찰리 박 올브라이트
Vice-President-elect Joe Biden with Charlie Albright in December 2008
|Born||Washington, United States|
|Occupation(s)||Pianist, Composer, Improviser|
Charlie Albright (Korean: 찰리 박 올브라이트) is an American-born classical pianist, composer, and improviser. He is an official Steinway Artist, 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant Recipient, 2010 Gilmore Young Artist (2010) and former Young Concert Artist. He graduated from Harvard College (B.A.) and the New England Conservatory (M.M.) as the first classical pianist in the schools' five-year BA/MM Joint Program, was named the Leverett House Artist in Residence for 2011–2012, and was one of the 15 Most Interesting Seniors of the Harvard College Class of 2011. He graduated from the Juilliard School of Music with his post-graduate Artist Diploma (A.D.) in 2014.
Albright is a frequent collaborator with Yo-Yo Ma. The New York Times has praised Albright's "jaw-dropping technique" and described his playing as "virtuosity with a distinctive musicality throughout." The New York Concert Review wrote that Albright's playing is "as good as it gets."The Washington Post declared that "Albright is among the most gifted musicians of his generation." The Philadelphia Inquirer published that "his personality was evident in his way of shaping a phrase with a kind of extravagance that had showmanship but never felt cheap. With a fresh, clean, crystalline sound, he played with a kind of ease and smoothness that refuses to airbrush the music, but animates it from within. [He] brought the art of classical-music improvisation to a new level." Albright lives in New York City.
- 1 Childhood
- 2 High school/early college
- 3 College/graduate school career
- 4 2011-2012 concert season
- 5 2012-2013 concert season
- 6 2013-2014 concert season
- 7 2014-2015 concert season
- 8 2015-2016 concert season
- 9 2016-2017 concert season
- 10 Discography
- 11 Sponsorship
- 12 Reception
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Albright was born in the U.S. Army hospital within Fort Lewis, near Tacoma, Washington. His mother, Hyesoo, was a computer database specialist who was born in Seoul, and his father, Jeff Albright, was a U.S. Navy serviceman; the two married in Korea and then settled in Washington in 1987. About a year after Albright was born the family moved to Centralia where he was raised. Albright has a younger sister named Lillian. Albright says he began to play the piano at age three-and-a-half, starting with "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" played by ear. From the age of four he appeared on state and national television. He began formal training in 1996, studying with Nancy Adsit of Olympia, Washington.
During his years with Adsit, Albright was selected five times as an Olympia Chapter representative to the Washington State Music Teachers Convention (WSMTA) and received a Beaux Arts Society scholarship. In 1998, he made his orchestral debut with the University of Puget Sound symphony. In 2000, he won prizes at the Central Washington University Sonatina/Sonata Festival and won the Olympia Chapter Concerto Festival, which led to a guest artist appearance with the Capital Area Youth Symphony in 2001.
Continuing to develop his performance career, Albright performed as part of the "Wonder Kids" concert in the Elsinore Piano Series in Salem, Oregon, in 2001 and performed in a concert with Tanya Stambuck of the University of Puget Sound the following January. Other performances throughout Washington included solo debuts with the Olympia Symphony Orchestra and the Seattle Philharmonic in 2002.
Albright's success continued as a prizewinner in the Northwest Chopin Festival on February 1, 2003, and first prize winner in the 2003 Washington State MTNA Senior Piano Competition. Other concerts that year included appearances on the Steinway Young Artists Series in Seattle, and a guest artist appearance with the Port Angeles Symphony in Port Angeles, Washington.
High school/early college
Albright attended Centralia High School, where he graduated in 2007. He also attended Centralia College as part of the Running Start Program, earning his Associate of Science Degree with Highest Honors in 2007.
