"She combines a keen intelligence with a strong poetic impulse and a technique which is well up to Busoni's often fearsome challenges. Like the composer, she is no show-off, but a musician who finds a compelling balance between eloquence and restraint (not to be confused with constraint!). Her every performance is worthy of the highest respect." -Marcus Dalton, Piano Magazine
"Her wide range of keyboard color and sense of mystery are quite simply mesmerizing …positively physical. It's rare indeed to hear an artist…with such strong (and poetic) ideas." - David Hurwitz CLASSICS TODAY
"Jeni Slotchiver's virtuosity, polish and control of nuance make for some gripping music making, and her huge range of dynamics are a joy to have. - Gerald Fenech, Music & Vision
"Jeni Slotchiver [achieves] technical brilliance in her performance. Her musicality is of the same high standard…perfectly executed expression." - Rachel Bull, THE CLASSICAL SOURCE
"Jeni Slotchiver's virtuosity, polish and control of nuance make for some gripping music making, and her huge range of dynamics are a joy to have.- Gerald Fenech, Music & Vision
JeniSlotchiver earned the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Piano Performance at Indiana University, before continuing her studies in New York City with Maestros German Diez, the legendary Cuban pianist, student and later teaching assistant of Claudio Arrau; and Joseph Bloch, Professor Emeritus, The Julliard School. Honored with performance grants from The Smithsonian Institute and the New York Public Libraries, Ms. Slotchiver gave her solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall as the first prize winner of the Artists International Young Musicians Auditions. A champion of twentieth century composers, Jeni Slotchiver is dedicated to the presentation of new and rarely heard music, and has given the world premieres of many works in major New York City recitals. Anthony Tommasini, in an article published in The New York Times on the eve of the millennium, selected Ms. Slotchiver's debut CD, Busoni The Visionary, as a Critics Choice: Appropriate For Millennial Reflection. David Hurwitz, in Classics Today, wrote, "Her wide range of keyboard color and sense of mystery are quite simply mesmerizing… Positively physical." Ms. Slotchiver participated in two international Busoni Symposiums, and she presented a historic all-Busoni performance at Merkin Concert Hall, the first of its kind in New York City in thirty years. Her three CD series, Busoni The Visionary, received worldwide critical acclaim. "No one plays Busoni's piano music with greater clarity or depth of understanding than Jeni Slotchiver. As she demonstrated in Volume I of this series, this is music she clearly loves and understands both intellectually and intuitively. There is no finer, or more committed, advocate for this greatly underrated composer working today." - Jerry Bowles, Editor, Sequenza/21, NYC.
Jeni Slotchiver has performed as recitalist and concerto soloist across the world, from Manhattan's Lincoln Center to the World Piano Conference in Novi Sad, Serbia. American radio and broadcast appearances include, NPR's Performance Today, WNYC's The Fishko Files, WPLN's Live in Studio C, WKCR's Live Constructions, and WQXR's Reflections from the Keyboard with David Dubal. Profiles of Jeni have appeared in, The Los Angeles Times, Piano Magazine, CDNOW, SEQUENZA/21, Mundoclasico, Time Out NY, CaféMomus (Budapest), and PЖ (Moscow). Her articles and essays are published in many languages, and featured in prominent music periodicals, including Musical Opinion Quarterly, International Piano and Piano.
Following the success of the Busoni The Visionary series, Jeni is humbled to introduce something so intimately close to home. With Southern roots of her own, Ms. Slotchiver's debut ZOHO CD release,American Heritage, is her homage to the legendary composers preserving American folk music and creating anew. What was once familiar, is reborn.
Following the success of the Busoni The Visionary series, Jeni is humbled to introduce something so intimately close to home. With Southern roots of her own, Ms. Slotchiver's debut ZOHO CD release American Heritage is her homage to the legendary composers preserving American folk music and creating anew. What was once familiar, is reborn.
Spanning 125 years, from Louis Moreau Gottschalk's The Banjo (ca. 1854-5) to Frederic Rzewski's Down by the riverside (1979), American Heritage presents piano compositions by composers of concert music, inspired by the melodies, dance rhythms, harmonic inventions and various stylistic elements evocative of the American experience. Of the eight composers represented, six are of African descent and two of these are women. There are quotes from spirituals, use of the African American pentatonic scale, the African call and response structure popularized in southern church tradition, polyphonic rhythms of jazz, and the rich, sultry harmonies of blues. With the exception of the rich musical heritage of Indigenous people, the largest and most important American folkloric body of work arrived on American shores with the first enslaved African people.
