The Poetry of Places (21st century version, 60-80 minutes)

Newly-written compositions by major American composers, inspired by diverse buildings: Louis Kahn’s National Assembly Buildings in Dhaka, Bangladesh, American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Frank Gehry’s IAC Building in Manhattan, Aaron Copland’s House, Newgrange Ancient Temple in Ireland, House on Island in Pine Plains, Lowell House at Harvard, and Frank Gehry’s House.

Works on this program are featured on Shpachenko’s GRAMMY® winning 2019 Reference Recordings release

The Poetry of Places

  • With the setting sun backlighting the backdrop of the skyline of lower Manhattan, Shpachenko delivered a pleasing concert of music written about architecture… Shpachenko’s playing matched the verve of the writing, and she was in tune with the subtle but substantial sensitivity in the music… The music was full of unexpected passion and turmoil… There was terrific, thrusting energy… Through Shpachenko’s fluid performance the piece was easily heard as absolute music, an exploration of how rhythms, phrases, dynamics, and excellent counterpoint all work together to make invisible structures…

    George Grella, New York Classical Review
  • The sextet of accomplished composers worked with solitary houses on lakeside islands, an anomalous monolith in Dhaka, the world’s oldest extant building, the complex interior of Aaron Copland’s home, and a unique art museum. How these composers conceived these structures in sound, whether giving them literal measurements or spiritual ideas – that was the challenge of this music, nearly all of it dedicated to Ms. Shpachenko herself. They couldn’t have chosen a more apt executant… Ms. Shpachenko played not only these six very different concepts, but she added a toy piano and – in a beautiful croon – her own voice… The result was something magical, a vision which transcended building and, like any art, put us in the mood… truly original… mysterious and touching…

    Harry Rolnick,
  • We’re living in a time of great stylistic plurality, a time when certain older systems of composing have lost the sway they once enjoyed and new ones haven’t quite arisen to take their place. Shpachenko helped show that — there are definitely styles that she didn’t have room to feature, but no two of the works she played take the same approach to melody, harmony, and form… It was a fitting reminder that masterworks do come out of this bubble and strife, and a subtle affirmation that some things being written now may well be touchstones of the repertoire in another ninety years.

    Brin Solomon, New Classic LA

(please scroll down for full program information, sneak peak, images of the buildings, program notes, and more)


Lewis Spratlan Bangladesh for solo piano (2015) …14 minutes

Amy Beth Kirsten h.o.p.e. for piano, toy piano, and voice (one performer) (2016) …6 minutes

Harold Meltzer In Full Sail for solo piano (2016, rev. 2017) …8 minutes

Hannah Lash Give Me Your Songs for solo piano (2016) …7 minutes

Jack Van Zandt Sí an Bhrú for piano (with optional electronics) (2016) …12 minutes

James Matheson Alone, in Waters Shimmering and Dark for solo piano (2016) …8 minutes


When possible, the following 2 ensemble works can be performed
with pianist Joanne Pearce Martin, and percussionists Nick Terry and Cory Hills:

Nina C. Young Kolokol for two pianos and electronics (2010) …11 minutes

Andrew Norman Frank’s House for two pianists and two percussionists (2015) …10 minutes

“The Poetry of Places” Trailer

Watch the 3 minute preview of
“The Poetry of Places” program

Harold Meltzer (b. 1966)
In Full Sail for solo piano (2016)
(premiered on May 20, 2016 at Boston Court, Piano Spheres/Music @ BC Series)

Inspired by architect Frank Gehry’s IAC Building in Manhattan, NY. Video by Jeremy Tressler and Richard Garippo Jr.

  • Nadia’s amazing performance of my In Full Sail fuses her remarkable virtuosity with uncommon understanding of what the music needs expressively. The performance always moves forward, even as she contemplates and pirouettes beautifully. It has been an ideal collaboration.

    Harold Meltzer

Lewis Spratlan (b. 1940)
Bangladesh for solo piano (2015)
(premiered on Oct. 27, 2015 at REDCAT/Disney Hall, Piano Spheres Series)

Inspired by architect Louis Kahn’s National Assembly Buildings in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Video by Adam Borecki.

  • It’s so thrilling to hear one’s music totally understood and projected, but, moreover, to hear the flowering of ideas that only occurs when the performer expands on the given and invests it with her own life experience and art. I’m forever grateful for this wonderful recording of Bangladesh.

    Lewis Spratlan

Hannah Lash (b. 1981)
Give Me Your Songs for solo piano (2016)
(premiered on May 20, 2016 at Boston Court, Piano Spheres/Music @ BC Series)

Inspired by the Aaron Copland House, a creative center for American music based at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home in Cortlandt Manor, NY. Photo © Marion Gold, courtesy of Copland House

  • Nadia breathes a spectacularly sensitive life into my piece Give Me Your Songs, perfectly evoking both its childlike affect and its darker implications. Her playing is utterly gorgeous, and she interprets the music with rare insight: penetrating, illuminating.

    Hannah Lash

Amy Beth Kirsten (b. 1972)
h.o.p.e. for piano, toy piano, and voice (one performer) (2016)
(premiered on January 7, 2016 at the New Music Gathering in Baltimore)

Inspired by the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore and it’s exhibit The Big Hope Show. Photo © Dan Meyers, courtesy of AVAM

  • Nadia’s performance of h.o.p.e. is like a prayer; she breathes into the music an inner warmth and fragility that, to me, is heartbreakingly beautiful.

    Amy Beth Kirsten

Jack Van Zandt (b. 1954)
Sí an Bhrú for piano and electronics (2016)
(premiered on May 20, 2016 at Boston Court, Piano Spheres/Music @ BC Series)

Inspired by Newgrange Ancient Temple in Ireland. Photo © Anthony Murphy

  • Nadia’s professionalism, musicianship, technique and attention to detail are second to none. She is so passionate and emotional in her performances, and she “feels” every note and plays with such heart. Working with Nadia is a true partnership and she takes my music to a level I couldn’t even imagine when writing it. It’s really a dream come true for a composer.

    Jack Van Zandt

James Matheson (b. 1970)
Alone, in Waters Shimmering and Dark for solo piano (2016)
(premiered on June 24, 2016 at Bargemusic in New York, Here and Now Series)

Inspired by the House on Island in Pine Plains, NY. Photo © James Matheson

  • As always, Nadia’s performance is as great as a composer can hope for – virtuosic, luminous, musical and totally committed.

    James Matheson

Andrew Norman (b. 1979)
Frank’s House for two pianists and two percussionists (2015)

Inspired by the Frank Gehry House in Santa Monica, CA. Photo © Victoria Innocenzi

  • I am so thrilled that Nadia and her friends have made the premiere recording of Frank’s House for her upcoming CD. I could not imagine a more spirited, whimsical, and musical interpretation of this piece, and I think it really captures the quirkiness and daring of Frank Gehry’s Santa Monica home.

    Andrew Norman

Nina C. Young (b. 1984)
Kolokol for two pianos and electronics (2010)

Inspired by Harvard University’s Lowell House and it’s Russian bells. Photo © Nina C. Young

  • Nadia and Joanne’s recording of Kolokol brings a level of sensitivity, detail, and depth to the music that a composer can only dream of. Each phrase, chord, gesture, voicing, and idiom is cared for with a robust grace that takes the music to entirely new levels.

    Nina C. Young

This program is performed in two versions: the 21st century program above, or the mixed periods program featuring 19th, 20th, and 21st century compositions inspired by architecture.

Click here for mixed periods program

Click here for program notes and composer bios