Pianist Sara Davis Buechner talks with Youssef Amin about the emotional layerings and depths of Ferruccio Busoni’s works for solo piano, which she will perform at the Italian Academy on December 9.
Noted for her musical command, cosmopolitan artistry, and visionary independence, Sara Davis Buechner is one of the most original concert pianists of our time. Lauded for her “intelligence, integrity and all-encompassing technical prowess” (New York Times), “thoughtful artistry in the full service of music” (Washington Post), and “astounding virtuosity” (Philippine Star), Japan’s InTune magazine sums up: “Buechner has no superior.”
In her twenties Ms. Buechner earned a bouquet of top prizes at the world’s premier international piano competitions — Queen Elisabeth (Brussels), Leeds, Mozart (Salzburg), Beethoven (Vienna), and Sydney. She was a Bronze Medalist of the 1986 Tschaikowsky Competition in Moscow and the Gold Medalist of the 1984 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition.
Ms. Buechner has performed in every state and province of North America — as recitalist, chamber musician and soloist with top orchestras like the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra; and in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the Hollywood Bowl. She has toured throughout Latin and South America and Europe; and she enjoys a special following in Asia, where she has been a featured soloist with the Sydney Symphony, New Zealand Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic and Shanghai Philharmonic, among many others.
She has commissioned and premiered important contemporary scores by composers such as Michael Brown, John Corigliano, Ray Green, Dick Hyman, Vitězslavá Kaprálová, Jared Miller, Joaquín Nin-Culmell, and Yukiko Nishimura. Ms. Buechner’s performance versatility extends to unique collaborations with film and dance (including tours with the Mark Morris Dance Group, and Japanese kabuki-mime-mask dancer Yayoi Hirano).
Ms. Buechner has released numerous acclaimed recordings of rare piano music by composers such as Rudolf Friml (“a revelation” — The New York Times), Dana Suesse, Joseph Lamb, Joaquín Turina, Miklós Rózsa, and Ferruccio Busoni (including the world premiere recording of the Bach-Busoni “Goldberg” Variations). Stereophile magazine selected her Gershwin CD as “Recording of the Month,” and her interpretation of Hollywood Piano Concertos won Germany’s coveted Deutsches Schauplatten Preis. Most recently her recorded traversal of the score to Carl Dreiser’s silent movie classic Master of the House (1925) may be heard on Criterion Collection DVD.
Sara Davis Buechner joined the faculty of Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance in 2016, after previously teaching at the Manhattan School of Music, New York University and the University of British Columbia.
As a proud transgender woman, Ms. Buechner also appears as a speaker and performer at important LGBTQ events, and has contributed interviews and articles about her own experience to numerous media outlets worldwide.
Sara is a dual American-Canadian citizen who makes her home in Philadelphia.
Youssef Amin is a second-year M.A. student of Psychology at New York University. He is research assistant at the Max Planck — NYU Center for Language, Music and Emotion (CLaME), and currently working on attention decoding in music using both behavioral and MEG protocols. His background in music includes a Bachelor of Music in Piano degree from Ithaca College under the tutelage of Vadim Serebryany.