Paul Posnak
pianist
  • Biography
  • Repertoire
  • Discography
  • Reviews
  • Itinerary
  • Media
John Novacek

PAUL POSNAK enjoys a distinguished, multi-faceted international career as a concert pianist, recording artist, transcriber and master teacher.

A child prodigy, Paul Posnak was just eight years-old when he was granted a full scholarship to The Juilliard Preparatory School of Music. He subsequently earned Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral degrees from The Juilliard School, and was awarded the Loeb Prize, the institution’s highest award. He won First Prize awards in both The International J.S. Bach Competition and New York City’s Concert Artists Guild Competition, resulting in a performance at the White House and national recognition. More recently, his Kennedy Center performances with the National Symphony Orchestras were hailed by The Washington Post as playing “with respect and passion, readings that were as notable for their musicality and their artistic integrity as they were for their pianism.” Subsequently, he was invited to give a special performance for the Supreme Court of the United States.

Paul Posnak is a highly regarded collaborative artist who has appeared with internationally renowned vocalists Luciano Pavarotti and Jennie Tourel, and performed and recorded with many of the world’s leading chamber ensembles, including the Amernet, Bergonzi, Emerson, Fine Arts, Portland, St. Petersburg and Vega string quartets.

Paul Posnak is internationally renowned for his improvisations and note-for-note transcriptions of the great jazz pianist-composers of the 1920's and 1930's. His reconstructions of the brilliant solo improvisations of George Gershwin and Thomas “Fats” Waller from old recordings and radio broadcasts have established him as a world authority. Of his “Gershwin’s Piano Improvisations” CD, The Washington Post wrote: “It is remarkably like having Gershwin himself in digital stereo.” Dr. Posnak’s arrangements of Gershwin songs for two pianos were issued by Alfred Music Publishing in 2007, and his transcriptions of 16 of Fats Waller’s greatest solos have been re-issued in a second edition by Hal Leonard, which has also published his original arrangements of 12 canciones by Ernesto Lecuona. Clavier said of “Ain’t Misbehavin”, his CD on the Naxos label: “Posnak’s performances have the spontaneous character so necessary for Waller’s music, and he breezes through the hard-to-play passages with all the facility and verve of Liszt.”

As a recording artist in both the classical and jazz genres, Paul Posnak has released 18 solo and collaborative CD albums for Arabesque, Cambria, Centaur, EMI Classics, Naxos, Stradivari Classics, Vox and Yamaha Disklavier. He has performed on four continents, and is a featured artist on numerous National Public Radio and European radio broadcasts. Fluent in French and German, he is a much sought-after teacher and clinician throughout the United States and abroad. Dr. Posnak has served as a national judge for the Grammy Awards, was a co-chair of the National Endowment for the Arts Chamber Music and New Music Panel, and is the founding Artistic Director of Florida’s St. Martha-Yamaha Concert Series.

The recipient of the prestigious University of Miami Excellence in Teaching Award (2008), Paul Posnak is Professor Emeritus of Keyboard Performance and Director of the Collaborative Piano Program at the University of Miami Frost School of Music.

www.paulposnak.com

[CHAMBER ENSEMBLE REPERTOIRE FOLLOWS CONCERTO LIST]

BACH, J.S.

Concerto #1 in d, BWV 1052
Concerto #7 in g, BWV 1058

BEETHOVEN

Concerto #1 in C, Op. 15
Concerto #3 in c, Op. 37
Concerto #4 in G, Op. 58

BRAHMS

Concerto #1 in d, Op. 15

CHOPIN

Concerto #2 in f, Op. 21

GERSHWIN

Concerto in F
Rhapsody in Blue
Variations on I Got Rhythm

MENDELSSOHN

Concerto #1 in g, Op. 25

MOZART

Concerto #10 in E-flat for 2 Pianos, K. 365
Concerto #11 in F, K. 413
Concerto #17 in G, K. 453
Concerto #20 in d, K. 466
Concerto #21 in C, K. 467

RACHMANINOFF

Concerto #2 in c, Op. 18

SAINT-SAËNS

Wedding Cake in A-flat, Op. 76

TCHAIKOVSKY

Concerto #1 in b-flat, Op. 23

TURINA

Rapsodia sinfónica, Op. 66 (piano & strings)

 

