What I look for in a new piece of piano music is a strong sense of the dramatic coupled with lyricism. Years ago when I was researching American piano music at the American Music Center, I discovered the composers Ruth Schonthal and Miriam Gideon whose works displayed both of these qualities. I also look for and enjoy a thick texture, which so often results in the sounds of Messiaen and Debussy. The Sonata Serena I commissioned from Brian Fennelly has these luminous and often impressionistic sounds.
The qualities of the dramatic and lyrical in a piano piece, along with the dense, atmospheric texture, really excite me and makes me want to learn it and share it in performance.