Title/Position: Professor Emeritus, Piano, Accompanying and Chamber MusicProfile:
What would you say are the outstanding highlights of your professional life?
1. Winning First Prize in the International J.S. Bach Competition and being invited to the White House
2. Publication and recordings of my note-for-note transcriptions of the wonderful improvisations of George Gershwin and “Fats” Waller, taken down from the old recordings and radio broadcasts
3. Studying with members of the Juilliard String Quartet, with faculty of the Marlboro Festival, working with artist-teachers such as Jennie Tourel, Leonard Rose, Ivan Galamian, and Dorothy DeLay
4. Being offered the position at the Frost School of Music
5. Co-founding the UM Program for Singers and Pianists at Salzburg, Austria, and serving as Artist-faculty at the Academie Pianistique Internationale in Aix-en-Provence, France
Why do you teach?
Teaching is the most important, most creative and most completely rewarding function of my life in music. I continuously learn from my students, from studying their repertoire, by learning to articulate and explaining matters of technique, style, phrasing, structure, pacing. It brings me joy to be able to pass on all that I have painstakingly learned from my teachers, from my personal discoveries and musical experiences, and from my multifarious career as soloist, chamber musician, accompanist, concert presenter and administrator.
What do you hope to pass on to your students?
I want to pass on to my students the practical realities necessary to succeed: development of functional technique, good sight reading, understanding the framework of the music they are playing (biographies, historical context, knowledge of the composer’s works in other genres), stylistic awareness, ensemble skills, rehearsal skills, orchestral accompaniment score reduction, ability to transpose, ability to improvise. I also encourage students to develop good writing skills, write an effective resume, learn networking and entrepreneurial skills, speaking from the stage, publicize their concerts, learn to negotiate artist fees, and the importance of follow-through: posting flyers, making phone calls, maintaining email lists, and developing media contacts. I try to pass on the value of being a a well-rounded and multi-skilled musician—a collaborative and solo artist, not just a pianist.
“It is remarkably like having Gershwin himself in digital stereo.” (Speaking of Posnak’s CD, Gershwin’s Piano Improvisations)
“Posnak’s performances have the spontaneous character so necessary for Waller’s music, and he breezes through the hard-to-play passages with all the facility and verve of Liszt.”
Paul Posnak’s international career as a concert pianist, recording artist, transcriber and teacher began as a child prodigy with a full scholarship to the Juilliard Preparatory School at age eight.
He won First Prizes in the International J.S. Bach Competition as well as the Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York. He has performed at such venues as the
* White House
* Supreme Court
* Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
* Carnegie Recital Hall
* Alice Tully Hall in New York
and throughout Europe, South America, and Asia to critical acclaim.
A highly regarded collaborative artist, Dr. Posnak has worked with many world-renowned vocalists, including Luciano Pavarotti and Jennie Tourel, and performed and recorded with many of the world’s leading chamber ensembles, including the
* Emerson String Quartet
* Fine Arts String Quartet
* Vega String Quartet
* St. Petersburg String Quartet
* Amernet String Quartet
* Portland String Quartet
* Bergonzi String Quartet
His fourteen recordings of solo and chamber works for labels such as
* Yamaha Disklavier Artist Series
A new CD recording, The Tangos of Ernesto Nazareth, was released in 2006 on the Cambria label. His recent film on Chopin, directed by documentary film maker Anthony Allegro, has attracted international attention.
In May, 2003, he gave a special performance for the Supreme Court of the United States. Since November 2005, Dr. Posnak has serves as a judge of the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. He is the Founding Artistic Director of the St. Martha-Yamaha Concert Series in Miami Shores, FL.
Dr. Posnak’s reconstructions of the brilliant solo improvisations of George Gershwin and Thomas “Fats” Waller from the old recordings and radio broadcasts have established him as a world authority.
His transcriptions of 16 of Thomas “Fats” Waller’s greatest solos have just been re-issued in their second edition by Hal Leonard. His arrangements of Gershwin Songs for Two Pianos were published by Alfred in 2007 and have been selected by the Murray Dranoff International Two-Piano Competition as the required work for the 2008 Competition.
Professor Emeritus Paul Posnak’s international career as a concert pianist, recording artist, transcriber and teacher began as a child prodigy with a full scholarship to the Juilliard Preparatory School at age eight. He won First Prizes in the International J.S. Bach Competition as well as the Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York. Now professor and program director in accompanying and chamber music for the University of Miami Frost School of Music, he has performed at such venues as the White House, the Supreme Court, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Carnegie Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall in New York and throughout Europe, South America, and Asia to critical acclaim.