Serkin, Peter (Adolf)

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Serkin, Peter (Adolf)

Serkin, Peter (Adolf), outstanding American pianist, son of Rudolf Serkin; b. N.Y., July 24, 1947. At age 11, he enrolled at the Curtis Inst. of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied with Horszowski, Luvisi, and his father (graduated, 1964). He made his debut as a soloist with Schneider and a chamber orch. at the Marlboro (Vt.) Music Festival (1958); later studied there with the flutist Marcel Moyse, and also received additional piano training from Karl Ulrich Schnabel. He made his N.Y. debut as a soloist with Schneider and his chamber orch. (Nov. 29, 1959); his N.Y. recital debut followed (March 27, 1965). In 1973 he formed the group Tashi (“good fortune” in Tibetan) with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, violinist Ida Kavafian, and cellist Fred Sherry; the group toured extensively, giving performances of contemporary music in particular. After leaving the group in 1980, Serkin renewed his appearances as a soloist and recitalist. While he championed modern music, he acquired a distinguished reputation as an interpreter of both traditional and contemporary scores. He excels in works by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Messiaen, Take-mitsu, Peter Lieberson, and others. He also made appearances as a fortepianist. In 1983 he was awarded the Premio of the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena. In 1992 he joined the faculty of the Curtis Inst. of Music in Philadelphia.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire