American Concert Pianist, Steinway Artist, Susan Merdinger

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American Melting Pot Reviews:

All of the compositions on this disc embrace tonality, melody, and explore a wide range of musical influences, including classical, popular, and folk elements. And in the main, the works are conceived for a virtuoso pianist, one with an impressive technique, as well as a sensitivity for a wide range of moods, colors, and styles. Throughout American Melting Pot, Merdinger demonstrates those qualities in abundance....The shimmering textures of the Vazquez Ballade are an intriguing foil to the angular and often percussive writing in Gould’s Pieces of China. And Merdinger proves expert in capturing the spirit of each.....Susan Merdinger has provided an important service by performing and recording contemporary American piano works that are of a very high caliber. ” - Ken Meltzer

— Fanfare Magazine

This is a fascinating disc of unusual music” - Lynn Rene Bayley

— Art Music Lounge

The final piece on the agenda is Shtetl Scenes by Russian-born composer Ilya Levinson (b. 1958). It recounts scenes in a small Jewish village in pre-World War II Eastern Europe. Here, Ms. Merdinger performs the trio version of the work, accompanied by David Yonan, violin, and Christopher Ferrer, cello. The music is melancholic, dramatic, joyful, introspective, energetic, and haunting by turns. The piece itself and the trio’s realization of it afforded some of my favorite moments in the album.  ” - John J. Puccio

— Classical Candor

Chosidl is a slow dance that builds in energy and tempo, just the right thing to end a diverse and well-balanced suite in which Susan is joined by violinist David Yonan and cellist Christopher Ferrer. All contribute to the color and diversity of timbre needed to bring this suite to life. ” - Phil Muse

— Atlanta Audio Club

Piano Sonata (2011), by Aaron Alter (b. Illinois, 1955), subtitled “My New Beginning,” trades on musical styles ranging from from the first movement of Beethoven‟s “Waldstein” Sonata (where the influence is so subtle one has to listen for it deliberately) to modern genres such as jazz and rock. Alter serves it up in a big orchestral style [that] projects the full range and sound of the piano. This is the sort of thing Susan Merdinger loves, so that it is no coincidence the work was dedicated to her following it its world premiere in November, 2018.” - John J. Puccio

— Classical Candor

What I liked about this piece was Barilari’s ability to continually move the music along in this manner without losing sight of the  structure despite the different tempi and moods used throughout.....And, of course, Merdinger’s outstanding pianism and her effective use of dynamics help greatly. In her hands, this truly emerges as a modern masterpiece. Brava! ” - Lynn Rene Bayley

— The Art Music Lounge

Pieces of China, written in 1985, was Gould’s tribute to the partnership between our two countries formed during the Nixon years. The six sections of this suite are titled “The Great Wall,” “Fable,” “China Blue,” “Puppets,” “Slow Dance” and “China Chips.” Each has its own character and form, with the third incorporating just a smidgen of jazz feeling into the score. I was particularly impressed, here as in all of the works on this album, by Merdinger’s “deep-in-the-keys” touch on the keyboard in addition to her excitement as an interpreter…listen to “Puppets” for an excellent example. For a live performance from 30 years ago, it is also superbly recorded. The music itself is varied and arresting, with Gould filtering elements of Chinese music through his own personal lens.” - Lynn Rene Bayley

— The Art Music Lounge

American Melting Pot

Susan Merdinger, American Concert Pianist

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Contemporary American Solo Piano Music performed by Susan Merdinger. With Special Guests David Yonan, violin and Christopher Ferrer, cello in a Piano Trio. Winner of Gold Medal in the Global Music Awards for Album and Instrumentalist 2019. Winner of Best Classical Album in the Clouzine International Music Awards 2019.

"My goal performing, recording and compiling this American Melting Pot CD of my live concert performances of music by American Composers is to demonstrate not only my deep commitment to supporting the work of living composers of my own time, but also to demonstrate the rich and varied legacies of musical traditions that are embodied in composers who were both born in the USA as well as those who were immigrated to the USA and now call America "home". It is my hope that the true American spirit of welcoming immigrants and their assimilation into a large society which embraces diversity, inclusivity and the dissemination of ideas- both musical and otherwise, will be celebrated and exemplified in the works I have chosen for this compendium of American music. In these works we can hear the influences of musical styles emanating from or originating in China, Eastern and Western Europe, South America, and the USA. Indeed, American Music is a fusion and integration of musical styles as our American society is indeed a "Melting Pot"- of which I am very proud to be a part. It has been my great privilege and honor to work with each of these talented and distinguished composers!"
~Susan Merdinger, Pianist

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