Grand Band is the only professional piano sextet in the United States. It features six of New York City’s top pianists - Erika Dohi, David Friend, Paul Kerekes, Blair McMillen, Lisa Moore, and Isabelle O'Connell. The ensemble has been described by The New York Times as “a kind of new-music supergroup” and "the Traveling Wilburys of the city's new-music piano scene”. This stunning collection of performers creates a powerful sonic force. A modern and unconventional troupe, Grand Band champions new music and living composers, as well as orchestral arrangements that bring the unique power of the six-piano instrumentation to the fore. Their recent commissions include new works by composers Michael Gordon, Paul Kerekes, Missy Mazzoli, Harriet Steinke, and Ben Wallace. Grand Band repertoire also includes original piano sextet works by David Lang, Philip Glass, John Metcalf, Kate Moore, Steve Reich, Kevin Volans, Julia Wolfe, and emerging UK composers Nathan Dearden, William Marsey, Lucy McPhee, and David Roche. For sold out shows in 2017 Grand Band added arrangements of popular classics to their repertoire - works by Modeste Mussorgsky (Pictures at an Exhibition), Gustav Holst (The Planets) and Leonard Bernstein (West-Side Story Symphonic Dance Suite). Broadcast regularly on New York’s WQXR’s Q2 radio, Grand Band has performed at the Bang on a Can Marathon, (le) poisson rouge, Liquid Music Festival, Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, Detroit Institute of the Arts, Lansdale Community Concerts (PA), Rite of Summer Festival (NY), Sheffield University, Cornerstone Festival Liverpool England as well as the Vale of Glamorgan Festival in Cardiff, Wales.
Grand Band is supported by Steinway New York.
David Friend is a New York-based pianist who focuses primarily on new and experimental music. He has performed adventurous programming in major venues around the world such as Carnegie Hall, Royal Festival Hall (London), and the National Center for the Performing Arts (Beijing), as well as alternative spaces like Le Poisson Rouge (NYC), Diapason Sound Gallery (NYC), Literaturhaus (Copenhagen), and the Logos Tetrahedron (Ghent). Critics have called his performances “astonishingly compelling” (Washington Post) and hailed his “streamlined virtuosity” (The Guardian, UK), while the New York Times has heralded Friend and his fellow Grand Band performers as “six of the finest, busiest pianists active in New York’s contemporary-classical scene.” He plays regularly with a variety of new music groups including Ensemble Signal, Hotel Elefant, and TRANSIT New Music, of which he is a co-founder. His playing has been heard on radio stations around the country (including on NPR’s Performance Today, Q2’s Hammered, and WNYC’s New Sounds). David has released two albums for New Amsterdam Records: Corps Exquis (with TRANSIT New Music) and The Julius Eastman Memory Depot (with DJ Jace Clayton, pianist Emily Manzo, and vocalist Arooj Aftab), both of which have been met with critical acclaim. https://www.davidfriendpiano.net/about
Paul Kerekes was born in Huntington, New York. His music has been described as “striking…ecstatic…dramatic” (WQXR), “highly eloquent” (New Haven Advocate), and able to create “an almost tactile picture” (The New York Times). He has had the privilege of hearing his music performed by many outstanding ensembles, some of which include TwoSense, American Composers Orchestra, and Dinosaur Annex, in such venues as (le) poisson rouge, The Dimenna Center, and Symphony Space. He has also attended notable programs such as Aspen Music Festival, MusicX, Yale’s New Music Workshop in Norfolk, Connecticut, California Summer Music, the Young Artists Piano Program at Tanglewood, and Stony Brook Summer Music Festival. Additionally, he has participated in master classes both as a composer and pianist with Lisa Moore, Lisa Kaplan, Steven Stucky, and John Corigliano. Paul is currently pursuing an M.M.A. at Yale School of Music studying with David Lang. He received his undergraduate degree from Queens College where he primarily studied with Bruce Saylor. www.paulkerekes.com
Pianist Blair McMillen leads a multifarious musical life as soloist, chamber musician, new-music champion, pedagogue, and conductor. The New York Times has described him as “riveting,” “prodigiously accomplished and exciting,” and as one of the piano’s “brilliant stars.” Highlights from recent seasons include concertos with the American Symphony in Carnegie Hall, solo appearances with the St Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Albany Symphony, and a 3-week solo tour of Brazil sponsored by the US State Department. McMillen is the co-founder director of the Rite of Summer Music Festival, an indie-classical outdoor concert series held on New York City’s Governors Island. He has served on the music faculty at Bard College and Conservatory since 2005.