BARTÓK Contrasts (clarinet, violin, piano)
BEETHOVEN  Piano Trio #1 in E-flat, Op. 1, #1
Piano Trio #2 in G, Op. 1, #2
Piano Trio #3 in c, Op. 1, #3
Piano Trio #4 in D, Op. 70, #1 (“Ghost”)
Piano Trio #5 in E-flat, Op. 70, #2
Piano Trio #6 in B-flat, Op. 97 (“Archduke”)
Piano Trio #7 in B-flat, Op. 11
Quintet in E-Flat for Piano & Winds, Op. 16
BLOCH  Piano Quintet #1 (1923)
Piano Quintet #2 (1957)
BRAHMS  Clarinet Trio in a, Op. 114
Horn Trio in E-flat, Op. 40
Piano Trio #1 in B, Op. 8
Piano Trio #2 in C, Op. 87
Piano Trio #3 in c, Op. 101
Piano Quartet #1 in g, Op. 25
Piano Quartet #2 in A, Op. 26
Piano Quartet #3 in c, Op. 60
Piano Quintet in f, Op. 34
BRUCH   8 Pieces for Clarinet, Viola & Piano, Op. 83
CARPENTER Piano Quintet (1937)
COPLAND   Vitebsk (piano trio)
CADMAN Piano Trio in D, Op. 56
Piano Quintet in g
DOHNÁNYI  Piano Quintet #1 in c, Op. 1
DVORÁK   Piano Trio #3 in f, Op. 65
Piano Trio #4 in e, Op. 90 (“Dumky”)
FAURÉ Piano Quintet #1 in d, Op. 89
GIANNINI   Piano Quintet (1932)
HAYDN   Piano Trio #21 in B-flat, Hob. XV:8
Piano Trio #23 in E-flat, Hob. XV:10
Piano Trio #39 in G, Hob. XV:25 (“Gypsy Rondo”)
KRENEK Trio for Clarinet, Violin & Piano, Op. 108
MENDELSSOHN   Piano Trio #1 in d, Op. 49
MESSIAEN   Quartet for the End of Time
MILHAUD    Suite for Violin, Clarinet & Piano, Op. 157b
MOZART    Piano Trio #2 in G, K. 496
Piano Trio #3 in B-flat, K. 502
Piano Trio #6 in G, K. 564
Trio in E-flat for Clarinet, Viola & Piano, K. 498 (“Kegelstatt”)
Piano Quartet #1 in g, K. 478
Piano Quartet #2 in E-flat, K. 493
Quintet in E-flat for Piano & Winds, K. 452
POULENC   Trio for Oboe, Bassoon & Piano
SCHUBERT   Piano Trio #1 in B-flat, D. 898
Piano Trio #2 in E-flat, D. 929
SCHUMANN   Piano Trio #2 in F, Op. 80
Piano Quartet in E-flat, Op. 47
Piano Quintet in E-flat, Op. 44
SHOSTAKOVICH   Piano Trio #2 in e, Op. 67
Piano Quintet in g, Op. 57

 

Great Mozart Piano Work

“PAUL POSNAK - CLASSICS & CLASSIC JAZZ”

Waller: Ain’t Misbehavin’
Waller: Honeysuckle Rose
Chopin: Prelude in G, Op. 28, #3
Chopin: Fantaisie-Impromptu in c#, Op. 66
Gershwin: Sweet and Lowdown
Nazareth: Odeon
Nazareth: Perigoso
Nazareth: Apanhei-te cavaquinho
Chopin: Nocturne in e, Op. 72, #1
Waller: Handful of Keys
Scriabin: Preludein C, Op. 28, #1
Scriabin: Prelude in e-flat, Op. 28, #14
Gershwin: That Certain Feeling
Waller: African Ripples
Chopin: Waltz #7 in, Op. 64, #2
Gershwin: I Got Rhythm

(private label)

Spanish Rhapsody

THOMAS “FATS” WALLER - 16 GREAT PIANO SOLOS (1929-1941)

NAXOS CD: 8.554245

Novarags

“PAUL POSNAK PLAYS CHOPIN”

Prelude in C, Op. 28, #1
Prelude in G, Op. 28, #3
Prelude in e, Op. 28, #4
Prelude in A, Op. 28, #7
Prelude in f#, Op. 28, #8
Waltz in G-flat, Op. 70, #1
Waltz in c#, Op. 64, #2
Waltz in a, Op. 34, #2
Nocturne in F, Op. 15, #1
Nocturne in f, Op. 55, #1
Prelude in D, Op. 28, #5
Prelude in c#, Op. 28, #10
Prelude in F, Op. 28, #23
Prelude in D-flat, Op. 28, #15
Mazurka in c#, Op. 6, #2
Mazurka in a, Op. 17, #4
Nocturne in A-flat, Op. 32, #2
Etude in A-flat, Op. 25, #1
Etude in G-flat, Op. 25, #9
Mazurka in f, Op. 7, #3
Mazurka in B-flat, Op. 7, #2
Impromptu in A-flat, Op. 29
Fantaisie-Impromptu in c#, Op. 66

Stradivari Classics CD: SCD-6045

Novarags

GERSHWIN’S PIANO IMPROVISATIONS

Clap Yo Hands (Nos. 1 & 2)
S’Wonderful (Nos. 1 & 2)
My One and Only (Nos. 1 & 2)
Someone to Watch Over Me
Sweet and Lowdown (Nos. 1 & 2)
Rialto Ripples
That Certain Feeling (Nos. 1 & 2)
Swanee
Stairway
Liza
Fascinating Rhythm
I Got Rhythm

