Janis Mercer is an American composer/pianist living in San Francisco. Her musical activities as composer, and pianist are closely interwoven. Her compositions range in size from 8-piece chamber ensemble to digitally realized fixed electronics; utilize timbres from voice to drum set; and employ styles from 12-tone technique to structured improvisation, microtonality to field recordings.
As a pianist, Ms. Mercer has a keen interest in the music of the Second Viennese School but also performs music by living composers and commissions solo and chamber works. She has performed music by such diverse composers as Anthony Braxton, Anton Webern, Bela Bartók, Brian Belét, Pablo Furman, Paul Rudy and Sever Tipei, and has commissioned works from Zach Browning, Erik Lund, and Jim McManus, among others. Ms. Mercer holds artist residencies at Villa Montalvo Center for the Arts, Ragdale, Centrum, and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts.
In addition to her performing and composing activities, Ms. Mercer has an active career as a piano, theory and chamber music instructor. She teaches all ages and abilities and has helped students prepare for ABRSM exams. Her goal is to teach a student in such a way that the student eventually doesn’t need her. Good technique coupled with ear training, theory/analysis, and composition is stressed.