The American pianist, Peter (Adolf) Serkin, began music studies with his mother, the daughter of violinist and composer Adolf Busch. In 1958, at age eleven, he entered the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Lee Luvisi, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, and his father, Rudolf Serkin. He continued his studies with Ernst Oster, Marcel Moyse, and Karl Ulrich Schnabel, and in 1959 he made debuts at the Marlboro Festival and in New York City.
Recognized as an artist of passion and integrity, Peter Serkin is one of the most thoughtful and individualistic musicians appearing before the public today. Throughout his career he has successfully conveyed the essence of four centuries of musical repertoire, and his performances with symphony orchestras, recital appearances, chamber music collaborations and recordings are respected worldwide. An avid proponent of the music of twentieth- and twenty-first-century composers, Peter Serkin has given many world premieres, including works written for him by Tōru Takemitsu, Peter Lieberson, Oliver Knussen, and Alexander Goehr. He has performed with the world's major symphony orchestras and has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Alexander Schneider, Pamela Frank, the Guarneri, Budapest and Orion String Quartets, as well as TASHI, of which he was a founding member.
During the 2003-2004 season, Peter Serkin plays recitals in the US and Japan including performances in Tokyo, Chicago and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Orchestral appearances include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, NHK and Kyoto Symphonies, as well as a world premiere of Peter Lieberson's third Piano Concerto with the Minnesota Orchestra. He performs the complete Bach Piano Concertos for the second consecutive year with Jaime Laredo and the Brandenburg Ensemble. Performances include two appearances in New York at Lincoln Center's Great Performers Series. Collaborations with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson continue this season in Boston, St. Paul and New York's Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall. Their program includes works by Johannes Brahms, George Frideric Handel, Debussy, Mozart and Peter Lieberson's Rilke Songs. Peter Serkin participates in the Zankel Hall Opening Festival performing the world premiere of Peter Lieberson's Piano Quintet and the New York premiere of Alexander Goehr's Piano Quintet, both with the Orion String Quartet. During the 2004-2005 season, he performed the world premiere of Charles Wuorinenís Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Boston Symphony, and he gave the New York premieres of that work and of Liebersonís Piano Concerto No. 2, Red Garuda, with the New York Philharmonic. Also a dedicated chamber musician, Mr. Serkin has collaborated with Alexander Schneider, Pamela Frank, Yo-Yo Ma, the Budapest, Guarneri, and Orion string quartets, and TASHI, of which he was a founding member. This season (2005-2006), Peter Serkin gives world premieres of two works that were commissioned at his request: a work for piano and orchestra by Charles Wuorinen commissioned by Carnegie Hall, and a solo piano piece by Elliott Carter co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the Gilmore Keyboard Festival. Additional engagements this season include orchestral appearances with the orchestras of Detroit, Saint Louis, and Toronto, recitals in Chicagoís Orchestra Hall and at the Aspen and Casals festivals, and summer festival appearances at Tanglewood and Caramoor.
Ranging from Bach to Luciano Berio, Peter Serkin's recordings reflect his distinctive musical vision. His acclaimed solo album, The Ocean that has no West and no East (Koch), featuring works by Anton Webern, Wolpe, Messiaen, Takemitsu, Knussen, Lieberson, and Wuorinen, was released in 2000; that same year, BMG released his recording of three L.v. Beethoven sonatas. His recording of Mozartís six concertos of 1784 with the English Chamber Orchestra (RCA) received the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, a Grammy nomination, and Stereo Reviewís Best Recording of the Year award. Other releases include the J. Brahms violin sonatas with Pamela Frank, Dvořákís Piano Quintet with the Orion String Quartet, quintets by Henze and J. Brahms with the Guarneri Quartet, the Bach double and triple concertos with András Schiff and Bruno Canino, and Takemitsuís Quotation of Dream with Oliver Knussen and the London Sinfonietta. His most recent recording is of the complete works for piano by Arnold Schoenberg