Lucid Culture Review of Music/Words, February 2012

“Cross-Pollination at the Gershwin with Inna Faliks” from Lucid Culture:

Virtuoso pianist Inna Faliks’ latest installment of her innovative Music/Words series last night was a throwback to the Paris salons of the late 1800s, in the aptly lowlit atmosphere of the back room at the Gershwin Hotel. As she describes it, the concept of the series is to match music with poetry that shares a mood or evokes similar emotions, rather than referring to specific ideas or events. As an attempt to link two worlds that otherwise don’t usually intersect, it’s an admirable idea. Musically, this program was extremely diverse, spanning from classical to late Romantic, with Faliks pulling one of the obscurities she’s so fond of out of the woodwork as well. Lyrically, it was surreal, impactful, and relevant. Poet Tom Thompson doesn’t waste words: he finds the logic in cruel irony, assembles scenes vividly yet economically, and makes connections – like the commonalities in the desires of a child at play and a hungry spider – that might seem farfetched at face value but make perfect sense as he describes them (spiders got a lot of time this time out). “The lake is tired of being a mirror…it closes its one historical eye before we ever get to use it,” he observed bleakly. In an understatedly moving account of his son’s experience with seizures, Thompson coldly acknowledged how in one culture, people who suffer from them get killed, while in another they’re worshipped. A New York water tower became a “wholly owned subsidiary” of the dead leaves that get under the screws that hold it together; people and insects in Central Park shared a fate brought on by their inability to escape their desires. If insightfully ominous, loaded imagery is your thing, Thompson has a couple of collections out from alicejamesbooks that you should investigate.

The music was good too. In between trios of poems, Faliks alternated with pianist Dimitri Dover, who warmed up the performance with the Haydn’s uncharacteristically pensive Sonata in C Minor., Hob. 16:20. A bit later, he played three selections from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, the best being the anxiously stately “Montagues and Capulets” scene followed by Mercutio’s scampering cinematics. He joined Faliks for a perfectly synchronized four-handed take of another uncharacteristic piece, Liszt’s reflective, remarkably terse Symphonic Poem #4: Orpheus, eventually ending the show with three intuitive, energetic Debussy preludes and then a rather stern take on Chopin’s Scherzo No. 2, Op. 31.

Although the program put her on the bill lower than Dover and Thompson, Faliks was still the star of this show, playing with her signature blend of lithe grace and raw power, particularly as she made her way through the nocturnal scenes of Liszt’s Harmonies du Soir, and then the composer’s transcription of Paganini’s La Campanella, which she imbued with playful charm and then maintained it all the way through the dance’s knotty, rapidfire thicket of staccato. Her obscurity du jour turned out to be 20th century Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin’s Basso Ostinato, a fascinatingly biting, expansively acidic prelude that built from a walking bassline to echoes of Alban Berg and Vincent Persichetti. Faliks’ next program in the Music/Words series, on April 22 at 7:30 PM at the Cornelia Street Cafe with Brazilian pianist Clarice Assad and poet Irina Mashinski promises to be equally intriguing.

Pianist Dover and Poet Thompson featured at next Music/Words

Pianist Dimitri Dover

Music/Words continues its fourth season on Friday, February 10, at 7:30pm with a performance at New York’s Gershwin Hotel featuring Inna Faliks at the piano along with guest pianist Dimitri Dover and poet Tom Thompson. The varied program will include solo works of Haydn (Sonata in C minor)  Prokofiev (Romeo and Juliet), Chopin (Scherzo # 2), Debussy (selected Preludes), and Liszt (transcriptions, etudes and the four-hand Symphonic Poem “Orpheus”). The Gershwin Hotel ( is located at 7 E. 27th street in New York. Tickets are $20 and are available at the door.

Tom Thompson is the author of Live Feed and The Pitch, both published by Alice James Books. His poems and reviews have appeared in various print and digital journals including Boston Review, Post Road, and on the website From the Fishouse ( He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons.

Pianist Dimitri Dover recently performed the inaugural solo recital at the Cronyn Center Space (London, Ontario), collaborative recitals at Weill Recital Hall in New York, as well as concerts with North Shore Pro Musica, Composers Concordance, Rosetta Trio, and Arcturus Chamber Ensemble. Mr. Dover has been a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and the Aspen Summer Music Festival, where he performed regularly as Orchestra Pianist in the Aspen Festival Orchestra and Aspen Chamber Orchestra under renowned conductors including David Zinman and James Conlon.

Poets announced for 2012 Performances

Tom Thompson and Irina Mashinski have been announced as featured poets for upcoming Music/Words performances in 2012:

Poet Tom Thompson will appear Feb 10th at the Gershwin Hotel, NYC, with Dimitri Dover and Inna Faliks, piano four hands. Poet Irina Mashinski will appear on April 22nd at Cornelia Street Cafe, NYC, with Inna Faliks on piano. Both performances are at 7:30pm and tickets are $20. You can read more about Thompson and Mashinski below.

