Ursula Oppens, a legend among American pianists, is widely admired for her original and perceptive readings of new music, but also for her knowing 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. Over the years, Ms. Oppens has premiered works by such leading composers as John Adams, Luciano Berio, Anthony Braxton, Elliott Carter, John Corigliano, John Harbison, Julius Hemphill, Conlon Nancarrow, Charles Wuorinen, as well as many more.
A prolific recording artist with five Grammy nominations, Ms. Oppens most recently released a 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 Monk. Earlier releases include Winging It: Piano Music of John Corigliano; Oppens Plays Carter; a recording of Elliot Carter’s complete piano works for Cedille Records; Piano Music of Our Time featuring compositions by John Adams, Elliott Carter, and others; and a two-piano CD for Cedille Records devoted to Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen and Debussy’s En blanc et noir performed with pianist Jerome Lowenthal.
Currently Ms. Oppens is performing special 80th birthday programs for Messrs. Corigliano, Rzewski, and Wuorinen. Other performances appearances will include performances of works by Jonathan Harvey, and a joint recital with pianist Phillip Moll which will feature Mozart’s Concerto for two Pianos.
As an orchestral guest soloist, Ms. Oppens has performed with virtually all of the world’s major orchestras; highlights include the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Berlin Symphony, and London Philharmonic Orchestras. Ms. Oppens is also an avid chamber musician, performing with the Arditti, Juilliard, and Pacifica quartets, among others.
Ursula Oppens joined the faculty of Mannes College in fall 2017, and is a Distinguished Professor of Music at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City.