Donald Berman, piano
Donald Berman is recognized as one of the chief exponents of new works by living composers, overlooked music by 20th-century masters, and recitals that link classical and modern repertoires. He has established an extensive discography in the works of major American composers, including Ives, Ruggles, Kernis, Levering, Wheeler, Boykan, and many others.
Donald Berman's acclaimed recordings The Unknown Ives (on CRI and New World, in two volumes) present premieres of unpublished works and new critical editions in the only recording of the complete short piano works of Charles Ives extant. On The Uncovered Ruggles, he offers premiere recordings of unpublished sketches, transcriptions, and realizations of Ruggles' music. For 10 years, Berman devoted his energies to curating an exhaustive survey of neglected works by American composers sponsored by the American Academy in Rome—first in a four-concert series at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and subsequently in a four-CD set on Bridge Records (9271). Both the Americans in Rome recording and his recording of Charles Ives songs with soprano Susan Narucki, The Light That Is Felt (New World 80680), were named “CD of the Month” by BBC Music Magazine.
Donald Berman has performed to critical acclaim at major venues in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. Recent performances include recitals at Bargemusic in New York City and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall with the Henschel Quartet. In 2009, his electro-acoustic solo show When Brahma Sleeps, a collaboration with composer and sound designer Mark Wingate, was premiered to critical acclaim at New York’s (le) Poisson Rouge in its inaugural season. In 2010, his versatility was showcased by the Hartford Symphony with conductor Tito Munoz as the soloist in Christopher Theofanidis’ Piano Concerto side by side with Chopin’s La ci darem la mano Variations for piano and orchestra. He has premiered works as diverse as Su Lian Tan's U-Don Rock, David Rakowski's Chase, Donald Martino's Piano Trio, Milton Babbitt’s Septet but Equal, David Lang’s Burn Notice, and Arthur Levering’s Piano concertina Catena. Other recent performances have ranged from Mozart concertos with the Columbus Symphony to recitals linking Haydn and Schubert with new music, called "thrillingly clear" by the New York Times to Pierre Boulez’ virtuosic showcase Sur Incises with Sound Icon.
Listen to Donald's recent interview on WWFM - The Classical Network's Between the Keys here.
A prizewinner of the 1991 Schubert International Competition, Berman studied with Leonard Shure, John Kirkpatrick, George Barth, and Mildred Victor. In addition to his work at Longy, Berman directs the Contemporary Music Ensemble at Tufts University. He was a Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard University in 2011, is Treasurer and General Editor of Piano Music for the Charles Ives Society, and currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife and two children. Photo by Gil Gilbert.