Albright was selected as the youngest pianist in the Young Artist program of the 2004 TCU/Cliburn Piano Institute in Fort Worth, Texas. Additionally, he won the Washington State MTNA Senior Piano Competition a second time, the Northwest Division MTNA Senior Piano Competition in Missoula, Montana, and the Olympia Music Teachers Association Concerto Competition.
Albright was among the five winners in the 14–16-year-old division at the Northwest Chopin Competition held in February 2005. He played in the festival's Prizewinners' Concert at the Community Concerts Series in Centralia, Washington, and a concert with the Northwest Wind Symphony.
He was one of seven competitors in the 2005 National MTNA Senior Piano Competition.
Albright won the 2005 Washington State MTNA Senior Piano Competition for the third time, in November.
Albright won Second Prize in the 2006 Schimmel Senior International Piano Competition in Tempe, Arizona.
In June, he was the first pianist ever to win both the Solo and Ensemble Divisions of the 2006 New York Biennial National Piano Competition in New York, New York.
In August, he won first prize and all other prizes in the 2006 Eastman Young Artists' International Piano Competition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Other prizes included the "Audience Prize," the "Best Performance in a Master Class" prize, and the "Best Performance of a 21st Century Work" prize.
Albright won the 2006 Washington State MTNA Senior Piano Competition for the fourth time, in November. He won in his age group at the Chopin Northwest competition.
Albright gave a concert at the 5-year memorial of the 9/11/01 World Trade Center Attacks at New York's Trinity Church, a concert with the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Ensemble, and other concerts in Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts.
College/graduate school career
Albright was the first classical pianist in the Harvard/New England Conservatory 5-Year BA/MM Joint Program, where he received a bachelor's degree in economics and completed a pre-medical curriculum at Harvard College (Class of 2011). He was also simultaneously a Master of Music student in Piano Performance at the New England Conservatory of Music (Class of 2012). He was named the Harvard University Leverett House Artist in Residence for 2011–2012. During the school year he also played 32 concerts worldwide.
Albright won the 2007-2008 Harvard Bach Society Orchestra Competition as a freshman and performed the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto, No. 1 with the group in February 2008.
During the summer, he competed in the 2008 Sydney International Piano Competition in Sydney, Australia, where he finished as a semi-finalist and won the category for playing a Franz Liszt study piece (étude), and was given a prize for the "Best Performance of a 21st Century Work in Stage 1."
On December 1, the pianist performed for the first time with cellist Yo-Yo Ma at the Harvard ceremony presenting the late Senator Ted Kennedy with an Honorary Doctorate degree. At the ceremony, guests included Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Senator John Kerry, and then Vice-President-Elect Joe Biden.
In February, Albright competed in the IV Minnesota International Piano-e-Competition, performing at a piano salon in New York City, but he was not selected to continue after this preliminary round. Albright competed at the Top of the World International Piano Competition in Norway in June 2009. He rose through the first round to compete in the second round but he was not one of the top three finishers. He competed in the Vendome Prize International Piano Competition in Vienna and, though he was not selected among the top five finishers, he was given a special award by pianist and jury member Elisabeth Leonskaja.
Albright was one of four winners of the 2009 Young Concert Artists International Auditions where he won the Paul A. Fish First Prize, the Ruth Laredo Award, the Sander Buchman Prize, the Ronald A. Asherson Prize, and the Sander Buchman Prize, as well as four performance prizes.
Albright performed approximately 28 times in the 2009-2010 Concert Season. Concert venues included those in Paris, Los Angeles, Boston, Michigan, and New York. In November 2009 Albright received the 2010 Gilmore Young Artist Award, given to two pianists biannually. Albright was granted $15,000 with an additional $10,000 for the commissioning of a new composition for piano.
He gave six concerts as a 2010 Gilmore Young Artist at the 2010 Gilmore Keyboard Festival in Michigan, where he received a review describing his playing as "Poetry in motion... with flair as well as fireworks... Maturity might be a given for a Gilmore Young Artist. But Albright's professional polish was evident, not simply in the way he played the piece, but in the manner he played with the orchestra, as opposed to against or merely alongside it." The review concluded that "This college kid... is going places in music," and that "In Royce Auditorium on Thursday, Albright was number one all the way."
