The masterful interweaving of captivating narrative and spellbinding musical interpretations make Roberta Swedien a unique cultural treasure among contemporary classical pianists.
Audiences around the world love "The Music Room Recitals". Stories of the composers, the time and the place mix with the passion and power, lightness and lyricism of her pianism to create an unforgettable experience. "She took us to another world." said one audience member. "It was a magical evening, I am deeply moved. This is an incredibly rich treasure." said another.
Roberta Swedien has performed on four continents for over four decades in solo, chamber and orchestral concerts, television and radio appearances with repertoire ranging from Bach to Elliott Carter. Her popular series of words and music "The Music Room Recitals" includes the programs "Clara Schumann: A Romantic Portrait", "From Russia with Love, Sergei Rachmaninoff", "American Classics", "From Dawn to Darkest Night", "Swedish Rhapsody", "The Nobel Concert" and "Nordic Miniatures: Now and Then".
Chamber music recitals in Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, Bombay, New Delhi, Pune, Vasterås and Stockholm in collaboration with such artists as violinist Alberto Lysy, operatic soprano Olga Ionova, tenor Kevin Hanrahan, conductor Natalia Luis-Bassa and soprano Priya Palekar among others have been an additional focus of Swedien's musical life.
Third-generation musician, Roberta is the daughter of legendary producer, recording engineer and 5-time Grammy Award winner Bruce Swedien who has recorded Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and many more. In addition to her work in classical music, Roberta did sound design for Michael Jackson's "HIStory" album. Among her teachers were Leon Rosenbloom, Vladimir Levitski and John Simms.
This concert is an armchair journey into the heart of Sweden; a celebration of Sweden's inspiring beauty and a glimpse into the landscape of the Swedish soul in words and music. Music for solo piano by Wilhelm Stenhammar, Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Ture Rangström, Ingmar Milveden and Nils Lindberg is interspersed with descriptions of the Swedish countryside, Viking poetry and reminiscences by the composers. It finishes with a medley called "The Swedish Flag" which includes beloved melodies Sverige, Ack Värmeland, Du Gamla, du Fria and more.
"I'm an American with roots deep in the Swedish countryside," Roberta Swedien says "for which I'm extremely grateful. This music speaks to me with a strangely familiar voice. It feels so right. It is music of earth and water and heart and mind."
THE NOBEL CONCERT
Brilliance and genius abound! Listen to the story of Alfred Nobel and the magical December night with the King and Queen of Sweden at the Nobel Awards Ceremony in Stockholm's elegant Concert Hall. Hear vivid descriptions of the Banquet in the Blue Hall and the Ball in the Hall of Gold, the day of the Santa Lucia celebrations and the Night of the Yumping Green Frog! With music by Hugo Alfvén, Wilhelm Stenhammar, Henrik Janson, Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Nils Lindberg and yes, Quincy Jones.
It's almost like being there ...
12 WOMEN ONE PIANO
A journey in time, space and sound in this concert of music and spoken word by women encompassing nine centuries - from medieval times to today. From an obscure hilltop monastery in the eleventh-century Rhineland to an urban dwelling in modern Manhattan. From pastoral landscapes in Vermont, Germany and Sweden to the hallowed halls of Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Juilliard. From the visionary sacred to expressive reflection to show-stopping virtuosity.
11 of these women have composed operas, symphonies, ballets, chamber music, solo works, concertos, musical theater, oratorios, masses, choirs, jazz film and electronic music. Performed in places like Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, halls in London, Argentina, Russia, Norway. They win awards, conduct, perform, coach, write, mother, administer, revolutionize. They’ve broken ceilings and rules everywhere. One is even a saint. The 12th of these women is going to perform selections of their music for solo piano accompanied by spoken word. For you.
This program is inspired by and made possible in part by a grant from New York Women Composers.
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, SERGEI RACHMANINOFF
Hear the story of the last of the great Romantics, a selection of his magnificent Preludes for piano from Op. 23 and Op. 32 and the musings of Russia's celebrated writers and poets - Pushkin, Chekhov, Pasternak and Dostoevsky in this memorable recital of great words and music.
CLARA SCHUMANN: A ROMANTIC PORTRAIT
She was a child prodigy, a child poet at the piano who later was dubbed 'The Priestess of the Piano' by Franz Liszt. Hear her early compositions Toccatina and Nocturne, her Op. 11 Romances which were her secret musical love letters to Robert Schumann, her Variations on his theme and the set of Romances dedicated to Johannes Brahms; all paired with excerpts from love letters and diaries and the passionate and turbulent story of this remarkable musician of the Romantic era.
FROM DAWN TO DARKEST NIGHT . . .
"The piano vanishes and music appears" was how German poet Heinrich Heine described the playing of Franz Liszt. In "From Dawn to Darkest Night..." Roberta Swedien ends her musical saga of a day or perhaps a lifetime with the hair-raising 'Funerailles' by Liszt; the stage in darkness, only her silhouette visible.
The program starts in the dim light of early dawn with the words of Pablo Casals and the music of J.S. Bach, then after a high noon story of Beethoven improvising in Vienna, she performs his rarely heard Op. 77 'Fantasia'. The wild and virtuosic 'Toccata' by Prokoviev is next and finally we reach the evening dusk and autumn memories with words of Jean Cocteau and the music of Debussy - before the night is upon us . . .
