“… beautifully colored tonal variations created striking dynamic contrasts… the night before last’s interpretation convinced with more than enough brilliance…”
- Die Burger
“A superbly turned-out artist…a musician of such grand endowment”
- New York Concert Review of New York debut recital: Carnegie Hall
“Tagg’s ‘Berimbau’…featured the pianist at her most kinetic...Throughout their compelling duo set, Tagg joined prepared piano to electronics in increasingly brilliant applications…"
- Downbeat Magazine
“Her artistic integrity remains undimmed throughout as she coaxes an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colour from the piano”
- CUE Magazine
I had the privilege of a close-up view as Tagg made her first descent on the ivory keys. With a graceful intensity caressing her expressions, her playing was lighter than a breeze; it seemed she did not touch the keys so much as command them. With each elevation of her hands, she’d draw the notes along, suspending them into the air as though to be preserved for another era entirely…
– What’s On in Cape Town
Based in New York since 2001, South African-born pianist, composer and producer Kathleen Tagg has performed on four continents in leading venues such as Carnegie Hall, had her original music performed in venues such as New York’s Lincoln Center, appeared on a host of recordings of classical, world music and multi-genre recordings and produced numerous recordings and inter-disciplinary programs from Cape Town to Los Angeles. Her work has been released on record labels NAXOS, Ossia Records, Table Pounding Records and Gallo Africa, and she has been praised for her combining of “outstanding technique with deep musicality”. A 2014 South African Music Awards nominee for best classical or instrumental album, she has performed in concert with some of the world’s leading musicians, and the remarkable breadth of her collaborations defines her multi-faceted career.
Kathleen has performed often in venues such as Carnegie Hall, including her 2004 acclaimed solo recital debut as a winner of the Artist International auditions. Since then she has appeared frequently at cultural organizations across the USA, and has performed live on WQXR New York and WGBH Boston. In 2014 she released a recording of the songs of Jake Heggie with American soprano Regina Zona on the NAXOS label. Her album Breath & Hammer with Grammy-nominated duo partner David Krakauer will be released in early 2019, and they continue to tour together and present performances, workshops and residencies on four continents. Her project Where Worlds Collide with great South African jazz pianist Andre Petersen was praised by the London Jazz Times as being: “An open-minded mix of traditions, and the bravura technique they also share. The results are reflective and exuberant, by turns, and enormously enjoyable throughout.” The album was also featured on John Schaefer’s New Sounds on WQXR radio.
Kathleen completed her studies at the University of Cape Town, Mannes College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music in New York, which awarded her the Helen Cohn Award as the outstanding Doctoral graduate, and where she taught for four years. In South Africa, Kathleen received awards from, among others, the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, National Arts Council and SAMRO Overseas Scholarship. In New York she garnered awards from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation and the New York Performing Arts Foundation. With her great interest in new music, Kathleen has premiered countless works, many written for her. She was on the faculty of Song Fest at Colburn, Los Angeles from 2014-2016.
Music from the SAMA-nominated album Soul of Fire with singer Zanne Stapelberg, featuring her work as pianist, arranger, producer and music director was used in Deon Meyer’s film, Die Laaste Tango, and Kathleen’s arrangement and performance were featured on the soundtrack, released on Gallo Africa in 2013. They launched a new Afrikaans show, Spieël Speel, in 2013, featuring all-new original songs with lyrics by leading South African luminaries.
Recent performances include her and Sophie Jaff’s Songs of Heartbreak at Lincoln Center, performances and workshops in India and USA with the Sabina Rakcheyeva Ensemble, and the release of the group’s debut album in London. She recorded the music of Pulitzer prizewinner Tom Kitt for the Broadway Lullabies Project. Her musical Erika’s Wall, created with Sophie Jaff, received its premiere run in Chicago in 2010 by The Music Theater Company, and she was a fellow of the Dramatist Guild of America in 2014/15. She was a 2017 Con Edison Exploring the Metropolis Composer-In-Residence. Upcoming performances in 2018/19 include Carnegie Hall, Boulez Saal, National Gallery in Washington DC, Nasher Museum and more.
KATHLEEN TAGG & DAVID KRAKAUER
Breath & Hammer by Kathleen Tagg & David Krakauer:
Live at National Sawdust, 2016
KATHLEEN TAGG & ANDRE PETERSEN
Rapela by the late great Moses Molelekwa from Where Worlds Collide
by Kathleen Tagg & Andre Petersen
KATHLEEN TAGG & ANDRE PETERSEN
Angola by South African jazz giant Bheki Mseleku on Where Worlds Collide. Played by Kathleen Tagg & Andre Petersen
KATHLEEN TAGG & JANAI BRUGGER
The Warmth of Other Suns by Laura Karpman : SongFest at Colburn, Los Angeles 2014