Crane Records CD: CR-1009

Novarags

ERNESTO NAZARETH - TANGOS

Cambria CD-1152

Novarags

“TO LECUONA WITH LOVE”

with Sandra Lopez de Haro, soprano

(private label)

Novarags

AARON COPLAND - COMPLETE WOEKS FOR VIOLIN & PIANO

Sonata for Violin & Piano (1943)
Two Pieces for Violin & Piano (1926)
Vitebsk*(1929)
Prelude#1 for Violin & Piano (1917)
Prelude#2 for Violin & Piano (1917)
Duo for Violin & Piano (1978)
“Hoe Down” from Rodeo (1942; arr. for violin and piano 1945)
“Waltz” and “Celebration” from Billy the Kid (1938)
with Peter Zazofsky, violinist

NAXOS CD: 8.559102

Hamlisch put together an entertaining all-Gershwin program for the National Symphony Orchestra Pops concerts at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. He brought in pianist Paul Posnak to play some of the Gershwin improvisations he has transcribed and the I Got Rhythm Variations. Posnak approaches this music with respect and passion, and produced readings that were as notable for their musicality and their artistic integrity as they were for their pianism.

THE WASHINGTON POST

Fine as all this was, the moment many were anticipating was Paul Posnak’s arrival onstage; he chose to perform Chopin’s Concerto in F minor. Torrents of melody, controlled by the unquestionable technical mastery of the soloist, were backed by the orchestra, amplifying the mood but never becoming obtrusive. It was virtuoso playing, which swept listeners away. Posnak’s feathery pianissimo touch and emotional bond with the music gave delicate gravure to the Larghetto. The last movement, the Allegro vivace, was suitably playful, and showed off the pianist’s dazzling finger-work.

HERALD-TRIBUNE (Charlotte, FL)

Ensemble shows why ‘Piano Quintet’ a neglected masterpiece [headline]
Giannini’s splendid music could not have had more dedicated advocates than Posnak and the Amernet Quartet. Posnak brought clarity and keen musicianship to his performance, giving every chord and phrase its perfect weight and resonance. He rose to the challenge of the score’s virtuosic demands brilliantly. The Amernet foursome was just as deeply absorbed in the music’s romantic glow. They played with deep toned expressiveness and passion.

CORAL GABLES GAZETTE (Florida)

All three movements of the [Bloch] Quintet present major technical difficulties, including string parts in quarter tones as well as lyric melodies, but the real challenge is to maintain its emotional intensity throughout. Neither the string quartet nor Posnak ever wavered. The balance between piano and strings were near-perfect throughout. This was one of those occasions on which a standing ovation was entirely deserved.

PORTLAND PRESS HERALD (Maine)

Paul Posnak was a nimble soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor. Posnak took a vigorous approach to the opening movement; his dynamics were nicely varied within a classical framework, avoiding overt bombast. Posnak’s own bravura cadenza had more than a touch of the Beethoven that was to come. The Romance was gracefully shaped and Posnak stylishly accentuated the ornamented repetitions of the main melody. A fleet Rondo finale demonstrated Posnak’s agile technique with the contrasting second subject nicely turned.

SOUTH FLORIDA CLASSICAL REVIEW

10/21/2016 (7pm)

BLUE CANDLELIGHT MUSIC SERIES

Private Home (Dallas, TX)

“Classics & Classic Jazz - from Scarlatti to Gershwin”

11/5/2016 (4pm)

LYNN UNIVERSITY PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA

Guillermo Figueroa, conductor
Shepard & Ruth K. Broad Performing Arts Center, Barry University (Miami Shores, FL)

Mozart: Piano Concerto #10 for 2 Pianos
soloist: Anita Castiglione, pianist

12/18/2016 (7:30pm)

TIVOLI RESERVE (Boynton Beach, FL)

The Clubhouse

“Classics & Classic Jazz”

1/20/2017 (7:30pm)
1/21/2017 (7:30pm)

ST. MARTHA-YAMAHA CONCERT SERIES (Miami Shores, FL)

Cor Jesu Chapel, Barry University

Duo-Recital with Charles Castleman, violinist
Mozart: Violin Sonata #32
Chausson: Poème
Beethoven: Violin Sonata #6
Ravel: Violin Sonata

2/25/2018 (7:30pm)

TIVOLI RESERVE (Boynton Beach, FL)

The Clubhouse

“Classics & Classic Jazz”

Chopin: Fantaisie-Impromptu in c#, Op. 66 (excerpts)

December 2014 tour of Japan, supported by the United States Embassy

Gershwin: Someone to Watch Over Me (improvisation transcription by Paul Posnak)

December 2014 tour of Japan, supported by the United States Embassy

Waller: Honeysuckle Rose (improvisation transcription by Paul Posnak)

December 2014 tour of Japan, supported by the United States Embassy

JoplinSolace, A Mexican Serenade

December 2014 tour of Japan, supported by the United States Embassy