American Vernacular: New Music for Solo Piano

New Focus Recordings, FCR 144

is now available

New Focus RecordingsiTunes, and Amazon.



"Top 15" of 2014 list on Music is Good

Review by Frank J. Oteri on NewMusicBox


Included on the music critics' "Classical Playlist" in The New York Times


"This is an exciting disc that shows aspects of the impressive music that some of America's composers are writing."  The Classical Reviewer


Featured on 98.7 WFMT (Chicago): "Critically Thinking with Andrew Patner."  Listen to an audio archive of the program here.


American Vernacular was featured as "Album of the Week" on WQXR's Q2 Music.  Read the story here.


Featured in I Care If You Listen Magazine, Issue 5.  (Subscription required)


"If you want a disc which is trying to rant for or against a style or idiom, you want a different disc.  This is merely a well-programmed and performed collection of music which is appropriate and engaging to listeners from a broad range of backgrounds." - Jay Batzner.  Read the full review in Sequenza 21.


Featured as "Release of the Week" by Christian Carey.


Recitals in New York and Chicago featured as "Critics' Pick" in 

TimeOut New York and TimeOut Chicago

About the CD

Pianist Nicholas Phillips, called an "able and persuasive advocate" of new music (New York Times), releases  a recording documenting his ambitious commissioning project, American Vernacular, featuring world premiere recordings ranging from David Rakowski to Joel Puckett to Mohammed Fairouz.  It is a fascinating collection that reveals how different creative artists understand the popular lineage of American music and asks poignant rhetorical questions about the foundations of America's rich musiclal heritage.

The new pieces reference influences from richly diverse sources including John Fahey, Billy Joel, Langston Hughes, Miles Davis, Alberto Ginastera, and hip hop legends De La Soul.  Stylistically, the works range from Rakowski's decontructive modernist approach to vernacular motives, Ethan Wickman's homage to frontier Americana from the 19th century, William Price's engagement with questions of what it means to be "Southern," and Mohammed Fairouz's grappling with a vernacular from the point of view of an artist of color.


Commissioned Composers:

Mohammed Fairouz, John Griffin, Luke Gullickson, Ben Hjertmann, David Maslanka, Mark Olivieri, William Price, Joel Puckett, David Rakowski, Ethan Wickman