Cristina Valdes, piano
Pianist Cristina Valdes has performed across four continents. Committed to both contemporary and standard music, she is known for presenting innovative concerts with repertoire ranging from Bach to Xenakis. She has appeared at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, Miller Theatre, Jordan Hall, and the Kennedy Center. Among her festival performances are New Music in Miami, the Foro Internacional de Musica Nueva in Mexico City, the Brisbane Arts Festival, the Festival of Contemporary Music in El Salvador, Theater de Welt in Stuttgart, the Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, and the Singapore Arts Festival. Her passionate interest in new music has led to collaborations with such renowned composers as Terry Riley, Joan Tower, Ezra Laderman, and Ned Rorem. She has also premiered the works of such younger composers as Evan Ziporyn, Orlando Garcia, and Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez.
An avid chamber musician, Ms. Valdes has toured extensively with the Bang on a Can All-Stars and has performed with the Seattle Chamber Players, the Mabou Mines Theater Company, and the Parsons Dance Company. From 1998-2001, she was a member of the award-winning chamber music group Antares.
Born and raised in Elizabeth, NJ, Ms. Valdes began playing the piano at age three. At 16, she entered the New England Conservatory of Music, studying with Steve Drury. She continued her studies with Gilbert Kalish at SUNY Stony Brook; there she earned a masters and Doctor of Musical Arts, and performed Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand under Gustav Meier. Other teachers have included Zenaida Manfugas, John Perry, Jerome Lowenthal, and Claude Helffer. She has been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including an Arts International Grant, the Thayer Award for the Arts, an Artist Trust GAP grant, an American Composers Forum Encore grant, the W. Burghardt Turner Fellowship, first prize in the Ruth Slenczynska Solo Piano Competition, the Silver Medal in the Osaka International Chamber Music Festa, and an Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music.
Upcoming projects include concerts with her new two-percussion and piano trio, the a.m. Trio; an appearance at the Bellingham Electronic Arts Festival, where she will perform Morton Subotnick’s The Other Piano; and recording an all-contemporary Latin American solo piano music CD.
Ms. Valdes lives in Seattle, where she is the founder and director of the SLAM Festival, serves as Vice-President of the Board of the Washington Composers Forum, and is a Jack Straw artist-in-residence.
February 23, 2009