Ukrainian-born pianist Inna Faliks has established herself as one of the most exciting, committed, communicative and poetic artists of her generation. Faliks is Professor of Piano at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, where she also is Head of Piano. After her acclaimed teenage debuts at the Gilmore Festival and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, she has performed on many of the world’s great stages, with numerous orchestras, in solo appearances, and with conductors such as Leonard Slatkin and Keith Lockhart. Critics call her “A concert pianist of the highest order” (Chicago WTTW), praise her “courage to take risks, expressive intensity and technical perfection” (General Anzeiger, Bonn), “remarkable insight” (Audiophile audition) “poetry and panoramic vision” (Washington Post), “riveting passion, playfulness” (Baltimore Sun) and “signature blend of lithe grace and raw power>” (Lucid Culture.) Her October 2014 all-Beethoven CD release on MSR classics is drawing rave reviews: the disc’s preview on on WTTW called Faliks “High priestess of the piano, pianist of the highest order, as dramatic and subtle as a great stage actor.” Her previous, critically acclaimed CD on MSR Classics, Sound of Verse, was released in 2009, featuring music of Boris Pasternak, Rachmaninoff and Ravel. Her discography also includes a recital recording for the Yamaha Disklavier library. Recording projects in the works include a Chopin solo and cello sonatas recording with cellist Wendy Warner, and a disc of commissioned piano works for her poetry-music series, Music/Words, with music of Clarice Assad, Ljova Zhurbin, and other young composers, and Re-Imagining Ravel – responses to Gaspard de la Nuit.
Ms. Faliks’s distinguished career has taken her to thousands of recitals and concerti in prestigious venues in the US as well as in France, Italy, Switzerland, Ukraine, Estonia, Japan, and Russia. She has been featured on WQXR, WNYC, WFMT and many international television broadcasts, and has performed in major venues such as Carnegie Hall’s Weill Concert Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paris’ Salle Cortot, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall and in many important festivals such as Verbier, Portland International, Music in the Mountains, Brevard, Taos, IKIF at Mannes, Bargemusic, and Chautauqua. She recently co-starred with Downton Abbey star Lesley Nicol in “Admission – One Shilling” ,a play for pianist and actor about the life of Dame Myra Hess, the great British pianist. She has played concerti under the batons of many conductors including Leonard Slatkin, Keith Lockhart, Edward Polochick, Daniel Meyer, Victor Yampolsky, and many others. Her chamber music partnerships include work with Fred Sherry, Ilya Kaler, Colin Carr, Wendy Warner, Clive Greensmith, Nina Beilina and others. Her recent engagements included Newport Festival, Le Poisson Rouge, a tour of Canada, return engagements in Salle Cortot in Paris, with Minnesota Sinfonia, and a Prokofiev Concerti marathon at the Peninsula Festival in Door County, where she played the 1st and 3rd Prokofiev concerti in the same half of the program. Last season, her performances included recital and chamber music debuts in China and Israel, an acclaimed debut in the prestigious Fazioli Concert Hall Series in Italy, chamber music performances in the Broad Stage Santa Monica and Zipper Hall in LA, and the Ebell of Los Angeles.
Her 15-16 season engagements include a debut in the Festival Intenacional de Piano in Mexico, Rachmaninoff concerto with Dmitry Sitkovetsky and Greensboro Symphony, Daniel Meyer and the Erie Symphony, a return to Broad Stage Santa Monica, and her debut at the Jacaranda series in Los Angeles.
Faliks is the founder and curator of the of the LMCC award winning interdisciplinary series Music/Words, creating performances in collaboration with distinguished poets. This poetry-music series goes into its 8th NYC season, and has been described as “surreal, impactful, and relevant” (Lucid Culture). Her long standing relationship with WFMT radio has led to yearly broadcasts of Music/Words, which she produces. Music/Words has also been seen in Pianoforte Chicago in collaboration with Poetry Foundation, at Royce Hall at UCLA, with the best selling Russian poet Vera Pavlova, and in venues such as Le Poisson Rouge, NYC, Brooklyn Public Library, and Distinguished Artists Series in Santa Cruz.
Faliks’ is equally at home with standard repertoire, rare and new music. She has premiered 13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg, variations by acclaimed contemporary composers, on Bach’s Aria, at LACMA, Los Angeles; she gave the New York premiere of the work at Bargemusic and the Chicago premiere on WFMT radio. Ms. Faliks performed and recorded the unknown piano works of Russian poet Boris Pasternak, presenting his music at lecture recitals in conjunction with the University of Chicago. At the Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies, she presented “Three Jewish Composers – Three Centuries”, giving the North American premiere of Ilya Levinson’s Shtetle Suite and the world premiere of Lev Ljova Zhurbin’s Sirota for piano and historical recording, written for her. She went on to create a one-woman show, including Jewish composers and her own essays, performing at Baruch Performance Center’s “Solo in the City – Jewish Women,Jewish Stars” Festival in NYC.
She was the winner of many prestigious competitions, including the Hilton Head International Competition and the coveted International Pro Musicis Award 2005. Her teachers included Leon Fleisher, Boris Petrushansky, Gilbert Kalish, Ann Schein, and Emilio del Rosario.
Raised in Oklahoma and started dancing at the age of nine. He trained with Ballet Oklahoma, Houston Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet Academy, The Edge Performing Arts Center (LA), and Lou Conte Dance Studio. James moved to Chicago to dance with River North Chicago Dance Company in 1999. He was with RNCDC for several years before moving to MontrÈal, where he danced with Les Ballet Jazz de MontrÈal. He has performed the works of many renowned choreographers including Aszure Barton, Mauro Bigonzetti, Frank Chaves, Danny Ezralow, Harrison McEldowney, Mia Michaels, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Rodrigo Pedernieras, Crystal Pite, Victor Quijada, and Edgar Zendajas. James started choreographing as a youngster in school but really found his passion when he arrived in Chicago, where he dove into working with different dancers and companies. He has set works on River North Chicago Dance Company, Northwest Dance Project’s Pretty Creatives Competition, Les Ballet Jazz Workshop, and for Springboard Danse Project. James joined BODYTRAFFIC in 2015.
Born in the British Protectorate of Aden, in 1949 Margalit emigrated to Israel, where she became the prima ballerina of the Inbal Dance Theatre Company. She danced with Inbal for fifteen years. In 1965, Margalit joined the dance faculty at UCLA and founded her own company. She was appointed artistic director of Inbal in 1994 and began performing with her son’s company and with Batsheva. In 1999, Ohad Naharin invited her to appear alongside Niklas Ek and Anna Laguna in his work LOL. As a vocalist, Margalit has performed with Yo-Yo Ma and recorded an album for Folkways Records. She is the recipient of the Myrtle Wreath Award and a Creative Capital Grant and her choreography is the subject of the Ford Foundation documentary Gestures of Sand.