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March 11 - 13, 2012

Ursula Oppens, piano

Navon Hall of JAMD

Ursula Oppens, one of the very first artists to grasp the importance of programming traditional and contemporary works in equal measure, has won a singular place in the hearts of her public, critics, and colleagues alike. Her sterling musicianship, uncanny understanding of the composer’s artistic argument, and lifelong study of the keyboard’s resources, have placed her among the elect of performing musicians.

In 2008, she celebrated the 100th birthday of her friend and colleague, Elliott Carter, with critically acclaimed performances of his complete works for solo piano at the Boston Conservatory of Music, Symphony Space, the Ravinia Festival, Merkin Hall, the Tanglewood Festival and elsewhere. Her recording of these works, Oppens Plays Carter, received a 2009 Grammy nomination for best solo classical album and was named on  “Best of 2008” lists in The New York Times, the New Yorker magazine and the Chicago Tribune. 

Other recent highlights include the Mozart Dances with the Mark Morris Dance Group at Ravinia, at Toronto’s Luminato Festival, in New Zealand, and at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  She performed Elliot Carter’s Dialogues and the premiere of Harold Meltzer’s Privacy with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for their renowned Green Umbrella Series, and later performed and recorded Privacy with the Boston Modern Orchestra led by Gil Rose and performed Carter’s Dialogues with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra led by Ingo Metzmacher.

Driven by an enduring commitment to integrating new music into regular concert life, Ms. Oppens has commissioned and premiered many compositions, including works by Anthony Braxton, Elliott Carter, Anthony Davis, John Harbison, Julius Hemphill, Tania Leon, György Ligeti, Witold Lutoslawski, Conlon Nancarrow, Tobias Picker, Frederic Rzewski, Alvin Singleton, Joan Tower, Lois V Vierk, Christian Wolff, Amnon Wolman, and Charles Wuorinen. 

A co-founder of Speculum Musicae, Ms. Oppens has an extensive recording catalogue and has received three Grammy nominations: for Oppens plays Carter; for her Vanguard recording of Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated; and for American Piano Music of Our Time, a classic compilation of piano works by 20th century American composers for the Music & Arts label.  Her most recent release is Winging It: Music of John Corigliano on Cedille Records, which has already received great critical acclaim.


   

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