Famed classical pianist Jeni Slotchiver recently released her ZOHO label debut album "American Heritage." It is a homage to the legendary composers of American traditional folk music. Jeni's new eighteen track release begins with the beautifully elegant delivery of Samuel Coleridge Taylor's (1875-1912) "Deep River." She performs a spiritual version of Harry Thacker Burleigh's (1866-1949) six-piece suite of "Southland," before arriving at the epic, nine-minute musical number "Union, Paraphrase de Concert Op. 48" by Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869). The melody livens-up with Florence B. Price's (1887-1953) "Nimble Feet" and "Tropical Noon." Jeni Slotchiver finishes up her new album with the more well-known sing-along "Down By The Riverside" by Frederic Rzewski (b. 1938) and the two-minute gentle masterpiece of "Swanee River" from William Grant Still (1895-1979). To find out more about Jeni Slotchiver and her latest release "American Heritage," please visit jenislotchiver.com.
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As we near the election, with hope of setting the country on a better path, tensions are high. We are worried that if things go wrong, as they did in 2016, that the country might never recover, that this horror show might become our permanent identity. And meanwhile, most of the things we would turn to in times of crisis – family gatherings, concerts, baseball games, theatre – are not available to us, making everything even more difficult and dire. But fortunately musicians continue to release albums that speak to the better parts of us, to what humanity remains inside, uniting us in a real way. Here are some brief notes on a few new jazz releases you might be interested in.
Accomplished classical pianist Jeni Slotchiver presents the work of several American composers on her new release, American Heritage, an album of solo piano pieces. The music includes spirituals, blues, and folk, all performed with passion and heart. This is a beautiful and moving album, and in a time of division and hatred in our country, it provides a welcome look back at some of the diverse composers who have added to the great musical culture of our nation, and might help to restore some pride in our history. Composers whose work is featured here include Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Margaret Bonds, Harry Thacker Burleigh, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Florence B. Price, Robert Nathaniel Dett, William Grant Still and Frederic Rzewski. A lot of the music chosen for this release will be familiar to you, and Jeni Slotchiver gives it a fresh life. This album was released on October 9, 2020.
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With the abundance of jazz and blues that slides into my mailbox every week, it's sometimes easy to forget the bustling and beautiful American piano that much of our musical heritage comes from. Don't let words like "heritage" discourage you from diving deep into her boundless piano energy… her performance of Harry Thacker Burleigh's 5:07 "Troubled Water" (based on "Wade In The Water") is full-bodied and moving… this is one of the tunes I believe will be getting some HUGE amounts of airplay on all types of stations around the globe!
I'll tell you right now, you've never heard a more invigorating performance of "Down By the Riverside" than Jeni gives you… she presents some very unique stylings with her keyboard, too.
Of the eighteen enchanting songs presented, I found the 6:40 opener, "Deep River", to be my choice for personal favorite… Jeni's piano covers all the bases… jazz, blues and even Tchaikovsky in one stunning performance of Margaret Bonds beautiful song!
I give Jeni a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, with an "EQ" (energy quotient) score of 4.98. Get more information on the Zoho Music page for the release. Rotcod Zzaj
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Earlier this month Zoho (last discussed this past May for its release of two albums of guitarist Sharon Isbin) released its first CD of solo piano music performed by Jeni Slotchiver. The title of the album is American Heritage, and it surveys 125 years of music by American composers. The "early bookend" for this recording is the nineteenth-century composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk, represented by one of his best-known works, "The Banjo" (Opus 15), as well as the thematically innovative "Paraphrase de Concert," the Opus 48 "Union." The other end of the survey is occupied by Frederic Rzewski with a recording of "Down by the Riverside" from his North American Ballads collection.
Where technique is concerned, Slotchiver does a far-more-than-creditable job of managing the superposition of familiar tunes in Gottschalk's "Union." I just hope she had fun playing it, since it is difficult to listen to that piece without at least chortling. On the other hand I was a bit concerned that, by paying too much attention to technique, Slotchiver may have smoothed over some of the sharper edges of the Rzewski selection. This was unabashedly political music that deserved more than just a "faithful keyboard account."
Taken as a whole, however, the album is a valuable reference resource; and, for the most part, it makes an excellent case for music that deserves more attention in the "standard repertoire" than has been accorded to date.
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In a socio-politically charged year when our understanding of African American history has been in the spotlight and challenged like few times in the past, music can serve as a great instructor. If you think you know American Music, veteran NY based classical pianist and well-traveled concert performer Jeni Slotchiver invites you to open the door to the past deeper than you ever might have imagined on American Heritage – an extraordinary work paying homage primarily to African American composers of the 19th and early 20th Century whose works laid the foundations of later forms of music like jazz, blues and R&B.
To offer a wider view into these eras, she balances slave songs with Union Army hymns, sea shanties and secular dances and spirituals, some of which include snippets of tunes that we may be more familiar with (i.e. Margaret Bonds' "Troubled Water," based on the spiritual "Wade in the Water." Running elegantly and rhythmically over the ivories as if her mystical melodic hands were opening the doors to a treasured but often overlooked expanse of time, Slotchiver takes us from the dramatic swells of Samuel Coleridge Taylor's "Deep River, Op. 59, No. 10" (1904) and a spirited romp through the darker emotions and great moments of vibrant joy of Harry Thacker Burleigh's six tune suite "From the Southland" (1907) through the folkloric charms of William Still's "Swanee River" (1939).
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