The New York Times writes ‘Lisa Moore, an Australian pianist long based in and around New York, has always been a natural, compelling storyteller’. Lisa has released 10 solo discs (Cantaloupe, Tall Poppies, Orange Mountain, IGM, Bandcamp) and over 30 collaborative discs (Sony, Nonesuch, DG, BMG, New World, ABC Classics, Albany, New Albion, Starkland, Harmonia Mundi). She has worked with over 200 composers, performing globally as a soloist and with a large and diverse range of musicians and artists - including the London Sinfonietta, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York City Ballet, Steve Reich Ensemble, American Composers Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Bang On A Can All-Stars (founding member 92-08), Paul Dresher Double Duo, So Percussion, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Grand Band and Ensemble Signal. Her festival performances include Lincoln Center, BAM Next Wave, Graz, Vienna, Tanglewood, Aspen, Chautauqua, Gilmore, Chamber Music Northwest, Huddersfield, Paris d'Automne, Hong Kong, BBC Proms, Southbank, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne Metropolis, Israel and Warsaw in venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, La Scala, Carnegie Hall and the Musikverein. www.lisamoore.org
Since her acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut recital in 2002, Dublin-born pianist Isabelle O'Connell has developed an international career as soloist and chamber musician that has taken her across four continents. Hailed by the New Yorker as "the young Irish piano phenom", she is a noted advocate for living composers, commissioning and performing works around the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Europe, at venues such as Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Chicago Cultural Center, Cleveland Museum of Art, Detroit Art Institute, Cork Opera House and the National Concert Hall, Ireland. Isabelle has performed as concerto soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, and has also performed with the Crash ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Curiosity Cabinet, Ergodos and with the ConTempo and New Zealand String Quartets. Isabelle has recorded on the Diatribe, Innova and Lyric fm labels. Her debut solo album RESERVOIR features solo piano music by nine contemporary Irish composers. Sequenza 21 wrote: “O’Connell plays with impressive power, clarity and commitment”. www.isabelleoconnell.com
Pianist Erika Dohi, a multi-faceted artist with an eclectic musical background that ranges from traditionally classical to jazz, free improvisation, and new music, has been described as a “dynamic” performer whose “technique is decidedly unidiomatic” (Classicalite). Most recently, Erika appeared at The Hollywood Bowl with indie band Wye Oak, opening for Bon Iver and Tu Dance with a Metropolis Ensemble performance of William Brittelle's Spiritual America. As an improviser, she joined Wadada Leo Smith during his residency at The Stone. Erika is the co-founder of BLUEPRINTS Piano Series. The series unites pianists from different genres for concerts that mix classical music, contemporary, jazz, and improvisation. Erika is also the co-founder of RighteousGIRLS with flutist Gina Izzo. This duo fuses classical, contemporary, and jazz, while inviting some of today’s most prominent composers to create genre-blurring new music. RighteousGIRLS’s album gathering blue has been met with critical acclaim from both jazz and contemporary-classical critics alike; Jackson Cooper, from I Care If You Listen, called it “…one of the most adventurous new music debut albums in recent years.” gathering blue received a 4.5 stars rating by John Ephland in DownBeat magazine. erikadohi.com