Nothing Is Real: psychedelia for piano and electronics


Saturday, February 11th, 8pm | Pierre's Fine Pianos in Westwood
11039 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90064
$20 | $10 students

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What do you hear when the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries collide? For us, it's a kaleidoscopic concert of fleeting sonic images, epic journeys and eerie doppelgangers. Performed on a rare 9-foot Fazioli piano renowned for its beautiful tone, these works promise to be astonishing, strange and a little bit trippy.


Voices of Time -  Shaun Naidoo **world premiere**
Aron Kallay, piano

Nocturne/Doubles - Benjamin Broening
Genevieve Feiwen Lee, piano

Série Noire - Pierre Jodlowski
Vatché Mankerian, piano

Gassho - Linda Bouchard
Vicki Ray, piano

Any Resemblance Is Purely Coincidental -  Charles Dodge - 
Rafael Liebich, piano

Nothing Is Real (Strawberry Fields Forever)-  Alvin Lucier
Genevieve Feiwen Lee, piano

Torrid Mix - Mike McFerron
Louise Thomas, piano

About the Performers:

Pianist Vicki Ray performs internationally as a soloist and collaborative artist. She is a member of the award winning California E.A.R. Unit and Xtet. As a founding member of PianoSpheres, an acclaimed solo piano series dedicated to exploring the less familiar realms of the piano repertoire, her playing has been hailed by the Los Angeles Times for "displaying that kind of musical thoroughness and technical panache that puts a composer's thoughts directly before the listener." A long-time champion of new music Ms. Ray has had worked with Gyorgy Ligeti, John Adams, Pierre Boulez, Elliot Carter, Morton Subotnick, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Stephen Hartke, Oliver Knussesn and many others. Ms.Ray has been featured on the Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series, with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the German ensemble Compania and the Blue Rider Ensemble of Toronto with whom she made the first Canadian recording of Pierrot Lunaire.

As a pianist who excels in a wide range of styles, Ms. Ray's numerous recordings cover everything from the premiere release of Steve Reich's riveting You Are Variations to the semi-improvised structures of Wadada Leo Smith, from the elegant serialism of Mel Powell to the austere beauty of Morton Feldmans' Crippled Symmetries. She has been a member of the piano faculty at the California Institute of the Arts since 1991 and during the summers she serves as the pianist at the Bang on a Can summer festival at MassMOCA.


Pianist/composer Dr. Aron Kallay has been praised as possessing “that special blend of intellect, emotion, and overt physicality that makes even the thorniest scores simply leap from the page into the listeners’ laps.” After Aron premiered three of Kyle Gann’s works, the composer and music critic was “struck speechless,” adding, “he did a beautiful job and made me all impressed with my music all over again... he makes me want to write more.”  

Aron is an award-winning solo and chamber musician who has performed throughout the United States, Czech Republic, and Ukraine as well as on the radio and internet.  Aron is a champion of contemporary composers, microtonal music, and music that combines electronics with acoustic instruments.  As such, he is dedicated to expanding the repertoire by commissioning new works that challenge the idea of what it means to be a pianist in the 21st century.  He has appeared on numerous new music festivals, including MicroFest, Jacaranda, In Frequency, Hear Now, What’s Next, and the Other Minds Festival.  

Aron received his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California, where he studied with Daniel Pollack.  He is the co-director and co-founder of People Inside Electronics (PIE), a concert series that features new and classic electro-acoustic music.  Currently, Aron divides his time between practicing, performing, composing, writing about music theory and piano pedagogy, and teaching.  He is on the faculty of the University of Southern California and Chapman University, where he teaches music technology, electro-acoustic media, and piano.  Aron is an artist-in-residence with Catalysis Projects.


Rafael Liebich began his musical studies at the age of six, in his native Brazil. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP, 2001), as a student of pianist Fulvia Escobar. At that university, he developed intensive work as a chamber musician, having the opportunity to participate with one of his ensembles in a workshop lead by musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He was also a teaching assistant for the opera department in that school. Awarded a CAPES Foundation scholarship, he received his Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from the Federal University of the Rio Grande do Sul State (UFRGS, 2004). He was then a teaching assistant for Piano Pedagogy, and among his published work is his dissertation on 20th Century Fugue and Brazilian composer Bruno Kiefer, completed under supervision of Dr. Any Raquel Carvalho and Dr. Cristina Capparelli Gerling. He was awarded in national piano competitions, and took master-classes with pianists Claude Helffer, Cristina Ortiz, Arnaldo Cohen, Kyoko Hashimoto, Dang Thai Son, among others. Before coming to Los Angeles, he was a student of pianist Vera Astrachan, in Sao Paulo, and a piano teacher at the School for Music and Fine Arts of the State of Parana (EMBAP), in Curitiba. He is a candidate for a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance at the Flora L. Thornton School of Music of the University of Southern California, in the studio of Dr. Stewart L. Gordon, where he has been a Teaching Assistant for the Keyboard Studies Department. He has worked as an accompanist for the studios of mezzo-soprano Cynthia Munzer, tenor Gary Glaze and soprano Elizabeth Hynes. He also presented a paper at the International Society of Music Education World Conference in Beijing (August 2010) and his recent endeavors in alternative keyboard literature with electroacoustic media lead to performances at "Microfest" (Microtonal Music Festival), and "L.A. Composers Project" ("What's Next? Ensemble).


