Tuesday, February 5, 2013, 7 p.m.
Santiago Rodriguez has been called “a phenomenal pianist” (The New York Times) and “among the finest pianists in the world” (The Baltimore Sun). He has performed internationally with leading orchestras, including the London Symphony, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Weimar Philharmonic, the Yomiuri-Nippon Symphony Orchestra of Japan, the Tampere Philharmonic of Finland, the Berliner Symphoniker, the Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, Seattle, Indianapolis, American Composers’, and Houston Symphony Orchestras, the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C., and the American Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall in New York. Mr. Rodriguez has appeared in recital at the Schauspielhaus in Berlin, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Montreal’s Theatre Maisonneuve, the Santander Festival in Spain, Alice Tully Hall in New York, The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Herbst Theater in San Francisco, the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, and at the prestigious Ravenna Festival in Italy where the critics proclaimed that “he conquered the audience.” Mr. Rodriguez made his Carnegie Hall debut under the baton of Dennis Russell Davis, and also traveled to Finland for a series of concerts with Eri Klas, conducting. In recent seasons, Santiago Rodriguez has returned for engagements in Korea and Taiwan.
One of today’s foremost interpreters of the music of Sergei Rachmaninov, Santiago Rodriguez has performed all of the composer’s major piano works in concert. He is currently recording The Rachmaninov Edition, which, when completed, will encompass the entire catalog of Rachmaninov’s original solo piano compositions. The three volumes which have been released have received international acclaim: In reviewing Volumes 1 and 2, Bryce Morrison of Gramophone stated that “Santiago Rodriguez, the Cuban-American virtuoso, is born for Rachmaninov, and I doubt whether any of the works on these two discs have often been played with such a spellbinding mix of high-born virtuosity and poetic glamour.” Volume 2 was awarded the Washington Area Music Award for best classical recording of 1995, and Volume 3 was selected by Classical Pulse as one of the best recordings of 1995.
Santiago Rodriguez was born in Cárdenas, Cuba and began his piano studies at age four. After Castro seized power in Cuba, his parents sent Mr. Rodriguez and his younger brother to America under the care of the Catholic Charities. He spent the next six years in an orphanage in New Orleans. Fortunately, his mother had concealed money along with a note begging the nuns to continue his musical education. Two years after his arrival, he made his concert debut at age ten performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 with the New Orleans Philharmonic. His international career was launched in 1981 when he won the Silver Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition; he also received a special prize for the best performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Touches, a work commissioned for the competition. Mr. Rodriguez’ unique life and artistry were profiled on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Kurault in 1993. He has also been featured numerous times on the ABC, NBC, PBS, CNN, BBC, and CBC television networks.
Santiago Rodriguez also enjoys a distinguished reputation as a teacher and master-clinician. Since 1980, he was a member of the Piano Division at the University of Maryland where he held the rank of Professor and Artist-in-residence. Beginning in September, 2009, he accepted the position of Professor and Artist-in-residence at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami.
Santiago Rodriguez holds a master’s degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied on full scholarship as a pupil of Adele Marcus, and he completed his undergraduate studies magna cum laude with William Race at the University of Texas.