Steinway & Sons releases Drew Petersen’s debut album featuring music by American composers - Samuel Barber, Charles Tomlinson Griffes, Charles Ives, Elliott Carter, and Judith Lang Zaimont.
Early in his career, pianist Drew Petersen has demonstrated an affinity for music of 20th and 21st century American composers.
In his young career, American Pianist Drew Petersen has achieved some of the highest musical honors, including top prize from the 2017 American Pianists Awards and a 2018 Avery Fisher Career Grant. This recital, a daunting showcase of American piano works, is a glimpse of his remarkable musicianship.
From Griffes’ Three Fantasy Pieces, which fuse elements of late Romanticism, French impressionism, and Russian mysticism, to Ives’ Concord Sonata, a work inspired by American Transcendentalism that also incorporates the iconic four-note motive from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, the repertoire Petersen selected for his debut recording highlights the diverse breadth of influences that went into American classical music of the 20th century. Incidentally, Ives himself was an inspiration for Elliott Carter, whose complete Piano Sonata also appears on this recording.
While preparing this program, Petersen performed the Carter Sonata for Ursula Oppens: pianist, educator, and champion of numerous American composers, including Carter. “Despite my long, close friendship and working relationship with Elliott Carter, I had never actually learned his Piano Sonata until the 2000s, nearly 60 years after it was originally composed,” said Oppens. “For that reason, the Sonata still feels like a fresh, new work to me. It is a joy to hear Drew develop his own interpretation of this Sonata, and I'm delighted that he has chosen to showcase American composers, including Carter, on his debut album.”
Petersen’s album also includes the first-ever recording of Attars by Judith Lang Zaimont, which was originally commissioned by American Pianists Association for the 2017 Awards. Petersen, who performed Attars during the competition and eventually emerged victorious, is the ideal musician to bring this work to the American public.
“A multi-movement work about floral essential oils, he conveyed each scent with a large palette of musical colors, so to speak; from lush rounded notes and phrasing, to more crisp, and angular ones. He followed up with Charles Ives’ “The Alcotts,” from his famous Concord Sonata, a work with layers and nooks and crannys, that was utterly delightful. His ability to go from intense and nearly thunderous to gentle and tranquil was astonishing and wholly satisfying.”
“A really stunning, full-bodied sound makes this disc shine. Petersen showcases American piano works with superb technique and measured voicing.”
BBC Music Magazine
Barber, Carter, Griffes, Zaimont / Drew Petersen • STNS 30095
Recorded October 13–15, 2017 at Steinway Hall, New York City.
Producer: Jon Feidner
Engineer: Lauren Sturm
Editing: Kazumi Umeda
Production Assistant: Renée Oakford
Executive Producer: Jon Feidner
Art Direction: Jackie Fugere
Design: Cover to Cover Design, Anilda Carrasquillo
Piano Technician: Lauren Sturm
Piano: Steinway Model D #597590 (New York)
Photo of Drew Petersen: Dario Acosta
About the Artist
In 2017, Drew Petersen added winner of the American Pianists Awards to a decorated young career that already included prizes from the Leeds International Piano Competition, the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition and the New York Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition. Petersen was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2018.
At age five, Petersen was presented at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall and by age nine, he gave a solo recital at Steinway Hall for the company's 150th Anniversary. The New York Times has written about the early performances of the gifted, "freckle-faced 10-year-old who still impresses adults with his intelligence, maturity and depth," and New York Magazine prominently featured Petersen in an article about child prodigies. Petersen's extraordinary gifts were also chronicled in the documentary Just Normal, and in Andrew Solomon's book, Far From the Tree, which featured case studies of exceptional children.
Overseas engagements have included recitals at the Musica e Arte Festival in Tolentino, Italy; Verbier Festival in Verbier, Switzerland; Euro Arts Music Festival in Leipzig, Germany; and American Spring Festival of the Czech Republic.
Petersen graduated cum laude from Harvard at age 19 with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Social Science and did his undergraduate and graduate music studies at the Juilliard School, the former as a recipient of the prestigious Kovner Fellowship. He has recently been accepted into the Artist Diploma program at the Juilliard School.
About Steinway & Sons label
The STEINWAY & SONS music label produces exceptional albums of solo piano music across all genres. The label — a division of STEINWAY & SONS, maker of the world’s finest pianos — is a perfect vessel for producing the finest quality recordings by some of the most talented pianists in the world.