A versatile performer of music spanning five centuries, Genevieve Feiwen Lee has dazzled audiences on the piano, harpsichord, toy piano, keyboard, and electronics. She recently premiered a work by Kurt Rohde for speaking pianist, adding another dimension to her performing persona. She has given solo piano recitals at Merkin Concert Hall in New York and the Salle Gaveau in Paris. Her performances in Changsha, China, were broadcast by Hunan State Television.  She has performed in Amsterdam on a live radio broadcast (AVRO) from the Spiegelzaal at the Concertgebouw. She has been a soloist with the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra in Brazil, the Vrazta State Philharmonic in Bulgaria, and The Orchestra of Northern New York. Her first solo performance with orchestra was at the age of twelve. A champion of new music, Ms. Lee has premiered and commissioned numerous works. Her solo piano CD Elements, on Albany Records, features the premiere recording of works by Tom Flaherty and Philippe Bodin. She is heard with mezzo-soprano D'Anna Fortunato on another Albany Records CD, An American Collage. She has been a guest performer with XTET, one of Los Angeles’s leading new music groups. She is a founding member of the Mojave Trio, who plays regularly on the “Sundays Live” concerts from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has appeared regularly in chamber music festivals at the Garth Newel Music Center, Virginia, and Incontri di Canna, Italy, and was a resident artist at The Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada. Ms. Lee received her degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, and the Yale School of Music, where she studied with Boris Berman. Before joining the faculty of Pomona College in 1994, Ms. Lee taught at Yale, Bucknell University, and The Crane School of Music at the State University of New York-Potsdam.


Vatché Mankerian has actively contributed to the cultural life of Los Angeles for more than two decades. A multi-faceted artist, Mankerian distinguishes himself as a pianist, composer, conductor, lecturer, author and teacher. 

Mankerian started playing the piano at the age of five; at the age of eight he had already appeared on national television. He performed his first solo recital at the age of fifteen at Pasadena City College, followed by a formal debut in 1985 at the Wilshire Ebell Theater of Los Angeles. A winner of several international competitions, Mankerian has performed in major cities on four continents and frequently appears as a soloist with orchestras. Mankerian recently returned from his third visit to Japan, where he was invited by the Piano Teachers’ Music Guild to present master classes and lecture-recitals. As an active composer, he has written works for piano and incidental music for theatrical productions and cinema.  

As a career highlight in 1995, Mankerian gave an unprecedented performance of the complete solo piano works of Arno Babajanian in his New York debut at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. He was featured in the Warner Brothers production of NBC pilot “Witches of Eastwick” performing the works of Chopin; and was one of the Rhapsody in Blue pianists at the Olympic opening ceremonies in Los Angeles in 1984. Mankerian was a featured artist at the Spirit of Armenia concert at the Hollywood Bowl in July 2007. 

A faculty member at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, Mankerian has taught since 1985, privately and in several Los Angeles schools and colleges, including Los Angeles Valley College, Glendale Community College, and others. Since 2006, Mankerian has been the Program Manager of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies. He holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees from University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music. Currently he is working towards his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at USC, studying with Stewart Gordon.


A native of Ireland, Louise Thomas has concertized extensively throughout Europe, North America and Asia at such notable concert venues as the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire in Moscow, the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing and Carnegie Hall in New York City. Dr. Thomas is Director of Keyboard Collaborative Arts at Chapman University, and received her doctorate in piano performance from the University of Southern California where she studied with John Perry and Alan Smith.

After completing undergraduate musicology studies at Trinity College, Dublin, where she had developed a passion for music of the 20th century, Louise was offered a German Government scholarship (DAAD) to study piano performance at the Hochschule in Hannover, Germany. While a student there, she won second prize at the Ibla-Ragusa competition in Sicily where she was also awarded the Bela Bartók Prize. Subsequently in 1998, she won the concerto competition at the University of Southern California and played under the baton of the late Sergiu Comissiona. This recording is currently available on K-USC’s “Kids and Parents” CD.

A highly active collaborative pianist, Dr. Thomas has made CD recordings in Germany (as part of the chamber music festival, “Schwetzinger Festspielen”), at the Banff Center for the Arts in Canada with the Irish Contemporary Music group, Nua Nós, as well as appearing on numerous radio broadcasts for Irish Radio, BBC Radio Northern Ireland, Moscow radio, K-USC and K-MZT in Los Angeles. She has also played live and recorded many times for RTE (Irish National Television) and the nationally distributed Ovation Arts Channel in Los Angeles.

Louise Thomas has been invited onto the faculty of several summer programs. She has been the vocal coach at “La Fabbrica” in Tuscany and since 2003 has been the Festival pianist and vocal coach at the summer program of Idyllwild Arts Academyin California. In 2007, she performed a program of “California Composers Today” at Carnegie Hall, continuing her commitment to the music of today.