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Biography

Martha Marchena

Martha Marchena has been inspiring audiences worldwide with her unique repertoire, captivating performances and innovative discography for decades. Born in Cuba, she graduated with honors from the University of Miami’s doctoral program, where she wrote her dissertation on the piano works of Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.  A versatile artist, she has performed as a soloist with orchestras and chamber music ensembles worldwide. Noted for the originality of her programming, critics have praised the intensity of her interpretations as well as the emotional impact she brings to audiences. David M Greene, historian and critic has hailed her playing as “exquisite and breathtaking,” remarking on her impressive capability to understand and bring to life the great emotional range of her interpretations. Robert Schulslaper wrote in Fanfare Magazine “its her deep involvement with each work and her knack for finding and recreating its essence that establishes her as the formidable pianist she is.”

Marchena has gained recognition for her ambitious and refreshing repertoire in contemporary music, as well as her expertise in Latin American piano music, specializing in lesser-known and underrepresented composers. She has been invited to perform in major international music festivals including the Encuentros Festival in Buenos Aires, the International Contemporary Music Festival in San Salvador, Festival Internacional de Musica Contemporanea in Havana Cuba, Festival Internacional de las Artes, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Fiesta Iberoamericana de las Artes, Puerto Rico, Latin American Music Festival in Caracas, and Opera Barga Festival in Italy.

Marchena has also kept a rigorous academic profile as a Professor in the Music Department at Kean University, New Jersey. She has participated in many residencies, given master classes, lectured and performed recitals worldwide, bridging Latin and South American music and women studies. She has been an adjudicator in international competitions such as the International Piano Competition Prize Jaen, was named President of the 1st Iberoamerican Piano Competition in Santo Domingo in 2010, and was selected by the General Society of Authors and Editors of Spain to perform at the IV Iberoamerican Music Prize in Sao Paulo, Brazil. From 2007-2010 she was a panelist in the Piano Committee for the prestigious National Fulbright Award. In 2001, she was the recipient of the Hispanic Caucus Latino Cultural Arts Award from the American Association for Higher Education, and she was recently awarded her second grant from The Fund for U.S Artists at International Festivals and exhibitions by the Rockefeller Foundation for the National Endowment for the Arts.


Marchena’s recent CD release Casi una Pregunta, Casi una Repuesta, joins the Grammy nominated Sonoric Rituals and acclaimed recordings The Complete Piano Works of Aurelio de la Vega, , and Cancion Sin Palabras.  Marchena has been featured in international publications including Gramophone, Fanfare Music Magazine, The American Record Guide, Piano Magazine, and The Latin American Music Review, and on NPR.

HONORS & AWARDS:

  • Awarded Latino Cultural Arts Award by the Hispanic Caucus from the American Association for Higher Education 2001
  • Invited as a panelist for the Funds for US Art for International Festivals and Exhibitions 2001
  • Awarded two times grants by the Funds for US Art for the International Festivals and Exhibitions funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the United States Information Agency, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Pew Charitable Trust, with administrative support from Arts International, 1999 and 2002
  • Guest of Honor and Panelist Tercer Congreso de la Creacion Femenina en el Mundo Hispanico, " Lo que la Mujer aporta a la cultura del Nuevo Mundo." Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto Mayaguez, 1992
  • Invited by Carlos Cruz, jefe de Produccion de Radio Clasica Nacional to record piano music for the Radio Nacional de Espana, May 2002.
  • Judge for the LXI International Piano Competition Premio Jaen in Madrid, Spain from March 19-26, 1999.
  • Recommendation for the Grammy Awards Nomination for the "Sonoric Rituals: Twentieth-Century Latin American Piano Music" CD Recording, 1998.
  • Awarded a Special Commendation from the Vienna Modern Masters Recording International Competition for her CD recording "Sonoric Rituals", 1996.
  • Guest of Honor and Panelist Tercer Congreso de la Creacion Femenina en el Mundo Hispanico, " Lo que la Mujer aporta a la cultura del Nuevo Mundo." Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto Mayaguez, 1992
  • Semifinalist of the International Villa Lobos Piano Competition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 1988.
  • Faculty member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers, Texas. 1988.
  • Artist in Residence, Community Music School, Allentown, Pa. 1987 1988
  • Judge for the Annual Scholarship for the Students of the Community Music School, Allentown, Pa. 1987, 1989.
  • Honor guest for the Annual Fundraising of the Hispanic American Organization. Allentown, Pa. 1985.
  • Full scholarship for Doctoral Studies at the University of Miami, FL. 1981 1985.
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© 2003 - 2019 Martha Marchena