The breadth of Charles Rosen’s endeavors reflects a remarkable synthesis of performing musician, scholar, writer and lecturer. First and foremost, however, he remains one of the most widely respected pianists of our time, internationally acclaimed for his performances and recordings of a diverse repertoire ranging from Bach to works by today’s most important composers. Mr. Rosen’s unique combination of musical sensitivity and powerful intelligence produces interpretations of exceptional understanding and impact. He has been heard in major concert halls and at leading festivals throughout the world and continues to perform in music capitals here and abroad. In recognition, Mr. Rosen was named Musical America’s 2008 Instrumentalist of the Year.
Mr. Rosen, “whose playing balances passion with probing detail and substantive depth,” (New York Times), is particularly renowned for his interpretations of Beethoven and the Romantic repertoire, especially the works of Chopin, Schumann and Liszt. During this Chopin and Schumann anniversary year, he will be giving performances of their works throughout the country from San Francisco to New York City.
Charles Rosen inherited the great Romantic piano tradition in a direct line from some of its most illustrious proponents. Born in New York City, Mr. Rosen was enrolled at The Juilliard School at the age of six, leaving five years later to study with Moriz Rosenthal, a pupil of Liszt, and his wife, Hedwig Kanner, a pupil of Theodor Leschetizky. In 1951, the same year that Mr. Rosen received widespread critical acclaim for his New York debut, he received his doctorate in French literature from Princeton University and made his first recording, one of the earliest complete recordings of Debussy’s Études.
He frequently gives lectures at such institutions as Oxford University, the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, Yale University, and Stanford University and is in the midst of a three-year professorship of performance and musicology at Royal College in Manchester, England.
In recognition of his distinguished career, University of Rochester Press published “Variations on the Canon: Essays on Music from Bach to Boulez in Honor of Charles Rosen on His Eightieth Birthday,” a series of essays and articles by many of Mr. Rosen’s admirers, including Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, Philip Gossett, and Sir Charles Mackerras.
Mr. Rosen's discography is wide-ranging, with works by Bach, Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Liszt, Chopin, Schumann, MartinŮ, Debussy, Ravel, Bartók and Schönberg, and such important 20th-century composers as Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez and Elliott Carter have invited Mr. Rosen to record their work.
Charles Rosen has also been hailed as a writer of extraordinary perception in the fields of music, art, literature and intellectual history. Among his most celebrated books are The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, which won the National Book Award for Arts and Letters and has been translated into seven languages, and The Romantic Generation: Music 1827-1850, an expanded version of the six Norton Lectures he gave at Harvard University, which was published with an accompanying CD in 1995 by Harvard University Press and later published in France by Gallimard.
His newest books are Beethoven’s Pianos Sonatas: A Short Companion published by Yale University Press and Piano Notes: The Hidden Life of the Pianist, a history/memoir published, which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award.
Charles Rosen has held distinguished chairs and visiting professorships at leading universities in the United States and abroad, including the Charles Eliot Norton Chair of Poetics at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, Oxford, and the University of California. Among the many awards he has received are an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Cambridge University and the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America.