From the Transcendentalists of New England to the bright lights of Broadway, Roberta Swedien's "American Classics" is sure to have something for everyone. Hear Aaron Copland's "Hoe-Down" from "Rodeo" arranged for solo piano, selections from "Woodland Sketches" by Edward MacDowell, the mystical "Alcotts" by Charles Ives, the modern piano music of Samuel Barber, ethereal art music from Amy Beach, selections from Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story" and George Gershwin's Songbook. All paired with American poetry of the time, composer musings and colorful stories of the backstage world from Carnegie Hall to 42nd Street.
12 WOMEN ONE PIANO, premiere, New York City, 2020, time, date and location TBA, co=sponsored by New York Women Composers
Florida State Music Teachers Conference, Rachmaninoff Suite for Two Pianos, Op. 17, Mvmt. II Waltz with Hong Lin, Friday October 18, 2019, 1:15 pm, The Hilton Hotel, 1714 SW 34th Street, Gainesville Florida 32607
New York Women Composers awarded Roberta Swedien a Seed Money Grant for her program “12 Women One Piano” which will include music by composers from NYWC.
Swedish Rhapsody with Meet-the-Composer Anna-Lena Laurin, Sunday March 17, 2019, 1 pm, Svenska Kyrkan/Church of Sweden, 5 East 48th Street, New York NY 10017, Admission Free
Swedish Rhapsody, Tuesday March 5, 2019, 7 pm, The Historic Thomas Center, 302 NE 6th Avenue, Gainesville, Florida 32601. Tickets at the door.
Nordic Miniatures: Now and Then, Sunday October 14, 2018, 1:30 pm, Leif Eriksson International Festival, Mindekirken - Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church, 924 East 21st St, Minneapolis Minnesota 55404
Nordic MIniatures: Now and Then, Friday August 24, 2018, 7:00 pm, The Thomas Center, Gainesville, Florida
Nordic Miniatures: Now and Then, Sunday May 6, 2018, 11:15 am, Nordic Heritage Museum Grand Opening/Auditorium, Seattle Washington
Nordic Miniatures: Now and Then, Tuesday May 8,2018, University of Washington, Scandinavian Department, Seattle Washington
Nordic Miniatures: Now and Then, Friday May 11, 2018, 7:30 pm, Nordic Northwest, Portland Oregon
Swedish Rhapsody, Saturday April 21, 2018, 6:00-7:00 mingle with refreshments, 7:00-8:30 concert with intermission, sponsored by the Consulate General of Sweden, Fort Lauderdale. Concert at Congregational Church, 251 SW 4th Avenue, Boca Raton Florida 33432. For tickets: http://donate.swedishchurchinflorida.org/swedish-rapsody-concert.html
The Nobel Peace Prize Gala, November 19, 2016 Rialto Center for the Arts, Atlanta GA
The Nobel Concert, December 11, 2016, 3 pm, First Presbyterian Church, Ocala FL
The Nobel Concert, January 6, 2017, 7:30 pm, The Thomas Center, Gainesville FL
The Nobel Concert, February 25, 2017, 1:00 pm, SWEA Boston, The Scandinavian Cultural Center, West Newton MA
Nordic Miniatures, September 17, 2017, 3:00 pm, Countryside Presbyterian Church, Ocala FL
SWEDISH RHAPSODY SPRING 2016 TOUR
First Presbyterian Church, Ocala FL February 28, 2016, 3 pm
SWEA San Diego, Encinitas CA March 11, 2016, 7:30 pm
SWEA Los Angeles, Brentwood CA March 13, 2016, 4 pm
SWEA Orange County, Newport Beach CA March 14, 2016, 7 pm
Swedish Cultural Society, Vancouver, B.C. March 17, 2016, 7 pm
SWEA Seattle WA March 18, 2016, 7:30 pm
SWEA San Francisco CA March 20, 2016, 4 pm
PREVIOUS APPEARANCES INCLUDE:
Gävle Länsmuseet, Gävle, Sweden
Embassy of the United States, New Delhi, India
Embassy of Sweden, New Delhi, India
The Poona Music Society, Pune, Maharashtra, India
University Auditorium, University of Florida
Goethe Institut, New Delhi, India
Stöde Kyrka, Stöde, Sweden
Cliff Dwellers Club, Orchestra Hall, Chicago IL
World Humanities Expo, Santa Fe College, Gainesville FL
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
India International Centre, New Delhi, India
The Thomas Center, Gainesville FL
Northwestern University, Evanston IL
National Center for the Performing Arts, Bombay, India
Västerås Castle, Västerås, Sweden
Ockelbo Kyrka, Ockelbo, Sweden
St. Mary's Basilica, Minneapolis MN
Goethe Institut, Chennai, India
Goethe Institut, Pune, India
Keene Center, University of Florida
The State Theater, Minneapolis MN
High Commission of Canada, New Delhi, India
National Center for the Performing Arts, Bombay, India
Georgia College and State University, GA
University of Iowa, Iowa City IA
North Shore Fine Arts Festival, Chicago IL