LIAISONS is a landmark commissioning and concert project, conceived by acclaimed concert pianist Anthony de Mare, based on the songs of legendary musical theater composer Stephen Sondheim. The project has brought together 36 of the world’s foremost contemporary composers from across the musical spectrum to “re-imagine” one of Sondheim’s songs as a solo piano piece.
The result is a brand new world-class piano repertory that reveals Sondheim’s influence across multiple genres and generations. Chosen by de Mare in consultation with Mr. Sondheim and producer Rachel Colbert, the Liaisons roster spans the classical, jazz, opera, pop, musical theater and film worlds. Composers hail from seven different countries, ranging in age from 30 to 75 and representing more than 44 Pulitzers, Grammys, Tonys and Academy Awards.
At its essence, Liaisons is an homage. But unlike any other Sondheim tribute to date, its focus is on Sondheim the composer. Liaisons leaves no doubt that Sondheim’s music is as at home in the concert hall as it is in the theater – making the case for him as one of the 20th century's greatest and most influential composers.
Liaisons programs have played to critical and popular acclaim in San Francisco, Portland, Kansas City, Fort Worth and the Ravinia and Gilmore Festivals, among many others. The first 32 pieces received their NYC premieres over the span of two sold-out concerts at Symphony Space, in April 2012 and March 2013. Liaisons performances have received rave reviews from Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times, Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Andy Propst of The Sondheim Review and many others. Mr. Sondheim also gave a live interview at each of the NYC premieres - see the WATCH/LISTEN tab for excerpts.
Performed exclusively by de Mare through 2016, individual pieces can be combined to form an infinite variety of concert, recital and residency programs. Real-time news about concerts and other updates can be found on our Facebook page:
November 13, 2014 - Seattle, WA Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center tickets view map
April 9-10, 2015 Williams, MA Williams College
Saturday, October 11, 2014 Buffalo, NY Burchfield Penney Arts Center more info
Friday, October 10, 2014 Buffalo, NY Burchfield Penney Arts Center more info
August 27, 2014 Highland Park, IL Ravinia Festival more info
August 8, 2014 Rockport, MA Shalin Liu Performing Arts Center more info
April 13, 2014 Minneapolis, MN The Schubert Club more info
March 29-30, 2014 Davis, CA Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts more info
March 25, 2014 San Francisco, CA The Artist Sessions: San Francisco Conservatory more info
March 23, 2014 San Diego, CA San Diego Library
November 3, 2013 New York, NY Greenwich House Music School - Renee Weiler Concert Hall Guest Artist - The Hilary Hahn Encores
Liaisons works by Nico Muhly, Mark Anthony Turnage, Mason Bates and Paul Moravec more info
August 25, 2013 Highland Park, IL Ravinia Festival more info
August 10, 2013 Peterborough, NH Mondadnock Music Festival more info
May 31, 2013 Ashland, OR Southern Oregon University more info
May 22, 2013 Norfolk, VA Virginia Arts Festival more info
May 12, 2013 New York, NY Tribeca New Music 2013 Festival more info
April 7, 2013 Chicago, IL Music in the Loft more info
March 9, 2013 New York, NY Symphony Space - Liaisons II (15 NYC Premieres) more info
September 21, 2012 College Park, MD Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center more info
September 14, 2012 Kansas City, MO UMKC - White Recital Hall more info
May 1-2, 2012 Kalamazoo, MI The Gilmore Festival more info
April 21, 2012 New York, NY Symphony Space- Liaisons I (17 NYC Premieres) more info
March 12, 2012 San Francisco, CA Music at Meyer Concert Series more info
February 4, 2012 Fort Worth, TX Cliburn Concerts more info
January 21, 2012 Hudson, NY Hudson Opera House more info
October 18, 2011 New York, NY The Century Club more info
September 23, 2011 Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta Dow Centennial Centre more info
July 12, 2011 Portland, OR Portland Piano International more info
Mr. de Mare began recording works from The Liaisons Project in November 2011, and the final three sessions are scheduled for November 2014. ECM Records will release LIAISONS as a three-CD set In the fall of 2015.
To sign up for CD release information, please fill out the form below.
Three-time Grammy Award winning producer Judith Sherman is our producing engineer. Single tracks are not available at this time.
