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Pianist Elizabeth Moak on Recording Music of Judith Lang Zaimont

Elizabeth Moak

Pianist Elizabeth Moak has written this about recording the music of Judith Lang Zaimont for Art Fire Soul - Piano Works of Judith Lang Zaimont, a 2-CD set for MSR Classics (MS 1366): “I feel privileged to have closely worked together with Judith Zaimont on this recording project.”

“My awareness of her music dates back to the early 1980's when, out of curiosity, I attended a concert of her works at Peabody Conservatory. On this concert was "Nocturne: La Fin de Siècle," and the sounds and atmosphere caught my ear. I made a mental note of it as possible future repertoire. Several years later, while I was in Europe, I tracked Judith down via hand-written correspondence (no internet and e-mail yet at that time!) inquiring how to acquire the score. Thus began our professional relationship.”

“After many performances of the Nocturne in Europe and in the United States during my approximately seven years of residence in Europe, I returned to the States for doctoral studies. By this time, I was aware of her two sets of calendar pieces and "Judy's Rag." And I thought if I had to write a doctoral paper, the opportunity to converse with a living composer and to explore new works by a composer whose existing works spoke to me, and who had a substantial body of works, would make it worthwhile. Many conversations did take place, as well as the doctoral paper, and lecture-recitals of her piano works in France, the US, and Canada.”

“A third chapter in my professional relationship developed with the simultaneous opportunity of co-commissioning and co-premiering her Concerto for Piano and Wind Orchestra ‘Solar Traveller’ and undertaking this recording project. Here other layers of our relationship developed through her residency for the Concerto performance, the coachings with her while staying at her home in Arizona, and her role as executive producer of the recordings. Getting to know her husband Gary and his artwork were also enriching.”

“In addition to her amazingly efficient use of time, one of the things I found interesting in working together with Judith was her careful planning of the recording sessions, not only for pacing but also for tuning purposes. Certain pieces call for a brighter sound, with particular notes that work better if slightly raised in pitch. Normally, we pianists don't have the luxury to tune according to a movement's needs, but it was a necessity for her to let the music speak. And I loved the experience.”

“A surprising sideline of the recording sessions was "Serenade." About a month after having coached it with her, but just prior to my recording it, I remembered that she had recorded it. So, I thought listening to it would be beneficial. However that experience transformed my performance though did not resonate with Judith, so we had a new challenge of creating another delivery of it on the spot - of serving the composer yet of being authentic.”

“It was a great honor to undertake this project with Judith's guidance. I will be forever grateful for her mentorship. An inspiring plus was to spend time with someone who is so highly creative, articulate, and intelligent. And I look forward to playing her music for years to come.”

Noted for her “sensitivity” and “generous imagination” (La Suisse, Geneva, Switzerland), pianist Elizabeth Moak’s recent performances include Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Québec. Winner of the Mu Phi Epsilon International Competition and several national competitions including the National Federation of Music Clubs Biennial Auditions, Elizabeth has performed extensively in the United States and Europe. As soloist, she has also appeared on national television, radio, and with orchestras including the Orchestre de Chambre de Neuchatel, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra.

Elizabeth Moak

In addition to honors for her solo playing, she has received awards for her collaborative work from the Music Academy of the West and Peabody Conservatory of Music of Johns Hopkins University (piano studies with Leon Fleisher, Ann Schein, and Julian Martin).

Ms. Moak holds degrees from Peabody Conservatory and the Neuchatel Conservatory (Switzerland). For eight years Elizabeth served on the faculty of Millsaps College, where she was honored with the “Outstanding Young Faculty Award.” In 2004, Elizabeth joined the faculty of The University of Southern Mississippi.

Visit her at http://www.usm.edu/music/faculty/elizabeth-moak.


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