Named scholarship and signature piano
During September 2009, seven students at the Centralia College received the "Charlie Albright Scholarship," organized by the Centralia College Foundation from funds raised by a concert Albright gave in 2008. In December 2009, Centralia College purchased an instrument they called the "Charlie Albright Piano" as a result of the "Charlie Albright Piano Project." Albright gave the inaugural performance on the nine-foot Model D Steinway, purchased for Corbet Theatre, on March 27, 2010.
On February 7, 2015, Albright raised over $14,000 at a fundraising benefit concert at the Centralia College for the benefit of the "Charlie Albright Scholarship" and maintenance of the "Charlie Albright Piano."
In Salt Lake City in June, Albright competed in the XV Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition but he was not among the six finalists. On July 22, 2010, Albright made his San Francisco Symphony debut with the Duke Ellington "New World A-Comin'" with conductor Alondra de la Parra. He ended with an encore of Liszt's La Campanella to a standing ovation.
Performances in Albright's 2010-2011 Concert Season also included concerts in Boston (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall with the Longwood Symphony Orchestra), New York (Merkin Concert Hall), and Washington, D.C. (John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts). He also gave master classes throughout the country.
After Albright's debut at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on February 14, 2011, The Washington Post wrote that "Albright is among the most gifted musicians of his generation." It continued that "An impressive range of differently colored sounds at the keyboard was matched by overwhelming virtuosity" and that Albright "leapt the most outrageous technical hurdles... with a sense of dangerous self-abandon that was thrilling to hear. At the same time, musical shape was never sacrificed to showmanship."
Albright was named the Harvard University Leverett House Artist in Residence for 2011-2012. Previous Artists in Residence at Leverett have included the likes of cellist Yo-Yo Ma (1979–1981). In December 2010, he was named one of the 15 Most Interesting Seniors of the Harvard College Class of 2011.
On May 26, 2011, Albright graduated from Harvard College with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in economics.
Albright released his first commercial album, Vivace, in February 2011.
In June, 2011, Albright was accepted to the roster of Steinway Artists.
Albright was the first Artist-in-Residence of the 2011-2012 season of American Public Media's Performance Today, hosted by Fred Child. As such, he gave a weeklong series of performances and interviews for the national radio program.
On May 20, 2012, Albright graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with a Master of Music (M.M.) degree in Piano Performance, having studied under Wha-Kyung Byun. He traveled to Spain to compete in the Paloma O'Shea Santander International Piano Competition, but he did not move past the first round. He was accepted as one of three pianists to the Juilliard School of Music's Artist Diploma (A.D.) program, where he studies with Yoheved Kaplinsky.
Albright was invited to give three All-Schubert solo concerts at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 2013, to which the Boston Musical Intelligencer wrote that the 25-year-old pianist was "unsurpassed" and "on the top tier." The author continued by writing that "It was gripping, frankly, both spellbinding and spellbound, quite unlike most such solo recitals I've heard over the decades."
The second of the three Schubert-cycle concerts at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was met with praise, with reviews hailing that "Albright is a born Schubert player. Albright has the requisite chops of a competition winner, but the beauty, sensitivity, and taste of a mature artist. His Schubert was ravishing, imaginative, poetic—full of poignancy and lyricism. His interpretation sounded spontaneous, but this was also heartfelt, mature playing. Everything had been thought out by a mind brimming with musical intelligence." 
