Serkin, Peter Adolf

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SERKIN, PETER ADOLF (1947– ), pianist. Serkin's rich musical heritage extends back several generations: his grandfather was violinist and composer Adolf Busch and his father was pianist Rudolf *Serkin. Peter Serkin was born in New York and studied with his father and with Lee Luvisi and Mieczyslaw Horszowski at the Curtis Institute of Music (1958–64). His other teachers included Karl Ulrich Schnabel and the flautist Marcel Moyse, who exerted vital musical influence on him. In 1959 Serkin made his Marlboro Music Festival and New York City debuts. From then his performances with symphony orchestras, recital appearances, chamber music collaborations, and recordings were acclaimed worldwide. Serkin was noted for his passion, keyboard virtuosity, and individualistic approach. He acquired a distinguished reputation in both traditional and contemporary scores, and from the early 1970s played rock, jazz, and improvisations. In 1973 he formed the Tashi group with the clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, violinist Ida Kavafian, and cellist Fred Sherry. After leaving the group in 1980, he renewed his appearances as recitalist and soloist. In 1983 he became the first pianist to win the prize for outstanding artistic achievement awarded by the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, and also joined the faculty of Mannes College. He later took up teaching posts at the Juilliard School and Curtis Institute of Music and taught regularly at the Tangle-wood Music Center. Among the important world premieres he performed are Lieberson's First and Second Piano Concertos with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and works by Henze, Takemitsu, and Berio.


Grove online; Baker's Biographical Dictionary (1997); S. Isacoff, "Peter Serkin: The Right Stuff," in: Keyboard Classics, 7:2 (1987), 4–6; C. Montparker, "Peter Serkin: A Pianist for All Seasons," in: Clavier, 28:9 (1989), 10–15.

[Naama Ramot (2nd ed.)]