Pianist-composer MICHAEL STEPHEN BROWN has been hailed by The New York Times as “one of the leading figures in the current renaissance of performer-composers.” His artistry is shaped by his creative voice as a pianist and composer, praised for his “fearless performances” (The New York Times) and “exceptionally beautiful” compositions (The Washington Post).
Winner of the 2018 Emerging Artist Award from Lincoln Center and a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Brown has recently performed as soloist with the Seattle Symphony, the National Philharmonic, and the Grand Rapids, North Carolina, Wichita, New Haven, and Albany Symphonies; and recitals at Carnegie Hall, the Mostly Mozart Festival, and Lincoln Center. Brown is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, performing frequently at Alice Tully Hall and on tour. In 2022, he opens the Society’s season with Bach and Mendelssohn concertos, and makes European debuts as soloist with the NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra, and performs recitals at the Beethoven-Haus Bonn and the Chopin Museum in Majorca. He was selected by András Schiff to perform on an international tour making solo debuts in Berlin, Milan, Florence, Zurich’s Tonhalle and New York’s 92nd Street Y. He regularly performs recitals with his longtime duo partner, cellist Nicholas Canellakis, and has appeared at numerous festivals including Tanglewood, Marlboro, Music@Menlo, Gilmore, Ravinia, Saratoga, Bridgehampton, Caramoor, Music in the Vineyards, Bard, Sedona, Moab, and Tippet Rise.
As a composer, he recently toured his own Concerto for Piano and Strings (2020) around the US and Poland with several orchestras. He was the Composer and Artist-in-Residence at the New Haven Symphony for the 2017-19 seasons and a 2018 Copland House Residency Award recipient. He has received commissions from the Gilmore Piano Festival, the NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra; the New Haven and Maryland Symphony Orchestras; Concert Artists Guild, Shriver Hall; Osmo Vänskä and Erin Keefe; pianists Jerome Lowenthal, Ursula Oppens, Orion Weiss, Adam Golka, and Roman Rabinovich; and a consortium of gardens.
A prolific recording artist, his latest album Noctuelles, featuring Ravel’s Miroirs and newly discovered movements by Medtner was called “a glowing presentation” by BBC Music Magazine. He can be heard as soloist with the Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot in the music of Messiaen, and as soloist with the Brandenburg State Symphony in music by Samuel Adler. Other albums include Beethoven’s Eroica Variations; all-George Perle; and collaborative albums each with pianist Jerome Lowenthal, cellist Nicholas Canellakis, and violinist Elena Urioste. He is now embarking on a multi-year project to record the complete piano music by Felix Mendelssohn including world premiere recordings of music by one of Mendelssohn’s muses, Delphine von Schauroth.
Brown was First Prize winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, a winner of the Bowers Residency from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (formerly CMS Two), a recipient of the Juilliard Petschek Award, and is a Steinway Artist. He earned dual bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano and composition from The Juilliard School, where he studied with pianists Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald and composers Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser. Additional mentors have included András Schiff and Richard Goode as well as his early teachers, Herbert Rothgarber and Adam Kent.
A native New Yorker, he lives there with his two 19th century Steinway D’s, Octavia and Daria. He will not reveal which is his favorite, so as not to incite jealousy. In his spare time, he learns Italian, carves stumps into coffee tables, and plays a lot of Mendelssohn.