“…a splendid pianist, sensitive musically, supple in phrase, brilliant in technique.”
Joanne Polk was catapulted into the public eye with her recordings of the complete piano works of American composer Amy Beach (1867-1944) on the Arabesque Recordings label.
She celebrated the centennial of Beach’s Piano Concerto by giving the work its London premiere with the English Chamber Orchestra at the Barbican Center, under the baton of Paul Goodwin, and subsequently performed it with the Women’s Philharmonic in San Francisco, under conductor Apo Hsu, in a performance described as “brilliant” by critic Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle. He further lauded her performance as “an enormously vital, imaginative reading. Her playing was expansive in the opening movement, brittle and keen in the delightful scherzo. She brought a light touch to the foreshortened slow movement and fearless technical panache to the showy conclusion.”
Photo credit: Jeffrey Langford
Announcing Joanne’s latest CD
“The Silence Between the Notes”
Louise Farrenc Volume 2
The Silence Between the Notes, Louise Farrenc Volume 2 of solo piano music, released on the Steinway & Sons Label on September 1, 2023. This highly anticipated second volume of Louise Farrenc’s solo piano music includes more of her virtuosic etudes as well as opera transcriptions, and opens with her Mélodie, a poetic gem that touches our souls, and helps us understand Farrenc’s ability to hear the silence between the notes.
The critically acclaimed first volume, Louise Farrenc Etudes & Variations for Solo Piano was chosen as “Album of the Week” in March 2020 on the German Radio Station, MDR
“Those who like Chopin will love Louise Farrenc. The American pianist Joanne Polk is a colleague of Louise Farrenc, but in our time. Joanne Polk plays on a modern Steinway, but pays attention to the rhetoric of the original sound. She has a differentiated and very clear tone, which serves the music very well. When paying close attention, one notices that Farrenc developed a pianistic approach of her own, on the border line between Chopin and Liszt. Highly recommended!”
“This is the kind of composer that fires up pianist Joanne Polk. We can thank her for her attention to women in music – she devoted herself to the complete piano music of the wonderful American composer Amy Beach with recordings known the world over. Etudes are meant as practice pieces for the uncountable challenges that pianists are constantly running up against. The trick for a composer is to get something recognizably heartfelt to rise to the top. Joanne Polk has picked her favorites from the thirty that Farrenc wrote in 1838. You’ll hear a real sense of joy in No. 11 (track 8), while No. 21 (track 14) radiates the warmth of a hymn, testing the pianist’s ability to control what’s in the foreground and what’s in the background. No. 29 (track 18) is a nicely crafted fugue, with interweaving lines, each of which need enough love to give them independence.”
Check out Joanne’s Interview with Fred Child on Performance Today (Minnesota Public Radio).
Joanne is honored to have her CD listed in the Best Classical Music of 2020 list in the NY Times.
Joanne Polk is an Official
“The Steinway piano assists in the realization of a lifetime of work. The uniquely sensitive Steinway can transform arduous pianistic struggles into musical and artistic bliss. Without an instrument as well-crafted and artistically satisfying as a Steinway, that ideal is guaranteed to be compromised.”
Joanne has dedicated her career to celebrating the works of Women Composers
I am thrilled that the Milwaukee Ballet choreographed and performed a work to my recording of a piece by Cécile Chaminade. View the article HERE.
Did you know women have been writing music as long as men? Léonin was the first known significant composer of polyphonic music, and lived, it is thought, around 1150-1201. But Hildegarde von Bingen lived from 1098-1179, and was a composer, philosopher, writer and...
Louise Farrenc (1804-75) was a pianist and composer, who taught at the Paris Conservatoire for 40 years. But she was never permitted to teach or even study composition there, only piano. And she composed “30 Etudes in Major and Minor Keys,” which became a...