Pianist Ursula Oppens’ ability to perform highly complex new works with clarity, technical brilliance, and musical understanding is legendary. She has commissioned and premiered important works by some of the major American composers of our time. Her long and productive relationship with composer Elliot Carter going back to a performance at the Marlboro Festival in 1966. Carter has written many piano pieces for Oppens, most notably A Mirror On which to Dwell and Two Diversions. She has long been an advocate of juxtaposing the works of the classic masters with works by contemporary composers, regularly programming Beethoven and Schumann sonatas with music by Luciano Berio, György Ligeti and contemporary American composers. She has given both the American and New York premieres of Berio’s Piano Sonata.
A co-founder of Speculum Musicae, Ms. Oppens received her master’s degree at The Juilliard School, where she studied with Felix Galimir and Rosina Lhévinne. A native New Yorker, Ms. Oppens made her New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1969 under the auspices of Young Concert Artists. She won first prize in the Busoni International Piano Competition that same year, and was awarded the Diploma d’onore of the Accademia Chigiana in 1970. In 1976 she won an Avery Fisher Career Grant which led to a performance with the New York Philharmonic. Appointed John Evans Distinguished Professor of Music at Northwestern University in 1994, Ms. Oppens maintains a residence in Manhattan.
Elliott Carter: Quintets and Voices (mode 128)