Lera Auerbach is a prodigiously talented Russian pianist and composer who was born in the city of Chelyabinsk, located to the east of the Ural mountain range, near the Siberian border. Auerbach's promise at the keyboard was discovered early, and she made her debut as a pianist with an orchestra at the age of 8. At the age of 11, Auerbach composed an opera that proved a cause celèbre when it was staged in Russia, and a touring version ofRead more the work was seen throughout the Soviet Union. When Auerbach was 17, she was sent to the United States on a concert tour, but decided to defect to the West; she was one of the last Soviet artists to do so. Auerbach continued at Juilliard, where she studied composition with Milton Babbitt and piano with Joseph Kalichstein.
In 2000, Auerbach served the first of two artist residencies at the Baden-Baden home of Johannes Brahms at the behest of the International Brahms Society, and in 2001 she was invited by Gidon Kremer as a guest artist at the Lockenhaus Festival; there, 16 works of her works were performed. In 2002, Auerbach completed her piano studies with Einar Steen-Nøkelberg at the Hannover Höchschüle für Musik and in 2003 Vadim Gluzman and Angela Yoffe recorded the first all-Auerbach program for Bis, Lera Auerbach: 24 Preludes for Violin and Piano. This was well received, and since then Bis has continued to release albums of Auerbach's music at the rate of about one a year, including one played by Auerbach herself, Lera Auerbach Plays Her Preludes and Dreams, in 2006. This should not be taken to mean that her work is a cottage industry, as Auerbach's music has been widely commissioned and taken on by performers from around the globe, including the Peterson Quartett, David Finckel and Wu Han, and the Royal Danish Ballet.
Auerbach is also recognized as an accomplished poet among Russian speakers. Her first volume of verse, Sorokolunie (Forty Moons) contained poems that dated back to the time she was 11; issued in 1995, it earned her the distinction of "Poet of the Year" from the International Pushkin Society. Although her music is respected in Russia, her literary work is better known there, with certain verses already established as part of the curriculum in modern Russian language studies in her homeland. Read less