Benjamin Pasternack, pianist
Among the most experienced and versatile musicians today, the American pianist Benjamin Pasternack has performed as soloist, recitalist and chamber musician on four continents. His orchestral engagements have included solo appearances with the the Bamberg, Boston, Dusseldorf, Nashville, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestras, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pacific Symphony, the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, the Orchestre National de France, the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, and the SWR Orchestra of Stuttgart. Among the many illustrious conductors with whom he has collaborated are Seiji Ozawa, Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman, Gunther Schuller, Leon Fleisher, Marin Alsop, and Carl St. Clair.
Pasternack has performed as soloist with the Boston Symphony on more than a score of occasions, at concerts in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, in Athens, Salzburg and Paris on their past European and South American tours. He has been guest artist at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Minnesota Orchestra Sommerfest, the Festival de Capuchos in Portugal, the Festival de Menton in France, and the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy.
Highlights of the 2018-19 season include performances with the Grand Rapids Symphony and Orquesta Nacional de Costa Rica, as well as recitals with the Post-Classical Ensemble at the National Cathedral, at Baltimore’s Community Concerts at Second series, and together with New York Philharmonic cellist Carter Brey at the Bender JCC in North Bethesda.
Pasternack has performed dozens of works by composers of his own lifetime, very often in their presence or with their collaboration. Among those with whom he has worked personally are Leonard Bernstein, Gunther Schuller, George Perle, Frederic Rzewski, Peter Lieberson, Nicholas Maw, Pierre Boulez, Alfred Schnittke, Toru Takemitsu, Hans Werner Henze, and Oliver Knussen. He has been featured as soloist twice on National Public Radio’s nationally syndicated show Symphony Cast, and his recording on the Naxos label of the three major piano works of Copland has been singled out for praise by numerous publications including the London Times Literary Supplement and The New York Times.
A native of Philadelphia, Pasternack entered the Curtis Institute of Music at the age of 13, studying with Mieczyslaw Horszowski and Rudolf Serkin. He was the Grand Prize winner of the inaugural World Music Masters Piano Competition held in Paris and Nice in July 1989. Bestowed by the unanimous vote of a distinguished panel of judges, the honor carried with it a $30,000 award and engagements throughout Europe and North America. After 14 years on the piano faculty of Boston University, he joined the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory in September 1997.