” The music is heard to best advantage on this performance by one of our premier Alkan specialists, Stephanie McCallum, who is joined by Erin Helyard to offer incisive readings that make the most of Alkan’s imaginative harmonic and rhythmic choices, and do so with consistent vigor and wit… ”
Described as “one of Australia’s foremost pianists”, Stephanie McCallum has enjoyed an international career, appearing on over forty CDs (including nineteen solo CDs) and in hundreds of live solo and concerto performances. Playing a repertoire from the eighteenth to the twenty first century she is especially noted for her performances of virtuosic music of the nineteenth century, particularly the music of Liszt and Alkan, and also for her advocacy of demanding contemporary solo and ensemble scores. Her CDs of the music of Liszt, Weber, Alkan, Schumann, Magnard, Boulez, Xenakis and of contemporary Australian composers have received widespread national and international acclaim (click here for reviews). Stephanie’s most recent releases include a disc of previously unrecorded music by French composer Guy Ropartz and two CDs of the complete Chants of Alkan. Her recording of Beethoven’s complete Bagatelles, contains not only the popular Für Elise, but also the first recording of a previously unpublished and uncatalogued piano piece which is believed to be the last piano piece that Beethoven wrote.
Stephanie McCallum is an Associate Professor in piano at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney. She was born in Sydney, Australia, and studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Alexander Sverjensky and with noted Liszt player, Gordon Watson. After advanced studies in England with Alkan expert, Ronald Smith, she presented a critically acclaimed Wigmore Hall debut in 1982 where she gave what is believed to be the first performance of Alkan’s Chants, Op. 70. She is also credited with the first complete performance of Alkan’s Trois Grandes Études, Op. 76 in London (see Ronald Smith: Alkan, who was Alkan?, V. II The Music (London: Kahn & Averill, 1987), p. 90). Stephanie McCallum has appeared extensively as a soloist in the United Kingdom, France and Australia, has toured Europe with The Alpha Centauri Ensemble. Recently she presented lecture recitals at the Royal College of Music and the Purcell School, London.
Stephanie McCallum has made many appearances as soloist in the Sydney Festival, and performed in Brighton, Cheltenham, Huddersfield, and Sydney Spring Festivals. A noted exponent of contemporary music, Stephanie was a founding member of the contemporary ensembles AustraLYSIS and Sydney Alpha Ensemble and was joint artistic director of the latter since its inception. She has performed with such groups as the Australian Chamber Orchestra, ELISION and The Australia Ensemble. Stephanie has appeared as soloist on two CDs by the Sydney Alpha Ensemble, Strange Attractions, and Clocks (featuring works of Elena Kats-Chernin). In 2000, she gave the world premier of Kats-Chernin’s Displaced Dances with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, a piano concerto written especially for her and has performed concertos with the Sydney, Adelaide, Tasmanian and Canberra Symphony orchestras. With the release in 2006 of a 2 CD set of Alkan’s Douze études dans les tons mineurs, (described by Hugh Macdonald as “the Alps and the Himalayas of pianism, the one superimposed on the other”) she is the first pianist ever to have recorded both of Alkan’s sets of studies in the major and the minor keys (opus 35 and opus 39).
Stephanie’s solo recordings for ABC Classics also include a disc of the music of Satie, a two disc set of the complete piano sonatas of Weber, Illegal Harmonies: The 20thCentury Piano, and Perfume, a best-selling disc of rare and exquisite French piano music. Two CDs of music by Liszt, The Liszt Album and From the Years of Pilgrimage were released in 2003.