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Lambert Orkis

Biography

Born: April 20, 1946  
Lambert Orkis is one of the most respected American pianists, particularly in the fields of chamber music and accompaniment, and as a proponent of modern piano music. He studied with Eleanor Sokoloff at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. After obtaining his degree there, he went on to obtain a Master's degree from the Esther Boyer College of Music of Temple University (also in Philadelphia), where his teacher was Maryan Filar. He Read more joined the Philadelphia Chamber Soloists, the Penn Contemporary Players of the University of Pennsylvania, and the Twentieth-Century Consort in Washington, D.C. Another early musical association was with the Temple University Music Festival and Institute, and he has maintained a recital partnership since those days of the early 1970s with cellist Barbara Haffner, a fellow member of the Philadelphia Chamber Soloists. He has been a member of piano faculty of the Boyer College of Temple University since 1968. As a teacher he stresses the teaching of modern repertory to his students and concentrates on chamber music performance.

Early in his career, Orkis was the chosen accompanist of legendary American soprano Eleanor Steber when that former star made her successful comeback concert and established a second career. Since Steber was especially interested in American art song and opera, he found himself developing a major interest in new American music, which led to his commissioning many new works from major composers. A very partial list of such compositions includes Richard Wernick's Piano Concerto, George Crumb's A Little Suite for Christmas, and works by James Primosch and Maurice Wright.

In the late '70s he served as pianist in a master class conducted by members of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C., of which famed cellist-conductor Mstislav Rostropovich was then music director. Rostropovich was so taken with Orkis' playing that he invited the pianist to become his recital pianist and created the position of principal keyboard player of the orchestra for him. In the latter capacity Orkis plays piano, celesta, harpsichord, and synthesizer. He found that there was a difference between playing as part of the general lush orchestral sonority and of playing as a concerto soloist in front of an orchestra. Calling it a "thrilling experience," he says he is challenged by the different skills such a position requires when compared to solo or chamber music work and says it "...helps me maintain razor-sharp listening and flexible reaction abilities." He retained that position when Leonard Slatkin succeeded Rostropovich as music director.

As Rostropovich's partner, the two played in the U.S. and Asia, including performances before Presidents Reagan, George Bush, and Clinton, King Hussein of Jordan, Emperor Akahito of Japan, and President Gandhi of India. In 1988, Orkis also formed a performance partnership with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, which he calls "a pinnacle of my professional life and a continual source of artistic fulfillment." With her he has also performed before major world leaders, including the presidents of France and Germany, the Queen of Spain, and the King and Queen of Sweden. In 1998, the two gave 85 performances, playing all ten Beethoven violin sonatas exclusively, then recorded the cycle in live concerts in Wiesbaden, Germany. This Deutsche Grammophon recording won the NPR Performance Today Critics' Choice Award.

