SIERRA: Piezas Sueltas in NYC

Photo: Rodney Leinberger

“Latin rhythms and modern harmonies make this concise and constantly momentous piece one of the most challenging and amusing pieces I’ve had the privilege to study and perform.”

And so, pianist Matthew Culbertson informs us about Roberto Sierra’s solo work Piezas Sueltas No. 6, ‘Vivo, as Culbertson performs it on October 12 as part of his New York recital debut. The live concert takes place at the Revelation Gallery of St. John’s in the Village, and will subsequently streamed online on October 16.

Photo: Rodney Leinberger

“I have known Matt Culbertson since he was a toddler!,” Sierra notes. “So, when I was asked to write something for his recital at Temple University, I did not hesitate. The resulting piece ‘Vivo,’ forms part of a larger group titled Piezas Sueltas. The set of pieces are etudes, both in the technical aspect of piano playing, and also in the sense of exploring compositional ideas. ‘Vivo’ (No. 6) is toccata-like and is a display of virtuosismo.

Culbertson comments. “I’ve known Roberto Sierra my entire life, and he is among my most important musical mentors. This piece was dedicated to me as an gift for my graduation recital in 2017, and this is the first time I’m playing it since its world premiere at my Montclair State University Senior Recital! This exciting work is fun to play and is filled with several surprising and seemingly out-of-place moments and textures. Roberto personally knows my technique and musical strengths, and he wrote a piece where I would be able to highlight them. There is a sense of angst and agitation in this piece. It is a workout for the performer, and the constant and quick moving pace provides the listener with this anxious feeling as well. This piece is also unique in that it works well as a program opener or a finale. For this performance, especially after being away from a live audience for so long, I’ve chosen to open with Piezas Sueltas to energize my audience and bring them to the edge of their seats right from the first note, and to prepare us for a collaborative journey through many styles and timbres throughout the rest of the performance.” For more concert details, click here.