We still have $19,034 of our recording budget left to raise! Contributions to help us reach the finish line are fully tax-deductible and gratefully appreciated. Please click the Fractured Atlas link below to donate:
And thank you to everyone who joined our INDIEGOGO campaign! Please see the "Donors" page for a complete listing.
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Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano is a solo concert that can be adapted to any context. It is especially well suited to university settings and performing arts series. Individual pieces can be combined to form an infinite variety of programs that appeal to audiences of all backgrounds, from recital series and festivals to student unions and music departments. Mr. de Mare works with each venue to tailor a program best suited to their audience and presenting needs.
Single programs last from 60-90 minutes and contain approximately 11-14 pieces. As many as three consecutive twelve-piece programs can be offered. Mr. de Mare delivers brief commentary between pieces, and multi-media components are also available that complement and contextualize the LIaisons performance. These include background slides with animated text, audio clips from interviews with the composers, and a four-minute excerpt of the live interview given by Mr. Sondheim at the first NYC premiere.
Technical requirements for the multimedia components are simple - a projector with a DVI, HDMI or VGA input and/or connection to a computer running Windows XP (or later) or Mac OS X. In addition, three pieces require CD or mp3 playback along with a stage audio monitor for the performer: Steve Reich’s Finishing the Hat, Jason Robert Brown’s Birds of Victorian England and Duncan Sheik's Johanna... in space.
A master teacher and lecturer, Mr. de Mare can offer residencies and lectures as well as day-, week- or semester-long curricula based on Liaisons material.
Concert pianist Anthony de Mare is internationally recognized as one of the foremost performers of contemporary music and has inspired the creation of dozens of new works by some of today’s most distinguished composers and artists. He launched The Liaisons Project in 2008 and began giving critically acclaimed preview concerts throughout the U.S. and Canada in March 2011. In April 2012 he premiered 17 of the pieces in a highly praised sold out concert at Symphony Space, NYC, for which Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times extolled his “formidable virtuosity”; in a live onstage interview Mr. Sondheim called the Project “flattering… to hear composers take my music and take it seriously is a thrill.”
Mr. de Mare made his New York debut under the auspices of Young Concert Artists, prior to which he won First Prize and Audience Prize at the International Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition in The Netherlands and The International Competition of Contemporary Piano Music in France. He made his Carnegie Hall debut at Zankel Hall in 2005 and has toured extensively with such popular programs as The American Piano, Missing Peace (commissioned by The Rubin Museum), COOL~A Journey into the Influence of Jazz and his solo show, Playing with Myself, which played for an extended run at HERE Arts Center.
Mr. de Mare is a Yamaha Artist with nearly twenty recordings in his discography and was short-listed for a Grammy Award in 2011 and 2005. He is presently Professor of Piano at Manhattan School of Music and New York University. www.anthonydemare.com
Liaisons is an enormously ambitious endeavor whose launch took the support of many generous and visionary donors. We are deeeply grateful to them, and to all 145 participants of our recent INDIEGOGO campaign.
Please join the LIAISONS team with a tax-deductible donation through Fractured Atlas! Contributions of any size are deeply appreciated and can be put toward various project components including commissions, production costs, archival documentation, film and video creation, and recording costs. Please see the Commissions page for a list of commissioners and their pieces.
