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Concert pianist Oni Buchanan brings grace, agility, and intensity to an incredible range of piano literature. She specializes in music by women composers of the 21st century, with particular focus on the music of Cindy Cox, Mei-Fang Lin, Annie Gosfield, Missy Mazzoli, and Carolyn Yarnell, among many others. In addition, Ms. Buchanan is a natural interpreter of French music, and her gorgeous performance projects span several centuries, from the miniature keyboard works of François Couperin to the lush expanses of Ravel to the jubilant textures of Messiaen. She also finds exceptional affinity with the polyphonic genius of Bach and Schumann, as well as with the lyrical and percussive mastery of such composers as Prokofiev, Bartók, Stravinsky, and Villa-Lobos.
Oni Buchanan’s concert programming is often interdisciplinary in nature, directly engaging the intimate connections between the arts, and frequently including adventurous contemporary works alongside established repertoire, bringing works from disparate centuries into fascinating and enlightening conversation. In addition to solo programming, she has co-curated (with poet Jon Woodward) several large-scale interdisciplinary performance projects. Their first project, “Machines,” featured the machines and films of kinetic sculptor Arthur Ganson exhibited alongside live performances of matched contemporary musical works. They then produced “Four Quartets: Variations,” moored by the performances of four vocalizing actors and four poets interacting with excerpted and remixed text of T. S. Eliot. Most recently, they commissioned a concert-length work for piano, spoken text, and electronics from renowned electroacoustic composer John Gibson. The piece, called Uncanny Valley (after Jon Woodward’s serial poem of the same name), will be given its world premiere at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in September 2012, and is scheduled to be performed throughout the country at venues including Smith College, Harvard University, UC Berkeley, and many others.
Ms. Buchanan has performed solo recitals in major cities throughout the U.S., at such venues as the National Gallery of Art, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT), the University of Iowa Center for New Music, the Galapagos Art Space, the Lane Series, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Harvard University Hall Concert Series, and many others. She has performed internationally in major South American cities including Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, São Paulo, Porto Alegre, and Montevideo, as well as in Canadian cities including Guelph, Waterloo, Thunder Bay, and Charlottetown. Ms. Buchanan received her Master’s degree in piano performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, her Bachelor’s degree in music (as well as English) from the University of Virginia, and conducted three years of her music studies at the University of Iowa School of Music while pursuing her M.F.A. in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her teachers have included Russell Sherman, Stephen Drury, Daniel Epstein, Patricia Zander, Uriel Tsachor, and Mimi Tung. Her discography includes three solo piano CDs on the independent Velvet Ear Records label, with a fourth CD scheduled for release in November 2012.
Oni is also an award-winning poet. Her third poetry book, Must a Violence, will be published by the University of Iowa Press in October 2012 as part of its celebrated Kuhl House Poets series, curated by poet/editor Mark Levine. Her second book of poetry, Spring (University of Illinois Press, 2008), was selected by Mark Doty as a winner of the National Poetry Series, and also received the 2009 Massachusetts Book Award. Her first book, What Animal (UGA Press, 2003), was chosen by Fanny Howe as winner of the University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series competition. Ms. Buchanan’s poems are featured in many anthologies including The Best American Poetry 2004 and have been published in numerous journals across the country.