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 11 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 Christoph Eschenbach, 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 and video recordings of the Brahms piano and violin sonatas with Ms. Mutter were released in 2010. He has 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.
At Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, Mr. Orkis premiered Wernick’s Piano Concerto which was written for him with the National Symphony Orchestra, Mstislav Rostropovich conducting. He recorded the work for Bridge Records 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.
Lambert Orkis has recorded solo discs as fortepianist of Schubert works for Virgin Classics. As founding member and fortepianist of the Smithsonian Institution’s Castle Trio, he has given many performances, including several cycles of Beethoven’s 28 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 that 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 in Washington, D.C.
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.
Beethoven Past & Present, Mr. Orkis’ most recent release 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.
As a founding member of the Kennedy Center Chamber Players, he has appeared with this ensemble before enthusiastic audiences in the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater and throughout the Washington metropolitan area since 2003. 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 NSO Principal Clarinetist Loren Kitt and, joined by Mr. Hardy, the clarinet trio).
He has twice served as juror of, and performed for, the Trondheim (Norway) International Chamber Music Competition and Festival. The Carnegie Hall International American Music Competition for Pianists and the Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards Competition have engaged him as judge on several occasions. As an Honored Artist for Taiwan’s New Aspect International Music Festival, he performed and presented master classes in Taipei.
He is professor of piano at Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance in Philadelphia, having received the Faculty Award for Creative Achievement.
In acknowledgment of his accomplishments, he was recently honored with Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit.