Piano

The world-renowned pianist is part of the venue’s popular streaming concert series

Noted American pianist Anne-Marie McDermott has performed concertos, recitals and chamber music in hundreds of cities throughout the United States, Europe and Asia over a 25-year career. Her repertoire spans from Bach, Haydn and Beethoven to Rachmaninoff, Prokoviev and Scriabin to works by today’s most influential composers.

Currently, she’s an artist member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and performs and tours extensively with CMS each season. McDermott also leads the Ocean Reef Chamber Music Festival in Florida and is artistic director of the six-week Bravo! Vail Music Festival.

Beginning April 9, McDermott can be seen as part of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts’ Chamber Music Society’s Front Row streaming concert series. The streaming event can be viewed until midnight, April 16. 

“This program is a real feast musically,” she said. “They are two very contrasting pieces of music. The whole program is exciting and also very uplifting.”

During the program, the pianist will play Mozart’s Concerto in D minor for Piano, Flute, and Strings, joined by Tara Helen O’Connor on flute, Sean Lee on violin, Bella Hristova on violin, Paul Neubauer on viola, Mihai Marica on cello and Timothy Cobb on bass.

“This is being done with seven players, which is rather unusual; typically, this is done with an orchestra of 60 players,” McDermott said. “So, this is a unique opportunity to hear this Mozart concerto in a different way.” 

The second work being performed is Smetana’s Trio in G minor for Piano, Violin and Cello, Op.15., with Ida Kavafian on violin and Gary Hoffman on cello.

“This is one of the iconic trios in the repertoire by Smetana,” McDermott said. “It’s a very personal work to him; he wrote it after the death of his daughter, so it’s very emotional, very passionate, but also very uplifting.”

These come from two separate performances that were filmed at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center pre-pandemic, and McDermott loved the idea of showcasing both during this special streaming event for Wolf Trap. 

“They are both incredible pieces of music so I was very happy with the choice,” she said. 

What was done during the pandemic, is that at the very beginning of the streaming program, there’s an eight-minute film that was recorded at McDermott’s apartment in New York City, completely filmed on her phone. 

“That was done to give a look inside my life during the pandemic,” she said.

One of the things she’s spent a lot of time on this past year is making recordings. McDermott has traveled to Demark several times as she’s in the middle of recording the complete Mozart piano concertos.

“Later this month, I’ll be recording a full Franz Schubert album,” she said. “This has been a good time to recording because there’s not many concerts happening. I’ve been grateful for those opportunities because it keeps the focus on the music making during a devastating time as a musician.”

Piano was something that came easily to McDermott. The youngest of three girls, she and her sisters all were taught as children.

“My mom had taken me to a concert where I heard a full orchestra on stage with a pianist soloist, and I was probably 4 years old,” she said. “I remember the black shiny piano on stage, and how glamorous and powerful it looked. And because I was very shy, expression through music making was the most natural thing for me.”

McDermott studied at the Manhattan School of Music with Dalmo Carra, Constance Keene and John Browning, and she was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant for her studies. 

Throughout her life, she has continued to perform each season with her sisters, Maureen McDermott and Kerry McDermott in the McDermott Trio.

“I feel lucky and grateful that I’ve been able to have a career in music for a few decades now,” she said. “It’s an amazing life being a musician and traveling and playing concerts. I’m completely in love with it all.”

McDermott is glad that more people will be getting to see these performances thanks to the Wolf Trap streaming program. The event is free and can be viewed at www.wolftrap.org.

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