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Pianist on the Cutting Edge: Marilyn Nonken Performs Signature Works

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NEW PALTZ -- Heralded by The New York Times as a "pianist from music's leading edge," Marilyn Nonken will give a concert of works by contemporary composers at SUNY New Paltz's Julien J. Studley Theater on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2002, at 8 p.m.

The pianist has made a name for herself around the world by using an elegant musical style to promote the work of lesser known and cutting edge composers. Her New Paltz concert will feature solo piano compositions by David Rakowski, a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Music with his "12-Step Program," as well as works by Milton Babbit, Jason Eckardt, Paul Nauert, Michael Finnissey and Jeff Nichols.

Much of the material features complex, atonal music, the sort that wins raves from avant garde audiences, and Nonken is unapologetic about the challenging nature of her choices. "I can't imagine what would drive me to perform, were it not the conviction that I can offer listeners an experience they can't get from anyone else," she has said, likening the execution of these piano works as something closer to giving a dance performance than playing songs.

The Times applauded Nonken by noting that though her performances are "difficult both for the body and for the intellect, her technique is in place and her feeling for pieces is so heartfelt, so sincere, that one is constantly engaged."

She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall and the Guggenheim Museum, among numerous conservatories and universities. Her most recent CD release, American Spiritual, is an anthology of modern piano works, all of which were written for Nonken.

The concert is presented by the Department of Music. Tickets are available at the door: $10, general admission; $8 for faculty/staff and senior citizens; $5 for students. For more information, call 845-257-3872.