“She is one of the most important living pianists in the world,” says Professor of Music Daniela Mineva. “This is a dream come true Humboldt State students.”
A five-time Grammy Award nominee, Oppens is a Distinguished Professor of Music at Brooklyn College, the CUNY Graduate Center, and on the faculty of
Mannes College/The New School. She has performed as a soloist with many of the world’s great orchestras, including the New York, Los Angeles, and London philharmonic orchestras, and the Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco symphony orchestras.
Oppens is known for championing adventurous contemporary American piano music. “It is probably safe to say that no single performer has done more for the cause of American piano music than Ursula Oppens,” wrote The Washington Post.
A legend among American pianists, she is widely admired for her original and perceptive readings of new music and her interpretations of the standard repertoire. No other artist alive today has commissioned and premiered more new works for the piano that have entered the permanent repertoire.
A prolific and critically acclaimed recording artist, Oppens most recently released a new recording of Frederic Rzewski’s “The People United Will Never Be Defeated,” nominated for a Grammy in 2016, and “Piano Songs,” a collaboration with Meredith
Earlier Grammy nominations were for “Winging It: Piano Music of John Corigliano”; “Oppens Plays Carter,” a recording of the complete piano works of Elliott Carter for Cedille Records (also was named a “Best of the Year” selection by The New York Times long-time music critic Allan Kozinn); “Piano Music of Our Time,” featuring compositions by John Adams, Carter, Julius Hemphill, and Conlon Nancarrow for the Music and Arts label; and her cult classic “The People United Will Never Be Defeated” by Frederic Rzewski on Vanguard. Oppens recently added to her extensive discography a two-piano CD for Cedille Records devoted to Visions de l’Amen of Oliver Messiaen and Debussy’s En blanc et noir performed with pianist Jerome Lowenthal.
At the start 2017-18 season, Oppens will present the New York premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s “Fantasy” for solo piano at the Bargemusic Labor Day Festival celebrating women composers and musicians. She will appear at Hayden’s Ferry Chamber Music Series in Arizona, where she will be joined by pianist Jerome Lowenthal and cellist Evan Drachman, in a program inspired by William Kapell, the great American pianist killed in a plane crash in 1953 at age 31 on his way back from a concert tour of Australia.
Oppens will travel to Bowling Green State University for the 7th Annual David Dubois Piano Competition to perform Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos with pianist Phillip Moll, as well as various two-piano selections by Schumann, Poulenc, Lutoslawski and two short new solo works by Samuel Adler. Her season concludes with engagements at Humboldt State University, University of Washington, and Oberlin Conservatory.
— Solo Piano Recital
Friday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. at Fulkerson Recital Hall. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for seniors and children, and $5 for HSU students with ID.
Repertoire includes works by Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, and Scriabin, as well as pieces written for Oppens by American-born composers Carter, Corigliano, and Nancarrow.
— Piano Master Class
September 27, noon – 2 p.m. in Fulkerson Recital Hall
Free and open to the public