Ballet Unplugged Pianist – Andrew Armstrong

Andrew Armstrong

Praised by critics for his passionate expression and dazzling technique, pianist Andrew Armstrong has delighted audiences around the world. He has performed solo recitals and appeared with orchestras in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States, including performances at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, and Warsaw’s National Philharmonic. He has performed with such conductors as Peter Oundjian, Itzhak Perlman, and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, and in chamber music with the Alexander, American, and Manhattan String Quartets, as a member of the Caramoor Virtuosi at the Caramoor International Music Festival, and as a member of the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players in New York City.

Armstrong’s future engagements reflect his steadily growing career, performing with major orchestras, including debuts with the Vancouver Symphony, Omaha Symphony and San Antonio Symphony during 2009/10. During the 2008/09 season, Armstrong is the soloist in Mozart’s Concerto K.488 at the Chautauqua Music Festival under the direction of Stefan Sanderling, before embracing Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with both the Fairfax Symphony (Gregory Vajda conducting) and the Nashville Symphony under Günther Herbig. He is also to appear with the Toledo, Fairfax, Augusta, Waukesha and Missoula symphonies, and overseas the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico.

2007/08 offered an array of engagements with the Florida Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Boise Philharmonic, and the symphonies of Tallahassee, Charlottesville, Stamford, Harrisburg, Bellevue and Ridgefield, among others. Last summer, he shared the stage with Jennifer Frautschi and Eward Arron to perform Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Peter Oundjian conducting. During the summer, he performed a pre-concert recital at the Mostly Mozart Festival.

During his 2006/07 season, Armstrong performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the the Charleston Symphony, Saint-Saëns’ 5th Piano Concerto with the Monterey Symphony in a return engagement, Prokofiev No. 3 with the Bridgeport Symphony, and Mozart’s A-major Concerto K. 488 in his debut with the Columbus Symphony under the baton of Günther Herbig. He also played two concertos at the Peninsula Music Festival (the Chopin F minor Concerto and Prokofiev No. 3 under V. Yampolsky) and Rachmaninov’s massive Concerto No. 3 with the Brevard Symphony, Florida. Earlier in 2006 he was the featured soloist with Naumburg Concerts at New York City’s Central Park (Mozart’s Concerto K. 491). In 2004 he performed the World Premiere of Lisa Bielawa’s “The Right Weather” for piano solo and chamber orchestra with the American Composers Orchestra at the sold-out Carnegie Zankel Hall.

Having performed over 35 concertos, Armstrong has impressed his international audiences with a large repertoire ranging from Bach to Babbit and beyond. Before beginning his career as a concert pianist, Armstrong received over 25 national and international First Prizes. In 1996, he was named Gilmore Young Artist. At the 1993 Van Cliburn Competition, where he was the youngest pianist entered, he received the Jury Discretionary Award. The New York Times wrote, “Armstrong may have been the most talented player in the competition….He’s a real musician. We’ll hear more from him.” As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported, Van Cliburn himself, “in a rare showing of enthusiasm for an individual competitor,” called Mr. Armstrong “Fabulous! Fabulous!”

Andrew Armstrong’s debut CD, featuring Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Sonata and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, was released in 2004 to critical acclaim. The critic Bradley Bolen opined: “I have heard few pianists play [Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Sonata], recorded or in concert, with such dazzling clarity and confidence” (American Record Guide, Nov/Dec, 2004). His follow-up CD was issued in November 2007 on Cordelia Records and includes works by Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, and the world premiere recording of Bielawa’s Wait for piano & drone. Andrew Armstrong is devoted to outreach programs and playing for children. In addition to his many concerts, his performances are heard regularly on National Public Radio and WQXR, New York City’s premier classical music station.

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