Lambert Orkis has received international recognition as chamber musician, interpreter of contemporary music, and performer on period instruments. He has appeared worldwide with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter since 1988 and performed in recital with cellist Mstislav Rostropovich for more than eleven years.
His distinguished career includes appearances with cellists Lynn Harrell, Anner Bylsma, Daniel Müller-Schott, and Han-Na Chang, violinist Julian Rachlin, and violist Steven Dann, and he has performed with the Vertavo, Emerson, American, Mendelssohn, Curtis, and Manchester String Quartets. As soloist he has made appearances with conductors including Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Günther Herbig, Kenneth Slowik, John Mauceri, Robert Kapilow, Leon Fleisher, and others.
A multi-Grammy Award nominee, his wide discography comprises works of the classical, romantic, and modern eras on many labels. With Anne-Sophie Mutter, he has frequently recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, winning a Grammy Award for “Best Chamber Music Performance” for the Beethoven piano and violin sonatas, and a 2006 “Choc de l’année” award from the French magazine Le Monde de la Musique for the Mozart piano and violin sonatas audio recording. Audio as well as video discs of Brahms’ sonatas for piano and violin by these musicians will be released in 2010. He has also recorded works of Brahms, Schumann, and Chopin/Franchomme with Dutch cellist Anner Bylsma. With violist Steven Dann, he appears on an ATMA Classique disc of works by Brahms, and has released discs on Bridge Records of solo works written for him by George Crumb, Richard Wernick, and James Primosch.
He premiered in Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Wernick’s Piano Concerto which was written for him, the National Symphony Orchestra, and as conductor, Mstislav Rostropovich. Subsequently for the recording on Bridge Records, Mr. Orkis is paired with Symphony II of Chicago. The European premiere took place with Mr. Orkis and Het Residentie Orkest of The Hague, The Netherlands. In both instances, the composer conducted.
Solo discs as fortepianist of Schubert works for Virgin Classics have been recorded. As founding member and fortepianist of the Smithsonian Institution’s Castle Trio, he has given many performances including several cycles of Beethoven’s twenty-eight major works for fortepiano and strings, and produced highly regarded recordings of Beethoven and Schubert trios.
His most recent solo releases on the Bridge Records label include, as fortepianist and pianist, three separate performances of Beethoven’s Appassionata sonata using instruments based upon Viennese piano building designs which represent three snapshots in time of Viennese keyboard evolution. Another disc features piano music by Louis Moreau Gottschalk performed on an 1865 Chickering concert grand piano from the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
Lambert Orkis has held the position of Principal Keyboard of Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra since 1982, and has performed chamber music with NSO Principal Cellist David Hardy since 1983.
Mr. Orkis’ most recent recording, Beethoven Past & Present, on Dorian Recordings and in collaboration with Mr. Hardy, contains two complete performances of Beethoven’s eight works for piano and cello performed on both modern and period instruments.
In addition to performing with the National Symphony Orchestra, Lambert Orkis is a founding member of the Kennedy Center Chamber Players and has appeared with this ensemble before enthusiastic audiences in the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater since 2003 and on an Atlantic Ocean crossing aboard the Queen Mary 2 this past September. Recordings by this ensemble that have been released on the Dorian label include The Beauty of Two [duos for piano with cello (by Grieg and Martinů performed with Mr. Hardy), viola (Hindemith), and flute (Poulenc)], and An Emotional Journey, Clarinet Works of Johannes Brahms (two sonatas performed with Principal Clarinetist Loren Kitt and, joined by Mr. Hardy, the clarinet trio.)
He is Professor of Piano at Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance in Philadelphia, having received the university’s Faculty Award for Creative Achievement.
In acknowledgment of his accomplishments, he was recently honored with Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit.