“The Steinway is ideal for expressiveness, subtle tone coloring, and projection of sound.”

Peter Serkin

Peter Serkin (1947 - 2020) 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 demonstrated 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 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 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.

An eloquent and persuasive advocate for the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, Peter Serkin championed the work of Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Stravinsky, Stefan Wolpe, Messiaen, and gave 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 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 taught at Bard College Conservatory of Music.

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