Pianist | COmposer

Communicative, sharply observant, and deeply personal.
An absolute inspiration... dedication and openness to discovery of life through the piano.

Prescott's music is "fully committed and strong," "encompassing the range of the spectrum without trying to."  Her "wild and somewhat twisted dreamscapes," are the result of a well-worn classical straight-jacket, unraveling at the seams: music that is vulnerable, dangerous, beautiful, and honest.

Photo credit: Erika Kapin photography

Biography

Mary Prescott is an adventurous pianist and composer who juxtaposes traditional and nontraditional elements to examine universal questions through experimentation and musical storytelling.

She performs classical and improvised music at venues internationally, including Carnegie Hall, Bargemusic, Steinway Hall, Abrons Art Center, and MacPhail Center for Music, as well as eclectic, independent, and experimental stages. She has performed in the NYC Electroacoustic Music Festival, the Josip Kasman Festival in Croatia, Opensound Series in Boston, and others; collaborating with artists from the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Minnesota Orchestra. Her Carnegie Hall masterclass performance with Richard Goode appears in Ophra Yerushalmi’s film, Prelude to Debussy. Prescott’s current season includes a US tour of her original improvised piano performance, ALICE.

A 2016 Composer-in-Residence at the Hudson Opera House (NY), Prescott’s solo works and interdisciplinary collaborations include her blog-based recording project, Where We Go When (2011/12); Hook & Eye (2013/14), with visual artist Angela Costanzo Paris; and Nocecrepa (2015), a film score for Austrian visual artist, Thereska Gregor, and dancers from the SEAD Academy of Salzburg.

Named a 2016 Emerging Leader by the New York Foundation for the Arts, Prescott is a Co-Founder of the Lyra Music Festival & Workshop at Smith College, where she served as Artistic Director and head of the piano and chamber music departments for several years. In demand as an educator, Prescott has been on faculty at music schools and festivals worldwide, including the Goppisberger Music Festival in Switzerland, the Louisiana Chamber Music Institute, Larchmont Music Academy, and the Great Neck Music Conservatory. She currently maintains a private piano studio in Manhattan, and is a guest clinician, lecturer, and adjudicator at events around the country.

Prescott holds piano performance degrees from The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (Bachelor of Music), and the Manhattan School of Music (Master of Music).

RECENT PROJECTS

ALICE

A real life Alice in Wonderland, pianist Mary Prescott, delves into a world of experimental art music – a hyper-sensory dimension of fantasy, curiosity, and unpredictability. Examining Lewis Carrol’s surreal Victorian novel through improvisation, Prescott tries and tests the concepts of time, identity, reality and rules, noting that traditions behave strangely in Wonderland. A classically trained adventurer who thrives in an unlikely playground, Prescott unbuttons a naive yet profound identity, eliciting cavernous, expressive sounds of harmonious discord. Prescott invites listeners to explore their own whims and curiosities from behind the curtains of this bravely evocative music.

HOOK & EYE

Hook & Eye is a conversational improvisation between pianist Mary Prescott and visual artist Angela Costanzo.  Through free play, Hook & Eye experiments with nonverbal communication, the concepts of time and permanence; and pursuit of an unanswered question.

WHERE WE GO WHEN

In a yearlong project that existed as a portal into an unexplored world, classical pianist Mary Prescott thrust herself into a foreign and terrifying land.  "A journey that starts here and goes where.  365 days.  365 improvs.  A classical pianist tries to get free." she wrote, headlining her blog, Where We Go When.  Having no improvisational experience whatsoever, she began upon her voyage: one year of improvising, recording, and posting, each and every day.

What started on August 15, 2011, was a year of intensive exploration and examination as Prescott shed her preconceptions and hesitations, and embraced the fear and vulnerability that a lifetime of classical training had piled upon her shoulders.  Her year of foraging produced not only a new musical approach, but a fascinating collection of writings about humanity, life, metaphysics, and music.

The resulting language of Prescott's metamorphosis is uncategorical.  A tongue emerging from her core spilled into existence for the first time, revealing a juxtaposition of beauty and chaos, purity and complexity, harmony and discord.  Sonic road maps that uncover matter beyond traditional theories, Prescott's music spins the threads of time, nature, physics, and philosophy; encouraging the listener to discover their own truth.

Where We Go When is a pioneering example of the newness and strange beauty that can emerge when an artist applies their many acquired skills toward an abstract and unseen dimension, absent of expectation or constraints.  The work remains important for Prescott's own development, as well as for the myriad of artists and individuals who find inspiration behind the opened doors of her imagination.