Lera Auerbach

Composer , pianist
Born Oct. 21, 1973 in Chelyabinsk (Russia).


One of the most widely performed composers of the new generation, Lera Auerbach is the youngest and the only American on the roster of Hamburg’s prestigious international music publishing company Hans Sikorski, home to Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Schnittke, Gubaidulina and Kancheli. A virtuoso performer, Lera continues the great tradition of pianist-composers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Auerbach's compositions have been commissioned and performed by a wide array of artists, orchestras and ballet companies including Gidon Kremer, the Kremerata Baltica, David Finckel, Wu Han, Vadim Gluzman, The Tokyo, Kuss and Petersen String Quartets, the SWR and NDR (Hannover) Symphony Orchestras, NDR Hamburg, the Royal Danish Ballet and the Hamburg Ballet. Lera Auerbach’s music has also been commissioned and performed by leading Festivals throughout the world including Caramoor, Lucerne, Lockenhaus, Bremen and Schleswig-Holstein.

Lera Auerbach has appeared as solo pianist at such prestigious venues as the Bolshoi Saal of Moscow Conservatory, Tokyo’s Opera City, New York’s Lincoln Center, Munich's Herkulessaal, Oslo's Konzerthaus, Chicago’s Symphony Hall and Washington's Kennedy Center. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in May 2002 performing her own Suite for Violin, Piano and Orchestra with Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica. Lera Auerbach’s music has been presented at Carnegie Hall each season since then. In 2005 she was awarded the prestigious Hindemith Prize by the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Germany.

Born in Chelyabinsk, a city in the Urals bordering Siberia, Lera Auerbach became one of the last artists to defect the Soviet Union during a concert tour in 1991 while still in her teens. She subsequently earned Bachelor and Master’s degrees from The Juilliard School, where she studied piano with Joseph Kalichstein and composition with Milton Babbit and Robert Beaser. In 2002 she graduated from the prestigious piano soloist program of the Hannover Hochschule für Musik where she studied with Einar-Steen Nøkleberg.

In 2000 and 2004, Ms. Auerbach was invited by the Johannes Brahms Foundation to live and work at the composer’s former home in Baden-Baden as the Artist-in-Residence. In 2001, at the invitation of Gidon Kremer, she was Composer-in-Residence and guest artist at the Lockenhaus Festival in Austria, where twelve of her works were premiered. She was subsequently invited to be Composer-in-Residence with the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa in Japan and the American Youth Symphony in Los Angeles 2003. From 2005 to 2007 she was Composer-in-Residence at the Bremen Music Festival and was awarded the “Förderpreis Deutschlandfunk“ in recognition of this residency. In 2007 she became a "Young Global Leader", nomination given by the World Economic Forum. Actually, she is working on her first full-length opera-commission, which will be premiered at "Theater an der Wien".

Auerbach’s recognition is attributed not only to her musical activities but also to her writing. In 1996, she was named Poet of the Year by the International Pushkin Society. Her literary works include 5 volumes of poetry and prose and numerous contributions to Russian-language literary papers and magazines. Her poetry is taught in Russian schools and universities as required reading for modern literature courses.

Following the successfully received recording of Lera Auerbach’s 24 Preludes for Violin and Piano in 2003 with Vadim Gluzman (violin) and Angela Yoffe (piano), BIS released two follow up discs of Lera’s works in 2006: Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano coupled with Lonely Suite – also performed by Vadim Gluzman and Angela Yoffe (BIS CD-1592) – and 24 Preludes for Piano, 10 Dreams and Chorale, Fugue and Postlude performed by Lera herself (BIS CD-1462). The label Capriccio (CD 71104) has released a CD featuring Lera Auerbach´s String Quartet No. 3 performed by the Petersen Quartet, coupled with Lera´s arrangement of Shostakovich´s Six Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva. Lastly the American pianist Ksenia Nosikova has recorded for Hänssler Lera´s piano music, among which the piano Sonatas La Fenice and Il Segno.

Upper right picture : © F.Reinhold. Central picture : © F.Reinhold.

Lera Auerbach on medici.tv

Dutoit: Auerbach, Beethoven
Verbier Festival - Rolex and Culture
July 19, 2013, 4:50 p.m.
Watch an excerpt
Keller, Auerbach, G. Capuçon: Auerbach
Verbier Festival
July 24, 2010, 9 a.m.
Watch an excerpt
Verbier Festival 20th Anniversary concert
Verbier Festival - Rolex and Culture
July 28, 2013, 4:45 p.m.
Watch an excerpt