Donors as of August 9, 2014:
Ryan Anderson • Celia Asbell • Steven Bell • Derek Bermel • Sue Renee Bernstein • Martin Blanco • Roxanne And Scott Bok • John Brennan •Sammy Buck • Daniel Chadburn • Jenny Chai •Mary Ellen Clark • Joachim Coghlan • Zachary Cohn • Jeannie Colbert • Gilbert Cole • Philip Crosby • Anne De Mare • Viola De Mare • Alek Deva • Beth Rudin Dewoody • Erika Dohi • Arthur Don • George Dougherty • Andrew Duxbury • Kirsten Egenes • Stuart Evans • Karl Maria Fattig • Thomas G Felt • Illya Filshtinskiy • Charles Finn • William Fletcher • Heather And Justin Frank, MD • Shelly Freeman • Dan Gallagher and Peter Shearer • Craig Glenday • Frank Godchaux and Mark Murashige • Harold Gray • Amy Gustafson • Michael Halberstam • Jefrey Hall-Flavin • Shelly Freeman • Samantha Harris • Sharonne Hayes • Jean Heins • Paul Henderson • Isabel Hernandez-Cata • William Hill • Elisabeth Ho • Paul Hogarth • Mark Horowitz • David Humphrey • Richard Hurst • Rika Iino • Ed Sylvanus Iskandar • Jewish Communal Fund • Sarah Johnson • Ellen Krupa • Earl Kunz • Paul Lazarus • Gary Ledet • Thomas Leonard • David Levy • Louis C Liberatore • Bob And Anna Livingston • Robert Lobiondo • Raymond Longa • Paul Maggio • Steven Mann • Barbara Marcin Ullman • James and Ellen Marcus • Michael Marton • Jill Matichak • Michael McElroy • John McKeever • David McMullen • William Merrill • Solomon Mikowsky • Ann Miner • Evan Mirapaul • Matthew Mirapaul • Ashil Mistry • Elliot Mitchell • Fran Morris Rosman • Martin L. And Lucy Miller Murray • Alexandra Murray-Duffy • Nicholas Nash • Ian Nisbet • Gerd Nowaczyk • Catherine Oconnor • Jonah Orlofsky • Stephen Ortiz • Cormac Ose • Carol Ostrow • Robert Paterson • Perry And Martin Granoff • Daniel Petry • Lex Poppens • David Rakowski • Anthony Razzano • Mark Redanty • Elaine Reed • Benjamin and Donna Rosen • Tamar Rozin Muskal • Wally Rubin • May and Samuel Rudin Foundation • Anthony Ruth • Eleanor Shakin • Steven Shankroff • David and Alice Shearer • Peter Shearer • Ted And Mary Jo Shen • The Shen Family Foundation • Scott Smith • William S Smoot • Annaliese Soros • Tom Spain • Bernadette Speach • Stonewall Community Foundation • Andrei Strizek • Richard and Linda J. Sweetnam • Carmen H. Tellez • William E. Terry • April M Thibeault • Gabriel Tsai • Paul Upham • William Upham • The Ursetti Family • Douglas Van Epps • C. Vogel • Robert Weirich • Morton Weisman • Emmeline Wexer • William White • Patrick Willingham • Walt Winnowski • Cary Wong • Raymond Wong • Anonymous (21)
“Not just inventive piano arrangements of the songs but new compositions written in the composers’ own styles... it was fascinating to hear how each composer approached the song. Mr. de Mare’s playing was dynamic and stylish, requiring formidable virtuosity... I loved it. "
"It’s not just that many of the individual new works are so appealing. It’s that de Mare’s passion and vision almost radiate from the stage. He underscores the serious nature of Sondheim’s musical accomplishment, and he causes all involved — composers, performer and audience members — to think about how music is made and how we listen to it."
"After seeing de Mare’s triumphant performance, we definitely want to gain a deeper knowledge of the musicals. Moreover, we were impressed by de Mare’s ability to master everything from the most pyrotechnical classical compositions to the suave style of the jazz works..."
“De Mare is a dynamic pianist, with technique and musicianship to burn. For those who love Sondheim and are interested in hearing new work from a variety of contemporary composers, [Liaisons is] a must-see occasion.
“The variety of the settings kept the audience engaged, and de Mare was formidable throughout. The evening was a refreshing alternative to the typical recital, and successfully promoted Sondheim's legacy as well...
“Liaisons is a revelation… a delightful recital with an exuberant close. De Mare’s playing was superb throughout, a combination of lyrical reflection and extroverted pyrotechnics.”
Joshua KosmanThe San Francisco Chronicle read more
“Just when you thought that there wasn't anything new in piano recitals anymore, along comes Anthony de Mare … a first-class pianist whose list of composer friends is a virtual who's who of American music… each piece is a fascinating exploration of the composer's style.”
Gregory IsaacsThe Fort Worth Star Telegram read more
“The ambitious endeavor of Anthony de Mare to create liaisons between musical theater and so-called “art-music” brings out his formidable piano technique and his charming, easy manner.”
“If anyone still doubted Sondheim’s prowess as an instrumental composer, this project should firmly lay those doubts to rest… de Mare’s concert kicked off energetically and his illuminating stage comments relaxed the atmosphere.”