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Lambert Orkis

About this Artist

LAMBERT ORKIS has received international recognition as a chamber musician, interpreter of contemporary music, and performer on period instruments. He has appeared in recital with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter since 1988, and he performed with cellist Mstislav Rostropovich for more than eleven years. His distinguished career also includes collaborative appearances with cellists Lynn Harrell, Anner Bylsma, and Han-Na Chang, violinist Julian Rachlin, and violist Steven Dann, and he has performed with the Vertavo, Emerson, American, Mendelssohn, Curtis, and Manchester String Quartets. As a soloist he has made appearances with conductors including Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Günther Herbig, Kenneth Slowik, John Mauceri, Robert Kapilow, Leon Fleisher, and Christopher Kendall.

A multi-Grammy nominee, his wide discography comprises works of the Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras on many labels. With Anne-Sophie Mutter, he has frequently recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, winning a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance for their recordings of Beethoven’s piano and violin sonatas, and a 2006 Choc de l’année award for their recordings of Mozart’s piano and violin sonatas. He has also recorded works of Brahms, Schumann, and Chopin/Franchomme with Dutch cellist Anner Bylsma, and with violist Steven Dann, he appears on an ATMA Classique disc of works by Brahms. Orkis has released discs on Bridge Records of solo works written for him by George Crumb, Richard Wernick, and James Primosch.

He premiered Wernick’s Piano Concerto, which was written for him, in Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. with the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington and Mstislav Rostropovich as conductor. For the recording, Orkis is paired with Symphony II of Chicago. The European premiere took place with Orkis and Het Residentie Orkest of The Hague, The Netherlands. In both instances, the composer conducted.

As a founding member of The Kennedy Center Chamber Players, comprised of principal players of the string and keyboard sections of Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra, he performs to critical and audience acclaim. He also appears regularly in summer with Colorado’s Strings in the Mountains Music Festival.

A CD entitled The Beauty of Two has been released by Dorian Recordings, which includes duo sonatas by Grieg, Poulenc, Hindemith, and Martinu° performed by members of The Kennedy Center Chamber Players. His most recent solo releases on the Bridge Records label include, as fortepianist and pianist, three separate performances of Beethoven’s “Appassionata” sonata using fortepianos and a piano based upon Viennese piano-building designs. Another disc features piano music by Louis Moreau Gottschalk performed on an 1865 Chickering concert grand piano from the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Solo discs as fortepianist of Schubert works for Virgin Classics have been recorded. As founding member and fortepianist of the Smithsonian Institution’s Castle Trio, he has given many performances including several cycles of Beethoven’s 28 major works for fortepiano and strings, and produced highly regarded recordings of Beethoven and Schubert trios.

Orkis has twice served as juror of, and performed for, the Trondheim (Norway) International Chamber Music Competition and Festival. The Carnegie Hall International American Music Competition for Pianists and the Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards Competition have also engaged him as judge on several occasions. As an Honored Artist for Taiwan’s New Aspect International Music Festival, he performed and presented master classes in Taipei.

Lambert Orkis has held the position of Principal Keyboard of Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra since 1982. He is Professor of Piano at Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music in Philadelphia, where he was honored with the university’s Faculty Award for Creative Achievement.