Recognized as an artist of passion and integrity, the distinguished American pianist Peter Serkin is one of the most thoughtful and individualistic musicians appearing before the public today. Throughout his career he has successfully conveyed the essence of five centuries of repertoire and his performances with symphony orchestras, recital appearances, chamber music collaborations and recordings are respected worldwide.
Peter Serkin's rich musical heritage extends back several generations: his grandfather was violinist and composer Adolf Busch and his father pianist Rudolf Serkin. In 1958, at age eleven, he entered the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he was a student of Lee Luvisi, Mieczyslaw Horszowski and Rudolf Serkin. He later continued his studies with Ernst Oster, Marcel Moyse and Karl Ulrich Schnabel. In 1959 Mr. Serkin made his Marlboro Music Festival and New York City debuts with conductor Alexander Schneider and invitations to perform with the Cleveland Orchestra and George Szell in Cleveland and Carnegie Hall and with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy in Philadelphia and Carnegie Hall soon followed. He has since performed with the world's major symphony orchestras with such eminent conductors as Seiji Ozawa, Pierre Boulez, Daniel Barenboim, Claudio Abbado, Simon Rattle, James Levine, Herbert Blomstedt and Christoph Eschenbach. Also a dedicated chamber musician, Mr. Serkin has collaborated with Alexander Schneider, Pamela Frank, Yo-Yo Ma, and the Budapest, Guarneri and Orion string quartets and TASHI, of which he was a founding member.
An avid proponent of the music of many of the 20th and 21st century's most important composers, Mr. Serkin has been instrumental in bringing the music of Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Stravinsky, Wolpe, Messiaen, Takemitsu, Henze, Berio, Wuorinen, Goehr, Knussen and Lieberson, among others, to audiences around the world. He has performed many important world premieres, in particular, works by Toru Takemitsu, Peter Lieberson, Oliver Knussen and Alexander Goehr, all of which were written for him. Most recently, Mr. Serkin played the world premieres of Charles Wuorinen's Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Boston Symphony under the baton of James Levine in Boston, at Carnegie Hall and at Tanglewood; a solo work by Elliot Carter commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival; and another work by Charles Wuorinen for piano and orchestra with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, also commissioned by Carnegie Hall. During the 08/09 season he premiered a fifth piano concerto by Mr. Wuorinen with the Met Opera Orchestra/Levine at Carnegie Hall as well as Mr. Wuorinen's new piano quintet (commissioned by the Rockport, MA Music Festival) with the Brentano String Quartet.
Highlights of Peter Serkin's recent and upcoming US appearances include performances with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras, and the Boston, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Toronto, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Seattle symphonies; recitals in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Orchestra Hall in Chicago and New York's 92nd Street Y; and summer festival appearances at Ravinia, Aspen, Ojai, Caramoor, Tanglewood, Blossom, Saratoga and the Mann Center with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Internationally, Mr. Serkin returned to Japan in September 2007 to play recitals featuring the works of Toru Takemitsu and Bach in honor of the 10th anniversary of Takemitsu's death and returns to Japan in October 2010 to work with the Tokyo and Osaka Philharmonics with Oliver Knussen. His recent and upcoming engagements in Europe include appearances with the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra and the Bamberg Symphony.
Peter Serkin's recordings also reflect his distinctive musical vision. The Ocean that has no West and no East, released by Koch Records in 2000, features compositions by Webern, Wolpe, Messiaen, Takemitsu, Knussen, Lieberson and Wuorinen. That same year BMG released his recording of three Beethoven sonatas. Additional recordings include the Brahms violin sonatas with Pamela Frank, Dvorak's Piano Quintet with the Orion String Quartet, quintets by Henze and Brahms with the Guarneri String Quartet, the Bach double and triple concerti with Andras Schiff and Bruno Canino and Takemitsu's Quotation of a Dream with Oliver Knussen and the London Sinfonietta. His most recent recording is the complete works for solo piano by Arnold Schoenberg for Arcana.
Mr. Serkin's recording of the six Mozart concerti composed in 1784 with Alexander Schneider and the English Chamber Orchestra was nominated for a Grammy and received the prestigious Deutsche Schallplatten as well as "Best Recording of the Year" by Stereo Review magazine. Other Grammy nominated recordings include Olivier Messiaen's Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jesus and Quartet for the End of Time on BMG and a solo recording of works by Stravinsky, Wolpe and Lieberson for New World Records.
Mr. Serkin currently teaches at Bard College Conservatory of Music and the Longy School of Music. He resides in Massachusetts with his wife, Regina, and is the father of five children.