Pianist, scholar, theorist, innovative teacher, NANCY GARNIEZ has been performing solo recitals in her New York studio after recovering from surgery in 2007, exploring the piano as the intimate instrument it was originally intended to be. Until the surgery she performed mostly chamber music in such New York City venues as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, as well as in festivals throughout Europe.
Notable are her appearances together with her singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist daughter Rachelle: in 2003 at Weill Recital Hall, in 2016 at the Orpheum Theatre in Vienna, and in 2017 at the Café Sabarsky at New York’s Neue Galerie.
She had studied organ with Fenner Douglass, (Oberlin, BA), then with Helmut Walcha on a Fulbright grant, before switching back to piano. She studied with Hans Neumann at Mannes College of Music where she taught experimentally in all three divisions from 1972 to 2007. (In 1961 she had taught piano at the Oberlin Conservatory for one semester.) From 1975 – 2007 she was Coordinator of Chamber Music at the Mannes Extension Division: a non-competitive program which she inaugurated In 1983 she founded Alaria Chamber Ensemble with whom she performed on both harpsichord (until 1995) and piano until 2007.
In addition to several live unedited performance CDs, she is the author of What Might It Mean? An Uncommon Glossary of Musical Terms and Concepts for the Stuck, Bored, and Curious (1999), of many magazine articles (Clavier Companion, Chamber Music, The Piano Quarterly, Music for the Love of It), concert and CD reviews (New Music Connoisseur), and program notes.
Her innovative teaching has included In-Tune A Cappella Sight-Singing for Amateurs, Chamber Music Pedagogy, Pre-Piano Classes. Among other things, she uses improvisation techniques to teach sight-reading at the piano.
In 1993 she created Tonal Refraction, a visualization of pre-conscious responses to tone. This powerful tool enables dialogue about the intensely private act of hearing. Visualizing what is heard informs every aspect of musicianship at every level, child through professional, affecting sight-reading, performance, and concentration. Recent presentations include: two International Conferences on Music Perception and Cognition in Seoul, South Korea: “Can Individuals be Made Aware of their Subconscious Responses to Tone…Would It Make Any Difference?” (2014), in San Francisco: “The Alberti Figure Visualized Challenges the Stability of Tonicity” (2016); and at Harvard: “Sounds Invisible / Half-Heard”(2016). (All available on request.)
Two Tonal Refraction studies have been published, one on Mozart’s G Minor Piano Quartet, the other on Schumann’s Waldszenen. Beethoven’s “Spring” Sonata and the Brahms C major Piano Trio are in preparation. (Contact for more information.)
The natural horn in the family, played by her son Jacob, is an ongoing source of insight into acoustical specificity, a fundamental tenet of Tonal Refraction.