Inna Faliks Elevates Classical Piano With Prose

Check out 27east‘s new profile of Inna Faliks and Music/Words:

A classical pianist’s work is often very lonely, Inna Faliks says. It is not nearly as social as string orchestras, or even quartets, nor as open to variation without wearing the label of “avant-garde” for an audience that is succinctly niche.

Yet when the Ukrainian-born musician began melding her art with spoken word by both well-known and up-and-coming poets, she created her own form of expression that is not only original but also approachable.

Ms. Faliks calls it “Music/Words”—and she is the “Speaking Pianist,” as well as a professor and a mother.

“I don’t think so much about tradition anymore. I think of myself as a powerful pianist,” explains Ms. Faliks, who will return to the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill on Friday to play a concert, as part of the Salon Series. “I don’t have any borders. There is nothing that I look at and say, ‘That’s too difficult.’”

Read the full article here!

New Dates Announced with Poets Ellen Bass, Clarice Assad, Sophie Cabot Black, and Jesse Ball!

In addition to this month’s world premiere of Polonaise Fantasie at The Ebell of Los Angeles, I’m pleased to announce additional dates and information for Music/Words this season!

On February 22, Inna Faliks will perform with Poet-Laureate Ellen Bass at the Cabrillo College Distinguished Artist Series. The performance will be held at 4:00pm at Peace United Church in Santa Cruz, CA. Tickets can be purchased at

On March 20, Faliks will perform the World Premiere of “Godai,” an original composition by Clarice Assad with poems by Steve Schroeder at Bargemusic (New York City’s “floating concert hall”) located just off Fulton Ferry Landing near the Brooklyn Bridge. Tickets can be purchased here.

On March 22, Music/Words will remain in Brooklyn for a special engagement at the Brooklyn Public Library‘s Classical Interlude Series, featuring poet Sophie Cabot Black. Admission is free!

Finally, on May 29, Music/Words will come to Chicago for a collaboration with the Poetry Foundation at PianoForte, featuring poet Jesse Ball.

See you at the show(s)!

Polonaise Fantasie: Story of a Pianist

Coming to The Ebell of Los Angeles on January 25!

Polonaise Fantasie: Story of a Pianist
by Inna Faliks
Directed by Cameron Watson

Internationally renowned pianist Inna Faliks tells her own story through a unique blending of music and words. Her acclaimed interpretations of Bach, Mozart and Chopin, as well as new compositions including her own, illuminate her dramatic story. Interwoven with the music, actress Rebecca Mozo reads the monologue of Faliks’ life: as a young girl in the 1980s she came to the U.S. from Odessa, Ukraine with her parents to escape oppression and pursue her dream of becoming a concert pianist.

Rebecca Mozo headshot
Rebecca Mozo
Inna Faliksphotosmall
Inna Faliks






The Ebell of Los Angeles
Saturday, January 25 @ 5:00pm
To purchase tickets online, please visit

Music/Words 2014-15 Season

After last year’s exciting Music/Words season, with performances in NYC, Chicago and LA, excellent reviews and collaborations, 2014-15 has much in store. This is a season of innovations for Music/Words, including newly composed works, recordings, and theater, as well as collaborations with already established and favorite partners, such as the Poetry Foundation, the Brooklyn Public Library, WFMT, and UCLA.

For the first time, the Music/Words season includes special commissions by brilliant composers – the Brazilian phenom Clarice Assad, and UCLA’s own David Utzinger. In these works, both composers have had the liberty to create using not only musical language but poetry or words of their choice. I cannot wait to share the phenomenal results with my audiences. They may include movement, scatting, prepared piano, singing and/or recitation, in addition to playing.

In January 2015, the PLAYdate series at the historic Ebell of Los Angeles will present a theater piece based on the Music/Words concept,  a monologue devised in collaboration with  producer Cynthia Comsky from my musical memoirs, alternating with piano works, including the music of Mozart and Chopin, my own compositions and works of renowned Israeli composer Jan Freidlin. The performance will be recorded live by Yarlung Records, in a first recording of its kind.

Please stay tuned for dates and more information about this awesome season!

Inna Faliks,
Music/Words Artistic Director and Founder

Rave review for Music/Words performance in Chicago

By Dorothy Andries for the Glenview Announcements, Chicago Sun-Times

Sometimes a concert is so graceful and so unusual that it must be mentioned. Such was the program “Music/Words” the evening of Saturday May 2 in the Music Institute of Chicago’s Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston.

Pianist Inna Faliks performed three works by Beethoven, interspersed by three sets of poems by German poets Goethe and Schiller, read by Peter van de Graaff. Faliks has a national career and was featured in MIC’s fourth annual Distinguished Alumni Concert because at one point she studied with the late Emilio del Rosario, one of the community music school’s outstanding teachers.

Van de Graaff is a bass-baritone, who sings with numerous area groups and has performed internationally. He is also a long-time announcer on radio station WFMT, and it was for his speaking voice that he was engaged for this enterprise.

The evening opened with three poems by Goethe. There’s nothing like a good radio voice and van de Graaff has one of the best. He presented the poems with clarity and precision and, when appropriate, decidedly cheerful animation.

