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LERA AUERBACH continues the great tradition of pianist-composers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Still in her twenties, she has already appeared as a solo pianist at such prestigious venues as New York's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Munich's Herkulessaal, Oslo's Konzerthaus, Chicago Symphony Hall, Washington's Kennedy Center. Her original compositions have been commissioned for Gidon Kremer, Vadim Gluzman, Philippe Quint, David Finckel and Wu Han, Hamburg Ballet, Kremerata Baltica, Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa and others. Her works have been performed at international festivals including Aspen, Ravinia, Caramoor, Stresa, Schwetzingen, Moscow Autumn and Lockenhaus.
On May 1, 2002, she made her Carnegie Hall debut performing her own Suite for Violin, Piano and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 60, with violinist Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica. Lera Auerbach's piano playing is characterized as intensely expressive, poetic and virtuosic; her compositions are equally communicative. Her repertoire includes the masterworks of the literature as well as her own compositions. Lera Auerbach's piano playing is characterized as intensely expressive, poetic and virtuosic; her compositions are equally communicative. Her repertoire includes the masterworks of the literature as well as her own compositions.
Born in Chelyabinsk, a city in the Urals bordering Siberia, Lera Auerbach started to play the piano at a very early age and gave her first public performance when she was only six years old. At eight she made her first appearance as a soloist with orchestra. She was twelve when she composed an opera. This was staged, and the production toured throughout the former Soviet Union. In 1991, as the winner of several competitions, Lera Auerbach was invited to undertake a concert tour in the USA. She decided to remain in America, becoming one of the last artists to defect from the Soviet Union.
In a 1998 New York Times feature about Lera Auerbach, Johanna Keller quoted composer Robert Beaser as saying, "Her versatility is almost unbelievable. She is a passionate pianist with huge amounts of temperament, a natural composer and performer, quick to absorb and utilize everything around her." In the same article, pianist Joseph Kalichstein stated that his first impression of her talent was "staggering." The Washington Post describes Ms. Auerbach as "a pianistic powerhouse," and her performances as "a fine balance of sensitivity and virtuosity."
Lera Auerbach received her Bachelor and Master's degrees from the The Juilliard School in New York, where she studied both piano and composition. She also studied comparative literature at Columbia University. In 2002 she graduated from the Hannover Hochschule für Musik (Konzertexamen). Her piano teachers included Einar Steen-Nøkleberg, Joseph Kalichstein and Nina Svetlanova and she studied composition with Milton Babbitt and Robert Beaser.
In 2000, Ms. Auerbach was invited by the International Johannes Brahms Foundation to live and work at the composer's former home in Baden-Baden as artist-in-residence. In 2001, at the invitation of Gidon Kremer, she was composer-in-residence and guest artist at the Lockenhaus Festival in Austria, where twelve of her works were premiered.
Lera Auerbach's recognition is attributed not only to her musical activities but also to her writings. In 1996, she was named Poet of the Year by the International Pushkin Society and was awarded the poetry prize of the Novoye Russkoye Slovo, the largest Russian-language newspaper in the West. Her literary works include five volumes of poetry and prose, two novels, and numerous contributions to Russian-language literary newspapers and magazines. She was president of the jury for the 2000 International Pushkin Poetry Competition and was invited to serve on the selection panel for the 2002 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. She herself was the first artist-recipient of this fellowship in 1998.
Ms. Auerbach is published by Internationale Musikverlage Hans Sikorski, Hamburg.