DONALD BERMAN


Piano

American pianist Donald Berman is recognized as one of the chief exponents of new works by living composers, overlooked music by 20th century masters, and recitals that link classical and modern repertoires. His reputation as definitive interpreter of the American new music canon is unsurpassed. He has established an extensive discography in the works of major American composers, including Ives, Ruggles, Kernis, Levering, Wheeler, Boykan, and many others. Mr. Berman’s acclaimed recordings of The Unknown Ives (on CRI and New World, in two volumes) present premieres of unpublished works and new critical editions (by Mr.Berman) in the only recording of the complete short piano works of Charles Ives extant. On The Uncovered Ruggles Mr.Berman offers premiere recordings of unpublished sketches, transcriptions, and realizations of Ruggles’ music by John Kirkpatrick. For ten years Mr.Berman devoted his energies to curating an exhaustive survey of neglected works by American composers sponsored by the American Academy in Rome – first in a 4-concert series at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and subsequently in a newly-released 4-CD set on Bridge Records (9271). Both the Americans in Rome recording and his recording of Charles Ives songs with soprano Susan Narucki, The Light That Is Felt (New World 80680) were named CD of the Month by BBC Music Magazine.

Donald Berman has performed to critical acclaim at major venues in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. In 2009 his electro-acoustic solo show When Brahma Sleeps, a collaboration with composer ad sound designer Mark Wingate, was premiered to critical acclaim at New York’s (le) Poisson Rouge in its innaugural season. In 2010 Mr. Berman’s versatility was showcased by the Hartford Symphony with conductor Tito Munoz as the soloist in Christopher Theofanidis’ Piano Concerto side by side with Chopin’s La ci darem la mano Variations for piano and orchestra. He has premiered works as diverse as Su Lian Tan’s U-Don Rock, David Rakowski’s Chase, Donald Martino’s Piano Trio, Milton Babbitt’s Septet but Equal, David Lang’s Burn Notice, and Arthur Levering’s Piano concertina Catena. Other recent performances have ranged from Mozart concertos with the Columbus Symphony to recitals linking Haydn and Schubert with new music, called “thrillingly clear” (New York Times). A prizewinner of the 1991 Schubert International Competition, Mr.Berman studied with Leonard Shure, John Kirkpatrick, George Barth, and Mildred Victor.

Berman directs the Contemporary Music Ensemble at Tufts University, Directs the Summer Piano Institute at New England Conservatory, collaborates with musicologists on performance practice courses, teaches master classes as well as private students. He was a Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard University in 2011, is Treasurer for the Charles Ives Society, and currently lives in Cambridge, MA with his wife and two children.