He is also a member of the Castle Trio, a major chamber group associated with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, playing on instruments from the Smithsonian collection that are appropriate to the era of the music and has recorded on fortepianos. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 44 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Silver Album / Mutter, Orkis
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002054902 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Fritz Kreisler,  Gabriel Fauré,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Lambert Orkis
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  • 2.
    Beethoven: Spring & Kreutzer Sonatas / Mutter, Orkis
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001875602 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Lambert Orkis
    CD: $10.99
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  • 3.
    Schubert: Lieder On Record (1898-2012) [17-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 27575 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Peter Schreier,  Steven Zehr,  Thomas Hampson,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 4.
    A Tribute To Fritz Kreisler
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001637702 Release Date: 01/17/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Fritz Kreisler,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Ruggiero Ricci,  Brooks Smith,  Fritz Kreisler,  Haddon Squire  ... 
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  • 5.
    Anne-Sophie Mutter - The Complete Musician [Highlights]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001587502 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Max Bruch  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Antonio Meneses,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Bruno Giuranna  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Witold Lutoslawski,  André Previn,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
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  • 6.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 414 Release Date: 02/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Chatman,  Robert P. Morgan,  Joe Hudson
    Performer:  Robert Onofrey,  John Loban,  Maura Chatman,  Carole Morgan  ... 
    Conductor:  Sydney Hodkinson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eastman Musica Nova
    CD: $13.99
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  • 7.
    Brahms: Violin Sonatas No 1-3 / Anne-Sophie Mutter, Lambert Orkis
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001476702 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Lambert Orkis
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  • 8.
    Brahms: Violin Sonatas nos 1-3 / Anne-Sophie Mutter, Lambert Orkis
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 0734617 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Lambert Orkis
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  • 9.
    Schubert: Lieder
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 28598 Release Date: 08/10/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Arleen Augér,  Lambert Orkis
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  • 10.
    Zen Voices
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 28443 Release Date: 05/18/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Gabriel Fauré,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Natalie Dessay,  Lambert Orkis,  Arleen Augér,  Barbara Hendricks  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Schoenwandt,  Daniel Barenboim,  Laurence Equilbey,  Paavo Järvi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cellos ensemble of the Orchestre de Paris,  Ensemble Matheus,  Ensemble Orchestral de Paris  ... 
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  • 11.
    Past & Present - Beethoven: Complete Variations & Sonatas For Cello & Piano
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 90910 Release Date: 09/29/2009   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  David Hardy,  Lambert Orkis
    On sale! $24.99
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  • 12.
    Veritas - Mozart: Violin Sonatas / Jaap Schroder, Lambert Orkis
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas   Catalog: 93218 Release Date: 05/19/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Lambert Orkis,  Jaap Schröder
    CD: $12.99
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  • 13.
    Franchomme/Chopin: Grand Duo Concertant, Etc / Bylsma, Orkis
    Label: Sony Classical Vivarte Series   Catalog: 53980 Release Date: 08/05/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Auguste Franchomme,  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Marji Danilow,  Anner Bylsma,  Vera Beths,  Guus Jeukendrup  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  L'Archibudelli,  Smithsonian Chamber Players
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  • 14.
    The Beauty of Two / Kennedy Center Chamber Players
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 90705 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bohuslav Martinu,  Francis Poulenc,  Paul Hindemith,  Edvard Grieg
    Performer:  David Hardy,  Lambert Orkis,  Toshiko Kohno,  Daniel Foster
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kennedy Center Chamber Players
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  • 15.
    Mozart: The Violin Sonatas / Mutter, Orkis
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000724409 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Lambert Orkis,  Anne-Sophie Mutter
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 16.
    Mozart: Violin Concertos, Sonatas, Trios / Mutter
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000724609 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Lambert Orkis,  Daniel Müller-Schott,  André Previn
    Conductor:  Anne-Sophie Mutter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Salzburg
    DVD: $89.99
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  • 17.
    Brahms: Sonatas For Piano And Cello / Bylsma, Orkis
    Label: Sony Classical Vivarte Series   Catalog: 9958 Release Date: 09/11/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Anner Bylsma,  Lambert Orkis
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 18.
    Louis Moreau Gottschalk: Piano Music / Lambert Orkis
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9206 Release Date: 10/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Moreau Gottschalk
    Performer:  Lambert Orkis
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  • 19.
    Simply Anne-Sophie
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000718902 Release Date: 10/10/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  André Previn,  Pablo de Sarasate,  George Gershwin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  André Previn,  Lambert Orkis
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 20.
    Mozart: The Violin Sonatas / Anne-Sophie Mutter, Lambert Orkis
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000710202 Release Date: 09/19/2006   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Lambert Orkis,  Anne-Sophie Mutter
    CD: $49.99
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  • 21.
    Brahms: Complete Viola Works / Dann, Orkis
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 22350 Release Date: 08/01/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Steven Dann,  Susan Platts,  Lambert Orkis
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  • 22.
    Beethoven: Appassionata  / Orkis
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9169 Release Date: 04/26/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Lambert Orkis
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  • 23.
    20th Century Consort
    Label: Innova   Catalog: 605 Release Date: 02/17/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Crumb,  William Penn,  Dexter Morrill,  Maurice Wright
    Performer:  James Primosch,  Lambert Orkis
    CD: $14.99
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  • 24.
    From Hammers To Bytes - Wernick, Primosch / Lambert Orkis
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9131 Release Date: 05/27/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  James Primosch,  Richard Wernick
    Performer:  Lambert Orkis
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  • 25.
    Tango Song And Dance / Mutter, Previn, Orkis
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000005802 Release Date: 04/08/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  André Previn,  Johannes Brahms,  George Gershwin,  Fritz Kreisler  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  André Previn,  Lambert Orkis
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