Karen Kushner Image

Karen Kushner

Adjunct Associate Professor of Piano

Karen Kushner (The Juilliard School, MM; Northwestern University, BM) is active as soloist and chamber musician (Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall; Kosciuszko Foundation; Chopin Foundation; United Nations; National Gallery of Art; Phillips Collection; Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series). She toured internationally, recorded and taught with the late Igor Kipnis as a member of the Kipnis-Kushner Duo, Piano: Four Hands. She participated in summer festivals (Aspen, Newport, Ravinia, Skaneateles); and in Europe, festivals in Spain, France, and Poland.

In New York City, Kushner taught at the Mannes College of Music, Turtle Bay Music School, and for many years maintained a private studio. She is sought after as a writer of articles and book reviews, program notes (Carnegie Hall) and liner notes. She has been featured nationally on radio and television. Kushner’s recordings for Connoisseur Society; Epiphany; VAI and Albany Records, as well as recordings by the Kipnis-Kushner Duo (Parnassus, Palatine) have been highly recommended by Newsday, Fanfare, and Stereophile. Her newest solo recording (Brahms, Clara and Robert Schumann) was released by Palatine Recordings to great critical acclaim (from the Washington Post's Pulitzer Prize-winning former head critic, Tim Page: "Kushner's playing is exemplary throughout the album, but I am especially happy with her rendition of Schumann's Kreisleriana, eight miniatures welling over with fantasy and invention that demand a pianist who will not only read the notes but give herself entirely to the composer's opulent, idiosyncratic cosmos. This is a beautiful disc."

When I was a child, one of life’s great pleasures was being read aloud to. I would listen for hours, wide-eyed and enthralled, hanging on the reader’s every word. And I took the stories I loved best—fairy tales and myths—into my heart. From an early age, literature was personal.

There was always music in my house growing up, all kinds of music. Sinatra’s agile stylings were on equal footing with a well-worn disc of Swan Lake. I listened, wide-eyed and enthralled, and took what I loved best into my heart. Music was personal.

And so it remains. Now I am a pianist and I recreate myths and fairy-tales through sound. I sculpt tones, I dance rhythms, I paint aural poetry. My hope is that people will listen, wide-eyed and enthralled, and take the musical stories they love best into their hearts.  —Karen Kushner