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Peter Serkin, Piano

Peter Serkin holds a singular place among today’s classical music artists, admired equally for his performance of established repertoire and as a consummate interpreter of contemporary music. His music-making demonstrates keen understanding of the masterworks of J.S. Bach as well as an exceptional grasp of diverse musical styles, ranging from Stravinsky to Messiaen, Tōru Takemitsu and Oliver Knussen.

Mr. Serkin has performed with the world’s major symphony orchestras, led by such eminent conductors as Seiji Ozawa, Daniel Barenboim, Simon Rattle, Herbert Blomstedt, as well as Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. In chamber music, Serkin has collaborated with Alexander Schneider, Pamela Frank, Yo-Yo Ma, and the Budapest, Guarneri, Orion, Shanghai, and Dover String Quartets, among others. He was a founding member of the TASHI Quartet, with violinist Ida Kavafian, cellist Fred Sherry, and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman.

Mr. Serkin begins the 2018-2019 season with programs that reflect the dimension of his multifaceted career, in recital, chamber music, and orchestral soloist: a concert of late keyboard works by Mozart paired with Waldszenen by Schumann character pieces at Ravinia, Brahms’s Piano Quintet with the Dover String Quartet at the Modlin Center for the Arts in Richmond, and Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, led by Jaime Laredo. Bach’s Goldberg Variations are the centerpiece of recitals in Bethlehem, PA, Green Music Center in Sonoma County, Greenwich, CT, Northampton, MA, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and, abroad, at the Aix-en-Provence Easter Festival. In New York, he appears in solo recital at the 92nd Street Y and at Town Hall. Orchestral engagements include performances of Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052, with the Espressivo Orchestra in Santa Cruz, CA, and Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Winds with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Rogue Valley Symphony in Ashland, OR. Serkin’s chamber music performances with the Dover String Quartet include appearances in Palm Beach and Florida’s Sanibel Island.

Recent concert highlights include a tour of Japan and solo recitals in Atlanta, Ashland, OR, Fresno and Santa Barbara, CA, Ridgewood, NJ, and St. Paul, MN. In New York’s Carnegie Hall, he performed Bartók’s Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion, and Orchestra with pianist Anna Polonsky and Orchestra Now, led by Leon Botstein. Other orchestral appearances included the Delaware Symphony and Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra. Recent seasons have included orchestral appearances with the Chicago Symphony, and the Boston, Saint Louis, American, Sydney symphony orchestras, New York Philharmonic, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Serkin has appeared at leading summer festivals, among them, Ravinia, Tanglewood, La Jolla, Chautauqua, Music Mountain, Bellingham, and, in London, the BBC Proms. Serkin has been Artist-in-Residence at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and in June 2016 traveled to Havana, Cuba with the Bard Conservatory Orchestra.

An eloquent and persuasive advocate for the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, Peter Serkin has championed the work of Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Stravinsky, Stefan Wolpe, Messiaen, and has given world premieres of works by Luciano Berio, Hans Werner Henze, Alexander Goehr, Leon Kirchner, Oliver Knussen, and Charles Wuorinen. He gave the world premiere performances of Lieberson’s three piano concertos, Takemitsu’s riverrun with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Wuorinen’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His extensive discography ranges from a recording featuring six Mozart piano concertos, awarded the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis and acclaimed by Stereo Review as Best Recording of the Year, to the complete keyboard works of Schoenberg.

Peter Serkin’s musical legacy extends to his grandfather, the distinguished violinist Adolf Busch, who established the Busch Quartet, the Busch Chamber Players, and was a founder of the Marlboro School of Music. Busch was also a notable composer in most every genre—orchestral and choral works, concertos, chamber music, and songs. Peter Serkin has recently made arrangements of Busch’s music as well as that of Mozart and Schumann for various chamber ensembles and orchestra. He has also transcribed Brahms’s organ Chorale-Preludes for one piano, four-hands. Serkin is the son of the distinguished pianist Rudolf Serkin, who taught at the Curtis Institute of Music and led with distinction the Marlboro School for forty years.

Mr. Serkin currently teaches at Bard College Conservatory of Music and Yale University.

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“The qualities of mind, fingers and spirit that make him such a supreme interpreter of new and 20th Century music are the qualities that make him so satisfying a Bach and Beethoven pianist too.” – Chicago Tribune

“Peter Serkin is one of the handful of pianists who not only possess a cerebral understanding of the music of our time but the ability to communicate it with feeling. In his hands, even the most formidable works are fluid and expressive.” – The New York Times

"Serkin's playing was breathtaking in its limpidity; the instrumental textures were wonderfully nuanced, and the balance well nigh perfect." – The Guardian