On March 18, 2014, Albright was awarded the 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The award is "designed to give professional assistance and recognition to talented instrumentalists...who the Recommendation Board and Executive Committee of the Avery Fisher Artist Program believe to have great potential for major careers," and includes a $25,000 grant. The Executive Committee consists of such artists as pianist Emanuel Ax and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
2011-2012 concert season
Albright's 2011-2012 concert season included about 30 concerts and residencies throughout the United States. Highlights included a concert with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project commemorating the 10-year remembrance of the 9/11 attacks (September, 2011); guest artist appearances with such orchestras as the Phoenix Symphony (November, 2011) and the Lansing Symphony Orchestra in the 2012 Gilmore Keyboard Festival (May, 2012); masterclasses at universities; and solo concerts.
2012-2013 concert season
Albright's 2012-2013 concert season includes about 38 concerts and residencies, including a fifth concert with cellist Yo-Yo Ma in a roundtable discussion with dancer Damian Woetzel by the Aspen Institute Arts Program; guest artist appearances with the San Francisco Symphony (CA, 2nd time), Fort Smith Symphony (AK), Whatcom Symphony (WA), Great Falls Symphony (MT), Lafayette Symphony (IN), Fargo-Moorhead Symphony (ND), Olympia Symphony (WA), and Hilton Head Symphony (SC); and solo concerts at the Phillips Collection, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Mondavi Center at UC Davis.
2013-2014 concert season
Albright performed 77 concerts and outreaches/residencies during the 2013-2014 season. He made his orchestral and solo Canadian debuts with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and on the Vancouver Recital Society series. He also made a solo debut in South Korea at the Kumho Art Hall as part of the Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation's Rising Stars Series.
2014-2015 concert season
Albright gave a debut solo concert at the Rockport Music Festival on June 13, 2014 to critical acclaim (see "Reception" below). Highlights of the season include a 14-concert tour with conductor Keith Lockhart and the BBC Concert Orchestra, solo debuts at the Music Academy of the West, as well as debuts with vocalist/conductor Bobby McFerrin, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, the Tacoma Symphony, and the Victoria Symphony. Albright also made his debut in Finland with the Kymi Sinfonietta and conductor Alpesh Chauhan to critical acclaim. Tacoma Symphony was moved from the Rialto Theater to the larger Pantages Theater due to high demand for tickets.
Albright's 2015 BBC Concert Orchestra recording of the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2 with Keith Lockhart was chosen as among the "BBC Performing Groups Best of 2015." The tour was met with rave reviews, claiming that "the orchestra and Albright proceeded to demonstrate how much they deserve all their honors and awards" and that "The BBC and Albright (were) the best of the year."
2015-2016 concert season
Albright made his solo debut at Avery Fisher Hall in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts' Mostly Mozart Festival on August 11 and 12 of 2015. He also debuted as the guest artist with the Houston Symphony, Des Moines Symphony, Alabama Symphony, and California Symphony; and again with the Seattle Symphony. He performed solo concerts in such venues as Detroit's Orchestra Hall, and also returned to begin a cycle of three theme-and-variations themed concerts at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
In April 2016, Albright made his Chinese debut at the National Centre for the Performing Arts with the NCPA Orchestra in Beijing, performing the Starry Sky Concerto written by Xiaogang Ye, which premiered at the 2008 Beijing Olympics' Opening Ceremony.
2016-2017 concert season
Albright's 2016-2017 season includes debuts and engagements with the Baltimore Symphony, the Colorado Springs Symphony, and the Mobile Symphony. Solo recitals include performances at the Portland Piano International Summer Festival, the Rockefeller University, the Society of Four Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for the conclusion of a Themes and Variations cycle (Albright's second 3-concert cycle and 7th appearance at the venue), and a benefit concert at the Centralia College, which raised nearly $15,000 for the Charlie Albright Scholarship and Charlie Albright Piano.
Vivace is Albright's commercial debut album, released in February 2011. The album holds six works, concluding with a piece composed by Albright. The others are by Haydn, Menotti, Schumann-Liszt, Janáček and Chopin. All of the works were recorded on the Albright Steinway in Corbet Theatre at Centralia College.
