New Age of Anxiety is the new piano concerto from composer Jeff Beal written for pianist Anthony de Mare. The two first collaborated on de Mare’s colossal Liaisons project that tapped 50 of today’s leading composers to reimagine Stephen Sondheim’s works for the piano. Inspired by Beal’s interpretation of “Not a Day Goes By” (a favorite of Sondheim’s from the project) de Mare approached Beal to create a new concerto inspired by our moment – a musical exploration of the contradictory energy, turmoil, and joy the world grapples with every day.
This exciting pairing of de Mare, one of the world’s foremost champions of contemporary music whose versatility has inspired the creation of over 90 new works by some of today’s most distinguished artists and Beal, a five time Emmy winning composer who’s career spans Jazz albums for Island Records in the 1980s, to his celebrated film and television scores for House of Cards, Pollock, and Athlete A, to concert works commissioned by some of the worlds leading ensembles including LA Master Chorale (Sunrise), St. Louis Symphony (The Paper Lined Shack), Cantus (Beneath Thin Blanket), and Smuin Ballet (Oasis) promises to be a thrilling new chapter in the collaboration of these two singular artists.
anthony de mare, piano
jeff beal, composer
Years before, my actual first encounter with Jeff’s music was the score to “Rome” which had captured my attention (not knowing at the time it was Jeff who wrote it). It was the creative and effective use of percussion, the rhythmic vitality and overall mix of timbres and textures that were so captivating. This led me to believe that, combined with the light playful rhythmic qualities of his score to “Monk”, a piano concerto written with a fusion of all these idioms would be very cool, unique, and fresh.
All of these elements together suggest a recipe for a very distinctive and exciting piano concerto that clearly would lend itself easily and fluidly to the overall theme of this “New Age of Anxiety” we find ourselves in, which, I believe will resonate with a wide variety of listening audiences.
Praise for Anthony de Mare
“The adventurous pianist Anthony de Mare merged his passion for Sondheim with his effort to expand the recital repertory… the resulting project required formidable virtuosity. Mr. De Mare’s playing was dynamic and stylish… I loved it.”
– Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
Praise for Jeff Beal
“…Beal’s musical language was at times asymmetrical, and thoroughly “American” with overtones of Aaron Copland and John Adams.”
–Christopher Ruel, Operawire