Pianist 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.
During the 2012/13 season Ms. Oppens appears at Carnegie Hall with the The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble in music of John Cage and performs Claude Baker’s Tableaux Funebres with the Pacifica Quartet for Chamber Music Society of Louisville. She appears in recital at Hamilton Stage in Rahway, NJ and performs in a duo recital with Jerome Lowenthal at New York City’s Bargemusic, featuring the world premiere of Frederic Rzewski’s Piano Four Hands.
Last season Ms. Oppens appeared at the Festival Slowind 2011 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, performing seminal works of Elliott Carter including Night Fantasies for solo piano (a work she premiered), Quintet for Piano and Winds, and Triple Duo with the Slowind Wind Quintet. She appeared at New York City’s Le Poisson Rouge, in a program of works by Charles Wuorinen and Conlon Nancarrow with JACK Quartet, and at Spivey Hall in Morrow, GA with a program that featured Elliot Carter’s Two Thoughts about the Piano and works written for her such as John Corigliano’s Winging It, and Frederick Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated. She also travelled to the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music and premiered a new concerto by Laura Kaminsky at Ithaca College and with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic.
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.
Ursula Oppens studied piano with her mother, the late Edith Oppens, as well as with Leonard Shure and Guido Agosti. She received her master’s degree at The Juilliard School, where she studied with Felix Galimir and Rosina Lhévinne. After 14 years as the John Evans Distinguished Professor of Music at Northwestern University, Ms. Oppens is now a Distinguished Professor on the faculty of the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center.
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.
(October 2012. Please discard previously dated materials and contact email@example.com before making any alterations or cuts.)