The purpose of this recording is to share music by composers with whom I have had direct contact. All the composers hail from the Americas and the works span a 69 year period—the earliest dates from 1939 and the latest from 2008. This recording is dedicated to my mother, Wilma LeBeau Rust (1928-2011), and my step-daughter, Emily Evans Kline (1961-2017). It is supported in part by funds received from the Land Buy-back Program for Tribal Nations conducted by the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota.


George Rochberg (1918-2005), born in Paterson NJ, earned an ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award and Guggenheim Fellowships. After learning Rochberg’s suite Carnival Music (1971) and before performing it for the first time in 1992, I made a cassette tape of a rehearsal of the work and mailed it to Mr. Rochberg with the hope that he would be willing to offer suggestions about my performance. We spent about an hour on the phone as he delivered an impassioned and detailed critique of my rehearsal tape and I copied all his remarks in my score. Blues is the second movement from Carnival Music.


Michael Anderson currently serves as Composer-in-Residence at the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem NC. He was born in Merritt Island FL in 1989 and I first heard him play the piano at age 10 when he auditioned to study piano with me. Based on the beauty of his improvisations, I accepted him. He later became the first composition major in the composition degree program begun in 2008 at the Lynn University Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton FL. Thirteen plus 4 (2005) is a two-movement suite based on expanded chords and quartal harmony, and the first movement of the Sonata, Misterioso + Molto Legato, dates from 2008.


Born in Havana Cuba in 1939, Leo Brouwer was elected an honorary member of UNESCO. He is a classical guitarist, conductor, and composer, and has written music extensively for guitar and films including the acclaimed Like Water For Chocolate. He is the great-nephew of composer Ernesto Lecuona and completed his studies at the Juilliard School and the Hartt School of Music. In 2016 I visited Havana and had the honor of meeting Maestro Brouwer. During that trip he gave me a copy of his Diez Bocetos, short pieces for piano inspired by Cuban artists. I have chosen three of them for inclusion on this recording. In two of these pieces the composer calls for the performer to improvise. I began learning the pieces while attending the 3rd Bach Cantata Academy in Weimar Germany in 2016 and my improvisation quotes the theme from the Christe eleison from the J.S. Bach Lutheran Mass, BWV 235, which was being studied and performed at the Bach Cantata Academy. It appears between sections of the habanera tune in Boceto No. 7 Cabrera Moreno (2007). The other pieces included are Boceto No. 5 Choco (Eduardo Roca) (2007) and Boceto No. 4 Acosta León (2007). Boceto No. 4 is dedicated to the composer’s wife, Isabelle Hernández.


American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich is the first female composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music and earn a DMA in composition from the Juilliard School. She was also the first composer to hold the Carnegie Hall Composer’s Chair. Zwilich was born in Miami FL in 1939 and holds the Francis Eppes Distinguished Professorship at Florida State University. I learned her piano piece Lament (1999) and before my first performance of it at the Lynn University New Music Festival in 2016, I played it for her and she told me what inspired her to write it. It is dedicated to Judith Arron, who was the executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall from 1986-1998. She is credited with the rebirth of Carnegie Hall and Zwilich said of Arron, “She was the best artistic administrator I ever met.” Zwilich composed Lament as an immediate and personal response to the death of Judith Arron “whose visionary goals for Carnegie Hall were matched by abilities to achieve them.”


Born in Grand Rapids MI in 1928, Phillip Evans penned his Minuetto (1939) at age 11 and his Suite 1945 at 17. Two movements from the Suite, Sarabande and Aria, are included in this recording. Evans’s special affinity for the music of Béla Bartók was acknowledged by the late, Pulitzer prize-winning critic Harold Schonberg in his important book The Great Pianists: “Phillip Evans in Bartók, Rosalyn Tureck in Bach.” Mr. Evans enjoyed an extensive career as a pianist and educator, serving on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, NYU, the Harid Conservatory, and Lynn University. He was a Fulbright scholar, winner of the Loeb Award upon graduation from the Juilliard School, recipient of two Ford Foundation grants, and a music critic for several major South Florida newspapers. We were married in 1980 and the dedication of this recording is to my mother and his eldest daughter.


José Antônio Rezende de Almeida Prado (1943-2010) was born in Santos, São Paulo Brazil and his teachers included Olivier Messiaen and Nadia Boulanger in Paris and Camargo Guarnieri in Brazil. He wrote hundreds of compositions and became a professor at UNICAMP Institute of the Arts in Campinas Brazil, where I met him in 1986 during my first concert tour of South America and the Caribbean. Almeida Prado sent me a copy of Halley (o viajante uranografia sonora para piano) and I learned it and gave its world premiere at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall in September 1986. The return of Halley’s comet to earth that year inspired this three-movement work. The first movement is called A infinita viagem (An Infinite Voyage), the second, Abril 1986 A.D. Hemisfério Sul (Southern Hemisphere), and the third, Pax Caelestis (Celestial Peace).


Thomas L. McKinley was born in Louisville KY in 1956 and earned his Ph.D. and A.M. degrees in composition from Harvard University and his M.M. and B.M. degrees from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. Dr. McKinley has been my colleague for years—initially at the Harid Conservatory and currently at the Lynn University Conservatory of Music. He dedicated the Fantasy Pieces for piano (2005) to me. Invocation is intensely expressionistic and The Tyger, thy fearful symmetry is inspired by the William Blake poem.


John Sharpley, born in 1955 in Houston TX, has made his home in Singapore for over 32 years. He earned a doctorate in Composition from Boston University, degrees from the University of Houston, and diplomas from the National Conservatory of Music in Strasbourg, France. In our pre-college days, John and I studied with William Chaisson, a distinguished piano teacher in Houston, our mutual home town. Many years later during an Asian concert tour I saw him again in Singapore and learned and performed his Four Preludes (1998), which reflect the geographic and cultural influences John has experienced. This recording presents three of the preludes. Reflection, has an eastern quality, Doodle quotes “Yankee Doodle,” and To the Memory of Eleanor Reichardt is dedicated to a close family friend of John’s, who was like an aunt to him. It closes with a quotation from the hymn “Bringing in the Sheaves.” — Roberta Rust



Oktaven Audio on Nov. 1, 2018 after the recording sessions were concluded. (From left to right) Ryan Streber, Roberta Rust, and Lucas Paquette.




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