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 Garrick Ohlsson Residency: Panel Discussion

Wednesday, November 29, 2023 - 4:00pm
Garrick Ohlsson. Photo: Dario Acosta.
Garrick Ohlsson. Photo: Dario Acosta.

The internationally esteemed concert pianist Garrick Ohlsson takes part in a public panel discussion during a three-day residency at the School of Music. 

This residency is made possible with funding from the Robin L. McCabe Endowment in Piano Performance. 

Musicians of this Moment: Pioneers and Curators
Music journalist Melinda Bargreen moderates this discussion by Seattle area arts leaders and innovators and guest artist Garrick Ohlsson regarding challenges and opportunities facing professional musicians of today. Panelists: Garrick Ohlsson, Emilie Choi (Pacific Northwest Ballet), Quinton Morris (Seattle University), Marcin Pączkowski (UW DXARTS), Christina Scheppelmann (Seattle Opera), and Adam Stern (Seattle Philharmonic).


Garrick Ohlsson

Since his triumph as winner of the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, pianist Garrick Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. Although long regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents of the music of Frédéric Chopin, Mr. Ohlsson commands an enormous repertoire, which ranges over the entire piano literature. A student of the late Claudio Arrau, Mr. Ohlsson has come to be noted for his masterly performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire. To date he has at his command more than 80 concertos, ranging from Haydn and Mozart to works of the 21st century, many commissioned for him. In 2018/19 season he launched an ambitious project spread over multiple seasons exploring the complete solo piano works of Brahms in four programs to be heard in New York, San Francisco, Montreal, Los Angeles, London and a number of cities across North America.

frequent guest with the orchestras in New Zealand and Australia, Mr. Ohlsson accomplished a seven city recital tour across Australia just prior to the closure of the concert world due to COVID-19. Since that time and as a faculty member of San Francisco Conservatory of Music he kept music alive for a number of organizations with live or recorded recital streams and since the re-opening of concert activity in summer 2021 has appeared with the Indianapolis, Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle, Toronto and Cleveland orchestras, in recital in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston; Ravinia and Tanglewood summer festivals and a tour in the US with colleague Kirill Gerstein. The 2022/23 season includes orchestras in Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, San Diego, Spain, Poland and Czech Republic.

An avid chamber musician, Mr. Ohlsson has collaborated with the Cleveland, Emerson, Tokyo and Takacs string quartets and will begin the 22/23 season with a US tour with Poland’s Apollon Musagete quartet. Together with violinist Jorja Fleezanis and cellist Michael Grebanier, he is a founding member of the San Francisco-based FOG Trio. Passionate about singing and singers, Mr. Ohlsson has appeared in recital with such legendary artists as Magda Olivero, Jessye Norman, and Ewa Podleś.

Mr. Ohlsson can be heard on the Arabesque, RCA Victor Red Seal, Angel, BMG, Delos, Hänssler, Nonesuch, Telarc, Hyperion and Virgin Classics labels. His ten-disc set of the complete Beethoven Sonatas, for Bridge Records, has garnered critical acclaim, including a GRAMMY® for Vol. 3. His recording of Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3, with the Atlanta Symphony and Robert Spano, was released in 2011. In the fall of 2008 the English label Hyperion re-released his 16-disc set of the Complete Works of Chopin followed in 2010 by all the Brahms piano variations, “Goyescas” by Enrique Granados, and music of Charles Tomlinson Griffes. Most recently on that label are Scriabin’s Complete Poèmes, Smetana Czech Dances, and ètudes by Debussy, Bartok and Prokofiev. The latest CDs in his ongoing association with Bridge Records are the Complete Scriabin Sonatas, “Close Connections,” a recital of 20th-Century pieces, and two CDs of works by Liszt. In recognition of the Chopin bicentenary in 2010, Mr. Ohlsson was featured in a documentary “The Art of Chopin” co-produced by Polish, French, British and Chinese television stations. Most recently, both Brahms concerti and Tchaikovsky’s second piano concerto were released on live performance recordings with the Melbourne and Sydney Symphonies on their own recording labels, and Mr. Ohlsson was featured on Dvorak’s piano concerto in the Czech Philharmonic’s recordings of the composer’s complete symphonies & concertos, released July of 2014 on the Decca label.

