Scarlatti and Cage at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater on January 11 Washington, DC

Washington, D.C. , December 4, 2013 (Washington Bangla Radio):– Pianist David Greilsammer has been described as one of the most imaginative of today’s artists. With a mission “to bring old music into today,” Greilsammer “finds fascinating ways to juxtapose pieces spanning centuries, aiming to highlight surprising musical resonances among works vastly different in language and style,” says the New York Times. In his D.C. debut, Greilsammer will use both a concert grand tuned to standard A-440 for sonatas by Scarlatti, and a prepared piano (altered by putting nails, paper, wood, rubber bands or other objects between the strings to make them sound percussive and otherworldly) for alternating sonatas by avant-garde 20th-century composer John Cage.

In an explanation of his program choice, Greilsammer said: “Music from a different planet. This is the feeling that has always taken over me when listening to the Sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti and John Cage. Music from an invisible, distant, and mysterious world. The works of these composers do not resemble in any way those of their contemporaries: is it, perhaps, because the two men were not composers, but in fact, inventors? Inventors of sounds, magicians of rhythm, creators of new languages, that had never been heard before.

As true visionaries, ahead of their time, they treated the Sonata not as a rigid and extensive form, but rather as a miraculous space designed for conception and experimentation. More than two hundred years separate the two composers, but their Sonatas seem so much alike: short, provocative, passionate, full of wild colors, and bursting with sensual rhythms. Light years away from the traditional Sonata that ruled during the two centuries that went by between Scarlatti and Cage, the two artists treated this form as a free, agile and dazzling entity: like an Unidentified Flying Object, passing in the sky, brief, remote and solitary. Searching in their feverish imagination, Scarlatti and Cage conceived these pieces to be the messengers of a yet unknown world. Embracing the future and its freedoms, the Sonatas seem to be staring at us from their far, distant planet.”

Following his Lincoln Center debut in 2004, Greilsammer went on to be named ‘Young Musician of the Year’ at the French Music Awards in 2008. The New York Times described his last New York recital as “among the best and most interesting events of the year,” and his solo album, Baroque Conversations, as “an adventurous dialogue.”

Widely known for his Mozart interpretations, Greilsammer performed the complete cycle of Mozart’s 27 piano concertos as conductor and pianist last year. He has also recorded several albums devoted to Mozart, on the most recent of which he conducts a program of rarely-heard works. He performed all of Mozart’s piano sonatas in a one-day “marathon” in Paris in 2008.

Greilsammer has served as Music Director of the Geneva Chamber Orchestra since 2009, scheduling eclectic programming, innovative projects and collaborations with world-class soloists, and performing concerts at major international festivals.

Greilsammer made his Tokyo recital debut in 2010 and appeared at New York’s Lincoln Center the same year, giving a performance described by the New York Times as “exquisite.” He returned to New York last summer for a performance at the Mostly Mozart Festival, and has also performed at the Ravinia Festival, Verbier Festival, Wigmore Hall, Salle Pleyel, Zurich Tonhalle, Tokyo Suntory Hall, Beijing Forbidden City Theatre, and Shanghai Oriental Arts Center. Greilsammer has also served as Music and Artistic Director of the Suedama Ensemble in New York, with whom he has recorded Mozart’s early piano concertos Nos. 5 and 6 (2008) and Concertos Nos. 22 and 24 (2010) conducted from the keyboard for Naïve Records. A solo recital disc named Fantaisie Fantasme (2007) features pieces by Bach, Brahms and Mozart with modern pieces by Jonathan Keren, Schoenberg, Janacek, Ligeti and Cage, and another juxtaposes works by Tansman, Boulanger and Gershwin (2010).

Greilsammer now has an exclusive contract with Sony Classical, with whom he has made two albums: Baroque Conversations (2012), an adventurous dialogue between eight Baroque masterpieces and four contemporary works, and Mozart In Between (2013) with L’Orchestre de Chambre de Genève.

Greilsammer has also appeared with the San Francisco Symphony, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Hamburg Symphony, Filarmonica di Torino and the Bournemouth Symphony. Last season, he conducted the Israel Symphony Orchestra, Slovenian Philharmonic, and the Mexico National Symphony, among others. He will conduct the Munich Chamber Orchestra on an extensive European tour this season, and will have guest-conducting engagements with the Milwaukee Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, Haifa Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the TromsØ Orchestra in Norway.

Born in Jerusalem in 1977, Greilsammer started his music studies at the Rubin Conservatory in his native city. After his military service in Israel, he attended the Juilliard School as a student of Yoheved Kaplinsky, in addition to studies with Richard Goode.


Funded in part by the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • Who: David Greilsammer
  • Where: Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
  • When: Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 2 p.m.
  • Program: Works by Alternating sonatas by Scarlatti and Cage
  • Tickets: $35, are available by calling 202-785- 9727 and at

About WPAS

Since 1965, Washington Performing Arts Society has had a foundational role in the arts in our nation’s capital, creating profound opportunities that connect community and artists, in both education and performance. Through live events in 11 venues that criss-cross the D.C. metropolitan area, the careers of emerging artists are launched and nurtured, and established artists return to develop closer relationships with WPAS audiences and creative partners.

As one of the leading presenters in the nation, Washington Performing Arts Society embraces a broad spectrum of the performing arts, including classical music, jazz, gospel, contemporary dance and music, international music and art forms, and new work. Dynamic education programs in the public schools and beyond are hallmarks of WPAS, as are WPAS’s Embassy Adoption Program and two resident gospel choirs.
In the 2012–13 season, WPAS was twice honored for its work at the intersection of arts presenting and education: by President Barack Obama with a National Medal of Arts (becoming only the fourth D.C.-based arts group and the first arts presenter of its kind to be so honored), and the Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Service to the Arts.