Who can object to an all-Beethoven program? Faliks eagerly embraced the challenge of that monumental composer. She opened with his Polonaise in C, which begins with crashing chords, but includes delicate moments. She handled everything deftly, displaying speed and her formidable technique throughout.

Her second number was Beethoven’s Fantasia, Op. 77, a free flowing fire-and-ice composition. It seemed an ideal match with her temperament.

Van de Graaff demonstrated his dramatic abilities in the poems by Schiller. Especially memorable was “The Breeze,” in which his voice dropped to a whisper as the words tell of sleep. The well-chosen finale was “Elysium,” which bespoke eternal rest and joy.

Faliks concluded the night with Sonata No. 32, giving the work a nimble, graceful performance, showing off her dexterity, as well as her dynamic reach.

She is associate professor of piano at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music. The Music/Words, now in its sixth season in New York City, is her own creation. The MIC concert was so carefully crafted and delightfully done that it resembled a salon experience.

This imaginative event lasted just over an hour, but was as satisfying, actually even more so, than a program twice its length.

More programs of the Music Institute of Chicago at

Feb 4: Premiere of Music/Words in LA

MUSIC/WORDS, the acclaimed music-poetry series (NY, Chicago and LA), invites the audience to be moved by free associations, interplay of moods, genres and different mediums in its 6th season.

Faliks-PavlovaInna Faliks, left; Vera Pavlova, right

The next Music/Words will be held in Royce Hall Rehearsal Studio, Los Angeles on February 4th, 8pm and explores Tchaikovsky and Schumann. Tchaikovsky’s Album for the Young is a cycle of simple yet profoundly beautiful pieces that poet Vera Pavlova has turned into poems. Schumann’s Davidsbundler opus 6 is one of the masterpices of Romantic piano works. A series of 18 short pieces, it invites poetric collaboration. Tonight’s performance, produced by CAP (Center for the Art of Performance), is an imagined dialogue between Clara Schumann and Robert Schumann, between poetry and music. Vera Pavlova and Inna Faliks have appeared in Music/Words together repeatedly, in NYC and in Chicago, in collaboration with the Poetry Foundation.

Celebrated pianist Inna Faliks is the founder and curator of the award-winning interdisciplinary series Music/Words, which explores the connections between poetry and music. She is joined by Vera Pavlova, one of Russia’s most important contemporary poets, whose first poetry collection in English, If There Is Something to Desire, was a bestselling title in 2010. Faliks will perform works by Chopin.

In this performance, Vera Pavlova’s passionate, sensuous poetry, with English translations, will intersect with selections of Frederic Chopin, including the Sonata # 2 in B flat minor. Music/Words has been featured in regular live broadcasts on WFMT Radio in Chicago, in collaboration with Poetry Foundation, at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC, and at UCLA in Los Angeles.

The series MUSIC/WORDS was recently praised by Lucid Culture as being “surreal, impactful, and relevant” and was described as “a throwback to the Paris salons of the late 1800s.” It celebrates links between poetry and music by presenting collaborations between exciting solo performers and acclaimed contemporary poets in the form of a live recital/reading. Music/Words partnerships have included some of the most celebrated American poets.

Inna Faliks created the series in order to foster a chance for poets and musicians to work together and inspire each other, as well as to allow different audiences to come together for these musical-literary events. New published and unpublished works are read alongside performances of music old and new and connected by content, intuition, and inspiration.

According to Faliks, “I pair performers together based on their personalities and styles, and encourage them to choose the poems and music in varied ways that are strongly and intuitively connected.”

Pianist Inna Faliks has set herself apart in thousands of performances as a sincere, communicative and direct performer whose virtuosity, power and risk taking serve the depth, intelligance and poetry of her interpretations. Inna’s command of standard solo and concerto repertoire is highlighted by her love of rare and new music, and interdisciplinary and audience-involving programs and lectures. These include her award winning Music/Words, where she alternates music with readings by contemporary poets, her program of piano music of the poet Boris Pasternak (on MSR Classics Sound of Verse, which drew comparisons to Argerich and Cliburn), 13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg – new variations on Bach’s Aria , music of women composers, and many other programs. She makes sure to present programs that include both beloved crowd pleasers and music that is new and challenging, creating an adventurous, moving and involving experience for the audience. She is a musical omnivore. Faliks debuted as a teenager with the Chicago Symphony and at the Gilmore Festival to rave reviews, and has been exciting and moving audiences worldwide since then. She is Associate Professor of Piano at UCLA, and her new Beethoven disc on the MSR Classics label has just been released.

Please visit for poet bio.

  1. Rzewski "The People United Shall Never Be Defeated" (excerpt, improvised cadenza) Inna Faliks 8:36
  2. Mozart Piano Concerto #20 - I Inna Faliks with Chamber Orchestra of St. Matthews 15:12
  3. Mozart Piano Concerto #20 - II Inna Faliks with Chamber Orchestra of St. Matthews 10:27
  4. Mozart Piano Concerto #20 - III Inna Faliks with Chamber Orchestra of St. Matthews 8:26