Peter Rösel


Born: February 2, 1945
Few pianists from any generation have performed a range of repertory comparable to that of German pianist Peter Rösel. But it is not just Rösel's vast repertory that makes him stand out, it is his mastery of it. From Haydn and Mozart, on through the most challenging works of the twentieth century, Rösel has demonstrated an interpretive grasp of many styles, with a technique to surmount virtually any challenge, including those presented by that daunting pair of concertos from the early twentieth century: the Prokofiev Second and Rachmaninov Third. Stylistically, Rösel tended to have a less light-fingered approach to Mozart and a more muscular way with Debussy than was usual, but he generally made a strong case for his thoughtful interpretations. He may have led an even more successful career had he lived free from the suffocating restraints of Soviet-dominated East Germany. Along with his huge repertory, Rösel made numerous recordings starting in the late '60s, many of which have been reissued in the new century. His recordings are available on a variety of labels, including EMI, Brilliant Classics, Berlin Classics, Capriccio, and others.

Rösel was born into a musical family in war-torn Dresden, Germany, on February 2, 1945. He began playing the piano at six and quickly advanced. He studied with Dmitri Bashkirov and Lev Oborin at Moscow's Tchaikovsky Conservatory.

After capturing prizes in major competitions, including the 1966 Tchaikovsky International and the 1968 Montreal International Piano Competition, he emerged as one of the foremost young pianists from East Germany. In 1970 he began regularly appearing with Kurt Masur and the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester and performed as soloist with them in more than 200 concerts in the coming years.

From the late '60s, Rösel made a number of recordings for the East German label Eterna, much of whose catalog has been reissued on Berlin Classics in the new century. After 1970, Rösel's reputation grew steadily as he appeared with many of the world's major orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

In 1992 Rösel was invited by Masur to play the Rachmaninov Third Concerto with the New York Philharmonic at its 150th anniversary celebrations. While the pianist's activity in the recording studio began to taper off in the latter twentieth and early twenty first centuries, he has maintained a busy schedule of concerts across Europe, the U.S., and Asia.