Into the great beyond … with music!: New album inspired by NASA’s Voyagers from Lisa Swerdlow
Composer and pianist Lisa Swerdlow is ready to take listeners on her journey through space and time with her new CD, “Voyager,” at a concert Saturday at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center.
The concept was born after listening to a story about NASA’s twin Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft launched in 1977, and how they surprised scientists by surpassing their expected 15 years of usefulness, still sending us pictures from space after 40 years.
“Voyager” consists of 12 new original compositions by Swerdlow, recorded, mixed and mastered by Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven Studios in Sedona, Ariz.
Swerdlow is an accomplished pianist and composer who lives in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she grew up in a progressive Jewish family.
Her mother was an elementary schoolteacher and her father worked in the garment industry. Her childhood home was full of music thanks to her father’s piano, accordion and mandolin playing.
Swerdlow studied classical piano from the age of six playing “Fur Elise” by Beethoven for her first piano recital at age 7. She began writing and performing songs on piano and guitar at 16 and went on to study music theory and composition at Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods.
In the 1970s she performed in coffeehouses on Fairfax Avenue in L.A. and went on to play piano in a rock ‘n’ roll band in San Francisco. In the 1980s she performed at the West Coast Women’s Music Festival and for three years, she toured Northern California with a ten- piece all women salsa band called Las Malandras.
Swerdlow’s earliest musical influences range from Laura Nyro and Carole King to Harry Belafonte and Burt Bacharach. Later in life, she was drawn to the piano music of Keith Jarrett, David Lanz, Eddy Palmiery, Antonio Carlos Jobin, Barbara Higbie and Mary Watkins. After an extended hiatus from composing and performing, she returned to the piano and produced her debut album, “Equus Rising” in 2017.
“I want people to find an emotional and perhaps spiritual connection when they listen to my music,” Swerdlow said. “I hope my music serves as a vehicle for healing the heart.”
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