Music/Words will once again be featured on 98.7 WFMT-Chicago on April 16th and 23rd, both at 8 pm.

Tom Thompson is the author of LIVE FEED (2001) and THE PITCH (2006). His poems and essays have appeared in Boston Review, Colorado Review, The Hat, Volt and other journals. He lives with his wife and two sons in New York City and Coxsackie, NY. He currently works at an advertising agency.

Irina Mashinski is a bilingual poet and translator. She has authored seven books of poetry in Russian, and her most recent collections are Volk [Wolf] (Moscow: NLO, 2009) and Raznochinets pervyi sneg i drugie stikhotvoreniia [Raznochinets First Snow and Other Poems] (New York: Stosvet Press, 2009). Her work has appeared in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, including Poetry International, Fulcrum, Zeek, The London Magazine, and An Anthology of Contemporary Russian Women Poets (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2005). She is the co-editor (with Robert Chandler) of the forthcoming Anthology of Russian Poetry from Pushkin to Brodsky (Penguin, 2014), as well as co-founder (with Oleg Woolf) and co-editor (with Robert Chandler and Oleg Woolf) of the Cardinal Points literary journal, published in the U.S. in English and Russian. Irina Mashinski is the winner of several literary awards, including the Russian America (2001) and Maximilian Voloshin (2003) Awards. Her poetry has been translated into English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Serbian.

Music/Words returns on November 18

Cecily Parks

Music/Words begins its fourth season on Friday, November 18, at 7:30pm with a performance at New York’s Yamaha Artist Services Piano Salon featuring Inna Faliks at the piano along with readings by poet Cecily Parks. The varied program will include C.P.E. Bach’s Sonata in a minor, Chopin’s Barcarolle opus 60, Lera Auerbach’s “Ludwig’s Alptraum, NYC based composer Ljova (Lev Zhurbin)’s Sirota, and Beethoven’s Sonata opus 57, “Appassionata.” Yamaha Artist Services Piano Salon is located at 689 5th Ave. in New York. Tickets are $20 and are available by calling 212-339-9995.

Cecily Parks is the author of the poetry collection Field Folly Snow and the chapbook Cold Work. Her poetry, reviews, and essays appear in Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Orion, The Yale Review, and elsewhere.

Upcoming Music/Words performances for 2012 are:

  • Feb 10th at the Gershwin Hotel,NYC, with Dimitry Dover and Inna Faliks piano four hands, poet TBA.
  • April 22nd, Cornelia Street Cafe, NYC, with Inna Faliks piano, and Irina Mashinski, poet.

Music/Words on WFMT Radio

Music/Words is live on 98.7 fm WFMT radio in Chicago this month. Tune in to hear great music alongside accomplished and brilliant poets reading from their work:

April 13, 3 pm – Schostakovich Quintet with New Millenium Orchestra members, Inna Faliks and Jasmine Lin + Jesse Ball, poet

April 20, 3 pm – Matt Hagle, music of Brahms, Chopin and Debussy, + Regan Good, poet

April 27, 3 pm – Inna Faliks, music of Gubaidulina, Liszt and Chopin, + Sandra Beasley poet

Next Music/Words – April 29 (NYC) and May 1 (Chicago)

Violinist Sharan Leventhal

On Friday April 29th at New York City’s Cornelia Street Café, at 6pm, the first Music/Words of 2011 will feature Inna Faliks, piano, Sharan Leventhal, violin; with Susan Miller and LB Thompson, poets. The varied program will include Schubert’s Sonata in a minor opus 143, Concert Piece (1959) by Seymour Shifrin (1926-1979), and Ravel’s Sonata for violin and piano. Cornelia Street Café is located at 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village, NYC. Tickets are $20 and are available by calling 212-989-9319.

On Sunday, May 1 at 3pm, Music/Words featuring Ms. Faliks and poet Mark Levine will take place as part of Pianoforte Foundation’s Pure Piano series in Chicago, IL. Pianoforte is located at 408 S. Michigan Ave. and can be reached at 312-291-0291 or at

Since winning the Kranischsteiner Musikpreis at the 1984 International Contemporary Music Festival in Darmstadt, Germany, violinist Sharan Leventhal has built an international reputation as a champion of contemporary music. Her more than 100 premieres include works written by Gunther Schuller, Virgil Thomson, William Kraft, Pauline Oliveros, Taina León, and Simon Bainbridge.

