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Boris Berman

Russian by birth, later American by choice, Boris Berman has achieved an important place among contemporary pianists in both the music of his native country and the works of other 20th century composers. Showing a consistent concern for balancing intellectual inquiry and temperament in his playing, he has performed worldwide, appearing in more than 30 countries covering six continents. In addition, Berman has proven himself an admirable teacher, holding important positions in Israel and the United States. He has also been active as an organizer of numerous contemporary music series.

Berman's training took place at the Moscow Conservatory. After studies with Lev Oborin, he graduated with honors in both piano and harpsichord. He began almost immediately to perform throughout the Soviet Union, both as a solo recitalist and as a soloist with symphonies, including the Moscow Philharmonic and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. During this time he performed the Russian premieres of works by such composers as Berio, Ligeti, Stockhausen, and American iconoclast John Cage, and the world premieres of Alfred Schnittke's Serenade and Edison Denisov's Ode.

In 1973, Berman elected to emigrate to Israel, where he quickly became a central figure in that country's musical life. He joined the faculty of Tel Aviv University and remained there for six years, winning respect as an outstanding pedagogue. In 1979, Berman moved to the United States and served on the faculties of several schools (among them, Indiana, Boston, and Brandeis) before heading the piano department at Yale University (beginning in 1984). During that time, he directed the Yale Music Spectrum concerts. In 1995, he presided over the inauguration of the International Summer Piano Institute in Hong Kong, a joint effort between Yale University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Berman has received invitations from the world's most prestigious orchestras, performing with such ensembles as the Philharmonia of London, the Royal Concertgebouw, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonic, the Toronto Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, and the Houston Symphony. In addition to appearances on many well-established recital series, Berman has been a frequent guest at music festivals in Bergen, Waterloo, Ravinia, Marlboro, and the Israel Festival. He has also authored books on technique and on Prokofiev's sonatas.

Certainly, Berman's position among his colleagues and with the public has been enhanced by the numerous recording he has made, beginning with his sizeable contribution to Chandos Records' complete piano works of Prokofiev. Berman has also recorded a two-CD collection of the sonatas of Scriabin for Music & Arts and a recital of Shostakovich piano works, the latter a winner of the 1990 Edison Classic Award in Holland. Berman's recording of three Prokofiev concertos with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, led by Neeme Järvi, was named CD of the Month by CD Review, an auspicious beginning to Chandos Record's Prokofiev project. In addition to these recordings are discs of piano music by Stravinsky and Schnittke and, for Naxos, two CDs devoted to the piano music of John Cage. ~ Erik Eriksson
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Cage: Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano

Title: Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano

1. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Sonata I

2. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Sonata II

3. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Sonata III

4. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Sonata IV

5. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: First Interlude

6. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Sonata V

7. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Sonata VI

9. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Sonata VIII

10. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Second Interlude

11. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Third Interlude

12. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Sonata IX

13. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Sonata X

14. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Sonata XI

15. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Sonata XII

16. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Fourth Interlude

17. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Sonata XIII

19. Sonatas And Interludes, For Prepared Piano: Sonata XVI

x

Track List: John Cage: Music for Prepared Piano, Vol. 2

Title: The Perilous Night, For Prepared Piano
Title: Tossed As It Is Untroubled, For Prepared Piano

7. Tossed As It Is Untroubled, For Prepared Piano: Tossed As It Is Untroubled

Title: Daughters Of The Lonesome Isle, For Prepared Piano Solo

8. Daughters Of The Lonesome Isle, For Prepared Piano Solo: Daughters Of The Lonesome Isle

Title: Root Of An Unfocus, For Prepared Piano

9. Root Of An Unfocus, For Prepared Piano: Root Of An Unfocus

Title: Primitive, For String Piano

10. Primitive, For String Piano: Primitive

Title: Mysterious Adventure, For Prepared Piano

11. Mysterious Adventure, For Prepared Piano: Mysterious Adventure

Title: And The Earth Shall Bear Again, For Prepared Piano

12. And The Earth Shall Bear Again, For Prepared Piano: And The Earth Shall Bear Again

Title: The Unavailable Memory Of, For Prepared Piano

13. The Unavailable Memory Of, For Prepared Piano: The Unavailable Memory Of

Title: Music For Marcel Duchamp, For Prepared Piano

14. Music For Marcel Duchamp, For Prepared Piano: Music For Marcel Duchamp

Title: Totem Ancestor, For Prepared Piano

15. Totem Ancestor, For Prepared Piano: Totem Ancestor

Title: A Room, For Piano Or Prepared Piano

16. A Room, For Piano Or Prepared Piano: A Room

Title: Prelude For Meditation, For Prepared Piano

17. Prelude For Meditation, For Prepared Piano: Prelude For Meditation

x

Track List: Schnittke: Piano Musik

Title: Piano Sonata No. 2

1. Piano Sonata No. 2: 1

2. Piano Sonata No. 2: 2

3. Piano Sonata No. 2: 3

Title: Piano Sonata No. 3

4. Piano Sonata No. 3: I

5. Piano Sonata No. 3: II

6. Piano Sonata No. 3: III

7. Piano Sonata No. 3: IV

Title: Variations Of One Chord, For Piano

8. Variations Of One Chord, For Piano: Variations Of One Chord, For Piano

Title: Aphorisms (5), For Piano

9. Aphorisms (5), For Piano: I. Moderato Assai

10. Aphorisms (5), For Piano: II. Allegretto

11. Aphorisms (5), For Piano: III. Lento

12. Aphorisms (5), For Piano: IV. Senza Tempo

13. Aphorisms (5), For Piano: V. Grave

Title: Prelude & Fugue For Piano

14. Prelude & Fugue For Piano: I

15. Prelude & Fugue For Piano: II

Title: Pieces (8) For Piano

16. Pieces (8) For Piano: I. Vokstanzmelodie

17. Pieces (8) For Piano: II. In Den Bergen

18. Pieces (8) For Piano: III. Kuckuck Und Specht

19. Pieces (8) For Piano: IV. Melodie

Title: Improvisations & Fugue, For Piano

20. Improvisations & Fugue, For Piano: I

21. Improvisations & Fugue, For Piano: II

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