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Schoenberg's Compositions to Get Piano Treatment at Santa Monica Library

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

By Jorge Casuso

March 11, 2019 -- The atonal music of Arnold Schoenberg -- which changed the course of classical composition and worked its way into suspense movie soundtracks -- will be performed this month at the Santa Monica Public Library.

Pianist Susan Svrcek will perform the music of the Viennese composer on Thursday March 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Main Library's Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium as part of the Soundwaves new music series.

Svrcek, who will present a set of chamber music interpretations of Schoenberg's music, will be joined by Nic Gerpe for “Six Pieces for Piano Four-Hands” and a two piano arrangement of “Chamber Symphony No. 2.”
Schoenberg Self Portrait
Schoenbegr's "Self-Portrait" 1910

Violinist Elizabeth Hedman and cellist Kate Dillingham will join Svrcek in a performance of the trio version of “Transfigured Night,” a late Romantic composition that is perhaps the composer's best-known work.

Schoenberg would quickly transition from the lush Wagnerian sounds of 1899's “Transfigured Night” to Expressionism before inventing a method of composing that would dominate classical music for the next half century.

His use of the twelve-tone row -- which imposed strict constraints on the repetition of notes -- was as radical as Picasso's use of Cubism in painting.

The often tense, violent sounds that resulted were quickly adapted to the fledgling art of film, especially to create a sense of suspense and terror.

After changing the course of Western music, Schoenberg moved to the United States in 1933 as a refugee from the Nazis and settled in Brentwood, teaching at UCLA and USC, until his death in 1951.

While the Soundscapes concerrt includes sections of each of the pieces performed, the entire works will be played at Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades on March 30 and Zipper Hall in downtown LA on April 2, as part of the Pianospheres concert series.

One of the founding members of that concert series, Svrcek has performed solo across the US, Europe, and Asia, as well as with the LA Philharmonic New Music Group, among other ensembles.

A graduate of CalArts, Yale and USC, she currently teaches at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music. Svrcek previously appeared at Soundwaves in September 2017, playing Olivier Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time."

The monthly Soundwaves series presents artists who appear on the DRAM (Database of Recorded American Music) streaming service. The Santa Monica Library is the first public library to offer this service to its cardholders.

Listings of past and upcoming Soundwaves shows as well as sound and video recordings can be found at

The Main Library is served by Big Blue Bus routes 1, 7, R7, R10 and 18 and provides bicycle parking racks.

For more information, visit or contact the Santa Monica Public Library at (310) 458-8600.

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