lena Frank, Mason Bates, Tania Leon, Jack Body, Chinary Ung and Per Nørgård, among others. Her CD Scenes from a New Music Séance, produced on the label Other Minds Records with pianist Eva-Maria Zimmermann, received widespread praise. It features groundbreaking, innovative works by Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Ruth Crawford Seeger and George Antheil, as well as works dedicated to her by living composers Charles Amirkhanian, Amy X Neuburg, and Ronald Bruce Smith. She has also received dedications from Robert Honstein, David Evan Jones, Aaron Gervais, and most recently Larry Polansky on New World Records. NewMusicBox describes Stenberg’s playing as “highly virtuosic and deeply communicative … full of character and presence.” Her performances have taken her across the globe to a dozen countries, including China, Korea, and locales in southeast Asia.
Kate Stenberg’s passion for chamber music led her to develop and commission new chamber music as co-founder of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (1993-1998) and Real Vocal String Quartet (2004-2006). From 1995-2015 she served as the first violinist of the award winning Del Sol String Quartet, where she fostered the string quartet repertoire through collaboration and the commissioning of established and emerging composers. During her two decade tenure with the quartet, Stenberg worked closely with many composers including Joan Tower, Wadada Leo Smith, Paweł Mykietyn, Kui Dong, Mohammed Fairouz, Reza Vali, Ken Ueno and Hyo-shin Na performing at such venues as the Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Symphony Space, National Gallery of Art and on KQED’s public television Spark series. Del Sol Quartet was a two time top winner of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming expanding its reach to numerous educational institutions including the Manhattan School of Music, Dartmouth, MIT, Chapman University, University of California Berkeley and Santa Cruz, and the San Francisco and Peabody Conservatories of Music. The quartet was hailed for their “luminous performance” (San Francisco Chronicle) on the Sono Luminous CD The Complete String Quartets with Didjeridu by Peter Sculthorpe.
Stenberg’s festival performances include the Other Minds Festival, Opera Santa Fe, Nirmita Composer’s Institute (Cambodia and Thailand), Davos Festival (Switzerland), Centre Acanthes (France), Banff Centre (Canada), Chengdu Contemporary Music Festival (China), Ojai Music Festival, Chautauqua and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. In addition to her festival performances, Stenberg can also be heard on recordings with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, New Music Works, Stratos and with tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain and sarod master Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Stenberg premiered the work of Daniel Bernard Roumain for San Francisco Performances with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company alongside cellist Joan Jeanrenaud and has played with many other ensembles including the New Century Chamber Orchestra, West Edge Opera, Earplay, San Francisco Opera and Ballet Orchestras, Rochester Philharmonic and Kammeroper Frankfurt. Currently, she plays on occasion with the San Francisco Symphony.