Nadia Shpachenko Invasion: Music and Art for Ukraine CD

Nadia Shpachenko

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Grammy-Winning Pianist & Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Collaborate for Ukraine on CD!
Featuring World Premiere Recordings of Solo Piano Music!
100% of Proceeds Benefit Ukrainian People Affected by the War!

TAS Rated 4.5/5 Music, 4.5/5 Sonics in the January 2023 Issue of The Absolute Sound!

As she watched in horror her home city of Kharkiv (and the rest of Ukraine) being destroyed and civilians being murdered every day, pianist Nadia Shpachenko tried to come up with ways to express her feelings of utter despair and anger, as well as hope and resilience, through her music making. In addition to performing fundraising concerts featuring music by Ukrainian composers, she decided to put together a new album to support Ukraine humanitarian aid. Reference Recordings is proud to release this album, with 100% of proceeds benefitting Ukrainian people affected by the war. Shpachenko commissioned Ukrainian artists to create paintings/artworks to use in the album booklet, online and in­-person galleries, and the accompanying music videos, as their responses to the music. Also featured are artworks made by children in Kharkiv, as their responses to the war.

The key piece on the album, titled "Invasion" (for piano, alto saxophone, horn, trombone, timpani, snare drum, and mandolin), is Shpachenko's longtime collaborator Lewis Spratlan's response to this tragic war. It was composed for Shpachenko during the period of February 24-March 13, 2022. The rest of the album features World Premiere recordings of solo piano music also by Spratlan. These pieces reflect on the human experience, often finding solace and inspiration in nature and music of the past. "Wonderer," a major piece that closes the album, connects in its character to the current experience of many Ukrainian people, especially those displaced by the war. The hero, searching through the unknown, overcoming pain, and reminiscing about things past, triumphs at the end.

A "gifted and versatile pianist" (San Francisco Chronicle) and GRAMMY® Award winner, Nadia Shpachenko enjoys bringing into the world things that are outside the box - powerful pieces that often possess unusual sonic qualities or instrumentation. Nadia's 2019 Reference Recordings album The Poetry of Places, featuring world premieres of architecture-inspired works, won the Best Classical Compendium GRAMMY® Award. She is a Steinway Artist, Schoenhut Toy Piano artist, and professor of music at Cal Poly Pomona University.

Lewis Spratlan, winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize in music, was born in 1940 in Miami, Florida. He is the recipient of numerous awards and Guggenheim, Rockefeller, NEA, Bogliasco, and MacDowell fellowships. He continues producing new works at a prodigious rate.

This collaboration with the American composer Lewis Spratlan is her unique response to the Russian invasion of her homeland. It is an oddly constructed collection, reflecting, perhaps, the horrific irony of a major ground war taking place in modern Europe. The program begins with the title work, Invasion, which seems to depict a small band playing old-fashioned club music (a mandolin suggest the folk music of the balalaika) that quickly begins to disintegrate into dissonant fragments, symbolizing the nightmare of an unimaginable act of violence. The balance of the recording consists of Shpachenko playing several of Spratlan's earlier works for solo piano. There is a group of rags, which may seem incongruous in this setting, but Spratlan writes them in a surreal manner that fits the program in a canny way. There are two short 'sonatas,' and then the recital closes with a dreamy 2005 work, Wonderer, which adds a fleeting aura of hope to a dire situation.
-Peter Burwasser, The Absolute Sound, January 2023, Music 4.5/5, Sonics 4.5/5


  • CD
  • 100% of Proceeds Benefitting Ukrainian People Affected by the War
  • Recorded on May 29 & June 22­23, 2022 at Silent Zoo Studios, Glendale, CA
  • Produced by Lewis Spratlan
  • Recording Engineer: Patrick Dillon Curry
  • Mixing & Mastering Engineer: Sean Royce Martin
  • Program Notes: Peter Yates
  • Visual Artists: Yurii Nagulko, Lesia Babliak, Kati Prusenko, Olena Papka, Aza Nizi Maza Studio Children Artists
  • Cover Painting: Lesia Babliak, My beloved Ukraine, from Yellow-Blue Album of war art. March, 2022
  • Total Time: 75:47
  • Made in USA


Nadia Shpachenko piano
Pat Posey saxophone ("Invasion")
Aija Mattson-Jovel horn ("Invasion")
Phil Keen trombone ("Invasion")
Yuri Inoo percussion ("Invasion")
Joti Rockwell mandolin ("Invasion")
Anthony Parnther conductor ("Invasion")


Lewis Spratlan (b.1940)

  1. Invasion
Piano Suite No. 1 for solo piano
  1. Capriccio
  2. Dirge
  3. Pastorale
Six Rags for solo piano
  1. Goose Eye Mountain Rag
  2. Speck Pond Rag
  3. Maboosue Notch Rag
  4. Mount Greylock Rag
  5. Pelham Lake Rag
  6. Chesterfield Gorge Rag
Two Sonatas for solo piano
  1. Presto
  2. Gentle
Wonderer for solo piano
  1. Wonderer

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