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Concert pianist headlines Xavier Classics at Noon

Saint Xavier University's lunch-hour concert on March 23

Chicago (March 7, 2007) – Internationally acclaimed concert pianist Amy Briggs Dissanayake will perform on Friday, March 23, in the next Xavier Classics at Noon concert series at Saint Xavier University’s McGuire Hall, 3700 W. 103rd St., Chicago.

Briggs Dissanayake will perform a program of selections from Schubert’s Impromptus op. 90, Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit, and Ligeti’s Musica Ricercata. It is the fifth Xavier Classics at Noon of the 2006-07 academic year and the second of three spring 2007 programs offered at Saint Xavier. The April 20 concert will feature Abellimento, Chicago’s premier flute-and-harp duo featuring Gia Sastre on flute and AnnLaura Tapia on harp. The concerts are open to the public, and a $5 donation will be accepted at the door.

Briggs Dissanayake has established herself as a leading interpreter of the music of living composers, while also bringing a fresh perspective to music of the past. She recorded two volumes of David Rakowski’s Piano Etudes on Bridge Records to much critical acclaim. Based in Chicago, she is a featured soloist and chamber musician on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW series, where she has worked with composers such as Simon Bainbridge, Pierre Boulez, Oliver Knussen, David Lang, Tania Léon, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Augusta Read Thomas. In the 2005-06 season, she premiered Knussen’s A Fragment from Ophelia’s Last Dance for solo piano. She was awarded a stipend prize at the 2000 Darmstadt Internationale Fereinkurse für Neue Musik. 

Briggs Dissanayake is an award-winning soloist and chamber artist who has premiered many solo and chamber works and has been hailed as a “new-music virtuoso” and “ferociously talented pianist.” She has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. In 1993, she was selected by the United States Information Agency to tour Africa and South Asia as a United States Artistic Ambassador. She has performed with the Callisto Ensemble, the Chicago Contemporary Players, Chicago Pro Musica, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Klang, and the Empyrean Ensemble. 

She has appeared as soloist with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, New Hampshire Philharmonic, and the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka, among others, and her live and recorded performances have been featured on radio stations throughout the United States and Europe. She earned her doctorate in piano performance at Northwestern University, where she studied with Ursula Oppens, and served as principal pianist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for six years and extra pianist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 

Xavier Classics at Noon provides 50 minutes of fine classical music to the University and neighboring communities. Since 2005, the series has been supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.

For more information, please visit www.sxu.edu/music/concerts.asp, or contact the Saint Xavier University music department at (773) 298-3421.


Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1846, Saint Xavier University was the first Mercy college in the United States and is Chicago’s oldest Catholic university. Serving approximately 5,700 students at its campuses in Chicago, Orland Park and its Loop location, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors; more than 40 graduate program options in arts and sciences, business, education and nursing; and a variety of program options in continuing and professional studies. Recognizing Saint Xavier’s excellence in education, U.S. News and World Report has ranked SXU consistently among the Best Colleges in the Midwest.

Saint Xavier University Media Relations: 773-298-3937
3700 West 103rd Street, Chicago Ill. 60655 * 18230 Orland Parkway, Orland Park, Ill. 60467
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