Video Premiere: Donna Weng Friedman Performs Sherman’s Quiet Poems

For composer Kim D. Sherman’s newest collection of solo piano works, necessity was the mother of invention. In 2018, Sherman was approached by her collaborator, pianist Donna Weng Friedman, to write a series of short piano pieces for two of her advanced teen students at Mannes Prep. Anyone involved in the field of education can easily tell you about the dearth of music by living composers specifically for young students, so Sherman jumped at the opportunity to write something inspired by the music she herself loved as a young pianist.

The resulting collection, Unfathomable Things, includes 15 “stories” for solo piano about “nature, meditations on time and space, walking, human connection, and other unfathomable things.” During the pandemic, Sherman and Weng Friedman felt the need to share the feelings of these pieces and find connection, so they recorded “Quiet Poems,” a set of three nature-inspired songs from the collection. The cinematic music video by filmmaker Karl Sonnenberg combines live performance footage with images of nature, bringing to life “Water Circles” (the ripple effect when you throw a rock into a still body of water), “A Gesture” (the lonely call to a person who is not there), and “Night Sounds” (those strange things you hear when everything is quiet, but not really).

Kim D. Sherman--Photo by Peter Krask

Kim D. Sherman–Photo by Peter Krask

Here’s what Donna had to say about the project:

Unfathomable Things offers an array of short pieces that introduces original contemporary music in an imaginative and thoughtful way. With its sumptuous harmonies and melodies that can make your heart soar, sing, or melt, this music is accessible to listening audiences of all ages. The first set of three pieces, Quiet Poems, is an exploration of sound and color, and the silences in between.

Sherman and Weng Friedman’s Quiet Poems EP will be available on SoundCloud beginning Tuesday, March 21, 2022 in conjunction with World Poetry Day.

About Donna Weng Friedman

Award winning pianist Donna Weng Friedman enjoys a varied career as soloist, chamber musician, producer, app developer, and educator. The creator of Heritage and Harmony programs – including the video series on WQXR and the education program Heritage and Harmony: Her Art, Her Voice at the National Women’s History Museum – Weng Friedman was recently honored with two silver medals for her pandemic album Heritage and Harmony: Silver Linings at the 2022 Global Music Awards. She has performed in concert halls and appeared as soloist with major symphony orchestras worldwide. An avid chamber musician, she has collaborated with world renowned musicians, including Carter Brey, Anthony McGill, Ani Kavafian, David Shifrin, and St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble. She has conducted masterclasses at the Shanghai and Beijing conservatories and is on the faculty of the Mannes School of Music.

A graduate of Princeton University, she received her Master’s degree from the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Adele Marcus and has the privilege of studying with the famed composer/educator Nadia Boulanger and the incomparable pianist Radu Lupu. She is the creator/developer of “The Music Bee Club,” interactive classical music apps for children, produced by 19-time Grammy Award winner David Frost.

About Kim D. Sherman

Kim D. Sherman composes for the theater, opera, concert, and film. Her music has been described as “rhapsodic and lush” as well as “craggy and leap-about.” She embraces lyricism and dissonance as equal partners in conveying dramatic musical landscapes.

Ms. Sherman studied piano and composition at Lawrence University. After earning her degree, she continued her studies in composition and orchestration with Thea Musgrave. Her career started in Minneapolis, where she was awarded two Kudos Awards for her work in the theatre. That led her to New York, where her music has been heard in venues from tiny lofts in lower Manhattan to the great stages of Broadway.She has enjoyed residencies at The MacDowell Colony and The Banff Centre. Sherman is currently composer-in-residence with Still Waters In A Storm.


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