LB Thompson’s poetry chapbook Tendered Notes: Poems of Love and Money won the Center for Book Arts’ annual chapbook competition in 2003. Her poems have appeared in Fence, Pool, Lyric, The Women’s Review of Books and The New Yorker. She received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and her M.F.A. in Poetry from New York University and was a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award. Her essay about her long period of illness, “Torpor: Metaphors of Hibernation,” appeared in Prairie Schooner in 2009. Ms. Thompson teaches English to college freshmen, works as a free-lance copyeditor and lives on the North Fork of Long Island. She recently completed a poetry manuscript entitled The Dark Skirt of the Universe, and is at work on a novel and a collection of essays.

Susan L. Miller has published poetry in Iowa Review, Black Warrior Review, Calyx, Commonweal, Meridian, and Sewanee Theological Review, and has poems forthcoming in the anthology Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion, and Spirituality. She has twice won a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize for poetry. She teaches Poetry and Expository Writing as a Russell Teaching Fellow at Rutgers University, where she also helps coordinate and curate an LGBT reading series and a reading series of religious writing. She lives with her husband in Brooklyn.

Mark Levine has written three books of poems, “Debt” (1993), “Enola Gay” (2000), and “The Wilds” (2006), as well as a book of nonfiction, “F5″ (2007). His poems have been in many magazines and anthologies, and he has written nonfiction prose for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, New York, and other places. He is on the faculty of poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and lives in Brooklyn.

Called “A delight to hear” and “riveting” by Phil Greenfield of the Baltimore Sun, Inna Faliks ( played her debut with the Chicago Symphony at age 15, and performs regularly at major venues in US and abroad. A winner of many international competitions including the 2005 International Pro Musicis Award , Ms. Faliks has recently performed at Carnegie Hall, Paris’s Salle Cortot, Metropolitan Museum, Bargemusic a recital tour of Russia, and in multiple TV and radio broadcasts worldwide. Her CD, Sound of Verse, has been enthusiastically reviewed this year by Gramophone, American Record Guide and other press. Recent festival appearances include Verbier, Taos, and Brevard. She performed the NY and LA premieres of 13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg – variations by contemporary composers on Bach’s Aria. Her former teachers include Gil Kalish, Leon Fleisher and Boris Petrushansky.

Make a tax-deductible donation to Music/Words!

Music/Words needs your help to flourish. If you enjoyed one of our performances live or on the radio, or if you just like what we are doing and wish to make a tax-deductible donation, please consider writing a check to The Field, the fiscal sponsor of Music/Words and a non-profit. Please send this tax-deductible donation to 12 West 103rd st. apt 33 New York NY 10025. Or visit to make an on-line donation. When writing a check or donating online, please specify “Sponsored Artist Inna Faliks.”

The Field is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization serving the New York City performing arts community. Contributions made to The Field and earmarked for Inna Faliks are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. For more information about The Field contact: The Field, 161 Sixth Avenue, 14th Floor, New York NY 10013, (212) 691-6969, fax: (212)255-2053,

A copy of The Field’s latest annual report may be obtained, upon request, from The Field or from the Office of the Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.

Third Season of Music/Words begins on November 21, 2010

Music/Words begins its third season on Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 6pm with a performance featuring pianist Inna Faliks on the piano along with readings by poets Sandra Beasley and Oni Buchanan at New York’s Cornelia Street Café. The varied program will include Chaconne by composer Sofia Gubaidulina, two Liszt Etudes, the short work Cathedral Waterfall (from the Etudes) by Augusta Read Thomas and Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit (which is featured on Faliks’ recent CD release, Sound of Verse (MSR Records). Cornelia Street Café is located at 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village, NYC. Tickets are $20 and are available by calling 212-989-9319.

Oni Buchanan is the author of Spring, a Poetry Honors winner of the 2009 Massachusetts Book Awards and selected by Mark Doty for the 2007 National Poetry Series. Her first poetry book, What Animal, was published in 2003 by the University of Georgia Press. Oni is also a concert pianist.

Sandra Beasley is the author of I Was the Jukebox, winner of the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize, selected by Joy Harjo and published by W. W. Norton. Her first collection, Theories of Falling, won the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize. Her nonfiction has been featured in the Washington Post Magazine and she is working on Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, forthcoming from Crown. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Inna Faliks is the featured pianist on this program as well as being the producer and curator of Music/Words. Read about Inna and the other musicians who have performed in past Music/Words programs.

  1. La Campanella, Paganini - Liszt Inna Faliks 4:53
  2. Rzewski "The People United Shall Never Be Defeated" (excerpt, improvised cadenza) Inna Faliks 8:36
  3. Beethoven Eroica Variations Inna Faliks 9:59
  4. Gershwin: Prelude 3 in E-flat Minor Inna Faliks 1:25
  5. Mozart Piano Concerto #20 - II Inna Faliks with Chamber Orchestra of St. Matthews 10:27
  6. Gaspard de la Nuit (1908) : Scarbo - Ravel Inna Faliks 9:07
  7. Sirota by Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin Inna Faliks 7:45