Visiting Artists

Visiting Artist Series
Orion Weiss and Anna Polonsky, piano duo

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The Williams College Department of Music presents the piano duet of Orion Weiss and Anna Polonsky on Wednesday, April 6 at 8 p.m. in Chapin Hall on the Williams College campus. There is also a master class in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall at 4:15 p.m. These free events are open to the public.

Orion Weiss and Anna Polonsky present a repertoire that is as dazzling as it is rare to experience live as they perform side by side on the Chapin Hall’s magnificent Bösendorfer Imperial grand piano. They open the program with Mozart’s Sonata in F major for four hands K. 497. Next, Ms. Polonsky performs solo, presenting Chopin’s Ballade No. 3 in A-flat Major, Op. 47. After the intermission, it is Mr. Weiss’s turn to solo as he presents Janacek’s 1.X.1905 (From the Street). The duo again takes up the program with Barber’s Souvenirs, Suite for Piano Four hands, Op. 28, and, finally, selections from Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances Op 46.

About Anna Polonsky

Anna Polonsky is widely in demand as a soloist and chamber musician. She has appeared with the Moscow Virtuosi, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Memphis Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, and many others. Ms. Polonsky has collaborated with the Guarneri, Orion, Daedalus, and Shanghai Quartets, and with such musicians as Mitsuko Uchida, Yo-Yo Ma, David Shifrin, Richard Goode, Emanuel Ax, Arnold Steinhardt, Peter Wiley, and Jaime Laredo. She has performed chamber music at festivals such as Marlboro, Chamber Music Northwest, Seattle, [email protected], Cartagena, Bard, and Caramoor, as well as at Bargemusic in New York City. Ms. Polonsky has given concerts in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Alice Tully Hall, and Carnegie Hall’s Stern, Weill, and Zankel Halls, and has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. A frequent guest at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, she was a member of the Chamber Music Society Two during 2002-2004. In 2006 she took a part in the European Broadcasting Union’s project to record and broadcast all of Mozart’s keyboard sonatas, and in the spring of 2007 she performed a solo recital at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium to inaugurate the Emerson Quartet’s Perspectives Series. She is a recipient of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award.

Anna Polonsky made her solo piano debut at the age of seven at the Special Central Music School in Moscow, Russia. She emigrated to the United States in 1990, and attended high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Music diploma from The Curtis Institute of Music under the tutelage of the renowned pianist Peter Serkin, and continued her studies with Jerome Lowenthal, earning her Master’s Degree from the Juilliard School. In addition to performing, she serves on the piano faculty of Vassar College. With her husband Orion Weiss, she is a member of the Polonsky-Weiss Piano Duo.

About Orion Weiss

One of the most sought-after soloists in his generation of young American musicians, the pianist Orion Weiss has performed with the major American orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and New York Philharmonic. His deeply felt and exceptionally crafted performances go far beyond his technical mastery and have won him worldwide acclaim.

The 2014-15 season features Orion’s third performance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as a North American tour with the world-famous Salzburg Marionette theater in an enhanced piano recital of Debussy’s La Boîte à Joujoux. The 2013-14 season featured Weiss with orchestras around North America, including the Milwaukee and Vancouver Symphonies, and the 2012-13 season saw Weiss in repeat engagements with the Baltimore Symphony and New World Symphony. In 2012 he released a recital album of Dvorak, Prokofiev, and Bartok in spring 2012, and also spearheaded a recording project of the complete Gershwin works for piano and orchestra with his longtime collaborators the Buffalo Philharmonic and JoAnn Falletta.

Named the Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year in September 2010, in the summer of 2011 Weiss made his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood as a last-minute replacement for Leon Fleisher. In recent seasons, he has also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and in duo summer concerts with the New York Philharmonic at both Lincoln Center and the Bravo! Vail Valley Festival. In 2005, he toured Israel with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Itzhak Perlman.

Also known for his affinity and enthusiasm for chamber music, Weiss performs regularly with his wife, the pianist Anna Polonsky, violinist James Ehnes, and cellist Zuill Bailey, as well as ensembles including the Pacifica Quartet. As a recitalist and chamber musician, Weiss has appeared across the U.S. at venues and festivals including Lincoln Center, the Ravinia Festival, Sheldon Concert Hall, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, Chamber Music Northwest, the Bard Music Festival, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, the Kennedy Center, and Spivey Hall.  He won the 2005 William Petschek Recital Award at Juilliard, and made his New York recital debut at Alice Tully Hall that April. Also in 2005 he made his European debut in a recital at the Musée du Louvre in Paris. He was a member of the Chamber Music Society Two program of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center from 2002-2004, which included his appearance in the opening concert of the Society’s 2002-2003 season at Alice Tully Hall performing Ravel’s La Valse with pianist Shai Wosner.

Weiss’s impressive list of awards includes the Gilmore Young Artist Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Gina Bachauer Scholarship at the Juilliard School and the Mieczyslaw Munz Scholarship. A native of Lyndhurst, OH, Weiss attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Paul Schenly, Daniel Shapiro, Sergei Babayan, Kathryn Brown, and Edith Reed. In February of 1999, Weiss made his Cleveland Orchestra debut performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1. In March 1999, with less than 24 hours’ notice, Weiss stepped in to replace André Watts for a performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He was immediately invited to return to the Orchestra for a performance of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto in October 1999. In 2004, he graduated from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Emanuel Ax.