A native of White Plains, N.Y., Garrick Ohlsson began his piano studies at the age of 8, at the Westchester Conservatory of Music; at 13 he entered The Juilliard School, in New York City. His musical development has been influenced in completely different ways by a succession of distinguished teachers, most notably Claudio Arrau, Olga Barabini, Tom Lishman, Sascha Gorodnitzki, Rosina Lhévinne and Irma Wolpe. Although he won First Prizes at the 1966 Busoni Competition in Italy and the 1968 Montréal Piano Competition, it was his 1970 triumph at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, where he won the Gold Medal (and remains the single American to have done so), that brought him worldwide recognition as one of the finest pianists of his generation. Since then he has made nearly a dozen tours of Poland, where he retains immense personal popularity. Mr. Ohlsson was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize in 1994 and received the 1998 University Musical Society Distinguished Artist Award in Ann Arbor, MI. He is the 2014 recipient of the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance from the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music, and in August 2018 the Polish Deputy Culture Minister awarded him with the Gloria Artis Gold Medal for cultural merit. He is a Steinway Artist and makes his home in San Francisco.

Melinda Bargreen

Melinda Bargreen is a Seattle-based writer and composer who is the author of “Classical Seattle” (University of Washington Press, 2015) and “50 Years of Seattle Opera” (Marquand Press, 2014). Her choral works have been featured in performances from China to Belgium, as well as on PBS television.

She was classical music critic of The Seattle Times from 1977 to 2008 (now freelancing), covering decades of great arts and also the planning, financing and acoustical design of two major Seattle concert halls (Benaroya Hall and McCaw Hall). Melinda has written freelance reviews and articles for several national and international publications, including the New Grove Dictionary of American Music, the U.K.-based MusicWeb International, The American Record Guide, Symphony Magazine, Muso Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR's "Performance Today" series. 

Melinda holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from the University of California, Irvine.

Emilie Choi

Violinist Emilie Choi is an avid chamber and orchestral musician based in Seattle. She currently holds the Assistant Concertmaster position at the Pacific Northwest Ballet and Concertmaster positions with the Auburn Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, and performs regularly with various orchestras in the Pacific Northwest.

Emilie performs regularly in the Seattle Candlelight Concert series, playing music across different genres in string quartet formation. From 2016-2019, she toured extensively with Lincoln Center Stage as part of a piano quintet featured aboard cruise ships. She has served in the resident faculty string quartet at the Interlochen Arts Camp, and as part of the Young Artist Resident Group at the Steamboat Springs Strings Festival.

Emilie was born and raised in Seattle, and began her musical studies at the age of 5. She holds a Master's of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music, a Certificate of Historical Performance Practice from Case Western Reserve University, and Bachelor’s degrees in Music Performance and Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of Washington.

Quinton Morris

Dr. Quinton Morris enjoys a multifaceted career as a concert violinist, educator, entrepreneur, radio host and filmmaker. Dr. Morris is an Associate Professor of Violin at Seattle University, where he is the first tenured music professor in over 40 years. He is the second living Black violinist in United States history to receive tenure and promotion at the university level. He is also the Artist-Scholar in Residence at Classical King FM 98.1, where he hosts the radio and video show Unmute The Voices. He is also the former co-chair of the Seattle Arts Commission.  

Marcin Pączkowski

Marcin Pączkowski [pawnch-`koavz-kee] is a composer, conductor, digital artist, and performer, working with both traditional and electronic media. As a composer, he is focused on developing new ways of creating and performing computer music and his pieces involving real-time gestural control using accelerometers have been performed in the United States, Poland, Canada, and South Korea.

As a conductor he regularly works with Evergreen Community Orchestra, presenting concerts of diverse repertoire to local communities. He is also involved in performing new music and has led premieres of numerous works in Poland and in the United States.

He received grants and commissions from Seattle Symphony, eScience Institute, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, and from Polish Institute of Music and Dance. He received his Ph.D. in Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. He also holds Masters' degrees from the Academy of Music in Kraków, Poland, and from the University of Washington.  

Christina Scheppelmann

Born in Hamburg, Germany, Christina Scheppelmann is the fourth General Director to lead Seattle Opera.

As the Artistic Director General at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, a position she held from 2015-2019, Scheppelmann was responsible for programming, casting, and overall artistic direction.

Prior to that, she was the first Director General of the Royal Opera House Muscat (Oman), the first theater of its kind in the Gulf Region, where her mission was to present high-quality music, opera, and dance from around the world. Under her leadership, ROHM established an excellent reputation as a cultural destination in Oman and opened doors for international musical and cultural relations.

Adam Stern

A native of Los Angeles, ADAM STERN has been an active member of Seattle's musical community since moving here in 1992. He was the Assistant, then Associate, Conductor of the Seattle Symphony from 1992 until 2001, and the Music Director of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra from 1994 until 2001.

Currently, he serves as Music Director of the Seattle Philharmonic, the Sammamish Symphony, and the Federal Way Symphony. To all of these tenures he has brought unique programming that has included literally dozens of world, U. S., and local premieres. He is particularly proud of being at the forefront of the revival of interest in the music of Ruth Gipps, an inexplicably ignored 20th century British composer whose works are finally achieving the recognition they deserve. Mr. Stern is also a composer, a pianist, and a Grammy-winning recording producer.