The department welcomes back Dana Muller and professor of music emeritus Gary Steigerwalt for a concert of piano four-hand wizardry.
Concerts by piano four-hands duo Dana Muller and Gary Steigerwalt were for many years highlights of the music department's concert season. After a two year hiatus, we welcome them back for a diverse program featuring works by Liszt, Ravel, Casella, Mendelssohn, and a world premiere by Prof. David Sanford inspired by Boston’s iconic ruin, the abandoned subterranean concert venue, Steinert Hall. Free and open to the public.
Dana Muller and Gary Steigerwalt
The husband-wife team Dana Muller and Gary Steigerwalt (MHC Professor Emeritus) have been performing four-hand and duo-piano repertoire for over 30 years. Creating programs that encompass the historical and stylistic gamut of the genre, they have performed extensively in the United States, as well as in Scotland, Argentina, and Bolivia.
In addition to presenting the complete four-hand works of Beethoven at the Beethoven Festival, Oyster Bay, Long Island, the couple has appeared in recitals at venues including the Bethlehem Musikfest (Pennsylvania), Music at Penn Alps (Maryland), and the Sevenars Festival, Musicorda Festival, and Wistaria Chamber Music Society (Massachusetts). Orchestral appearances include the Pennsylvania Sinfonia (North American premiere of Jan Mul’s Concerto for Piano Four-Hands and Chamber Orchestra), Orchestra New England, Mesquite Symphony Orchestra (Texas), and Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra (Massachusetts).
In February 2018 the duo will record a CD of works written for them by American composers Lewis Spratlan, David Sanford, Donald Wheelock, Daniel Asia, and Matthew St. Laurent, in addition to John LaMontaine’s four-hand Sonata, for release on the Navona Records label in October 2018. Past recordings include four compact discs for the Centaur label. Their recording of four-hand works by early twentieth-century European composers (Centaur CD 2127) was hailed “an outstanding disc” by Fanfare, and their disc of nineteenth-century Romantic compositions by Anton Rubinstein, Josef Rheinberger and Frederick Shepherd Converse (CRC 2390) was praised for its "panache and conviction" (www.allmusic.com). Also released by Centaur are two volumes (CRC 2272 and 2305) devoted to the four-hand works of Franz Schubert, excerpts from which can be heard in the soundtrack of the critically acclaimed movie Good Will Hunting.
Upcoming appearances are scheduled for the Mohawk Trail Concerts series (Charlemont, Massachusetts, July 21, 2018), the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music Summer Series (Tucson, August 2018), and the For the Love of Music series (Bisbee, Arizona, January 26-27, 2019).
Professor of Music
David Sanford credits a variety of influences with igniting his musicianship. "I started on trombone when I was about ten and liked big band music early. I wanted to be a jazz musician. Charles Mingus inspired me to be a composer later on." Sanford was also influenced by rhythm and blues/funk groups like Parliament, the Isley Brothers, and Sly and the Family Stone and, later, by orchestral and more mainstream popular music. After completing undergraduate music studies at the University of Northern Colorado, he earned a master's degree in theory and composition from the New England Conservatory of Music and an M.F.A. and Ph.D. at Princeton University.
Sanford has won many awards and honors, including a BMI Student Composer Award, a Koussevitzky Commission and a Guggenheim Fellowship, which enabled him to take a year off to focus exclusively on composing during graduate school. Recently, Sanford won the Samuel Barber Rome Prize Fellowship, allowing him to stay at the American Academy in Rome for 11 months with a group of 25 to 30 scholars in other areas of the humanities. One of the referees for his work wrote: "David Sanford is the real thing, a composer in the American tradition of brash, open-eared exploration: no material is too exalted or too debased for him to transform into his living art."
Sanford's works have been performed by the Chamber Society of Lincoln Center, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Chicago Symphony Chamber Players, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Harlem Festival Orchestra, cellist Matt Haimovitz, the Corvini e Iodice Roma Jazz Ensemble, the Meridian Arts Ensemble, Speculum Musicae, the Empyrean Ensemble at UC Davis, Mount Holyoke faculty members Linda Laderach, Adrianne Greenbaum, and Larry Schipull, and dozens of other groups and performers. In addition, he has conducted performances of his own works at Monadnock Music, New England Conservatory, the Knitting Factory, and the Five Colleges New Music Festival, and leads his own big band, the Pittsburgh Collective.
At Mount Holyoke, Sanford teaches theory (ear training, class harmony, and advanced seminar), composition, twentieth-century music history, jazz history, music in film, and music of the 1970s.