The Schubert Series - Live - Pt. 1 was released in April 2017 as the first installment of a three-part series all-Schubert albums, recorded live in concert. Part 1 features Schubert's Opus 90 Impromptus and the Sonata in B-flat major, D 960.
Albright has been sponsored by individuals and organizations, including Elizabeth and James Watson; he lives in their Manhattan apartment. Albright was also sponsored by the Bagby Foundation for the Performing Arts.
Albright has received positive reviews in the media.
The Washington Post declared that "Albright is among the most gifted musicians of his generation." It continued that "An impressive range of differently colored sounds at the keyboard was matched by overwhelming virtuosity" and that Albright "leapt the most outrageous technical hurdles... with a sense of dangerous self-abandon that was thrilling to hear. At the same time, musical shape was never sacrificed to showmanship." With regards to Albright's 2015 tour with Keith Lockhart and the BBC Concert Orchestra, they wrote that Albright "made quite an impression. He is full of ideas...and has a dazzling natural keyboard affinity. He does not have an overpowering sonority (fingers more velvet than steel) but a lot of nuance." After an April 24, 2015 concert, the DC Metro Theater Arts wrote that "Albright was brought back to perform an encore: the audience picked four musical notes and he improvised a piece using those four notes as a base. To hear the initial sequence of four notes and then what an elaborate, beautiful piece Albright turned those simple notes into was thrilling. To listen to his own improvisation, and the emotion he poured into this simple piece...really showed his skill and passion for the piano and for music."
The Philadelphia Inquirer published that ""Such a display still has novelty, though Albright didn’t need it, so distinctive were his improvisational ideas and overall presence. Though the demure lyricism of “Fur Elise” is something one associates with music boxes, Albright took off from it in what turned into a tour of 19th-century pianism. As clever as he sounds, Albright, in fact, gave the improvisation something I rarely witness in such settings: a highly personal emotional depth, as if he was expressing his inner self rather than simply exercising his powers of invention. This concert brought the art of classical-music improvisation to a new level. Of course, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 was bound to show a more filtered version of Albright — it’s a tightly written concerto — though his personality was evident in his way of shaping a phrase with a kind of extravagance that had showmanship but never felt cheap. With a fresh, clean, crystalline sound, he played with a kind of ease and smoothness that refuses to airbrush the music, but animates it from within. You simply hear more Beethoven than usual and with a kind of rhythmic momentum that makes you listen more closely, no matter how familiar the music has become. And yes, he improvised the first-movement cadenza as Beethoven himself might have.”
The Boston Musical Intelligencer wrote that if Albright "is not indisputably first among equals, he seems to me unsurpassed, anyway, and on the top tier. I will be surprised to hear another performance at this level very soon. It was gripping, frankly, both spellbinding and spellbound, quite unlike most such solo recitals I've heard over the decades." On a separate occasion, they wrote that "Albright has the requisite chops of a competition winner, but the beauty, sensitivity, and taste of a mature artist. is Schubert was ravishing, imaginative, poetic—full of poignancy and lyricism. It would seem Albright is a born Schubert player, whose taste is simply impeccable. His interpretation sounded spontaneous, but this was also heartfelt, mature playing. Everything had been thought out by a mind brimming with musical intelligence." In response to his improvised encore, they wrote that "Albright is a master of improvisation." 
The New York Concert Review wrote that "Albright is a pianist whose name music-lovers will be hearing more and more. Winner of a slew of awards, most prominently a 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Mr. Albright is now in the company of musicians who have become household names…Ursula Oppens, Richard Stoltzman, Joshua Bell, Hillary Hahn, Yuja Wang, and many others who have made their marks. Mr. Albright will undoubtedly lend his own additional distinction to this already illustrious group. This concert, an evening not to be forgotten. He displayed a joy in his playing that was utterly infectious. Beethoven, for one, felt new, because as casual as Mr. Albright was in his stage style and commentary, he was equally intense in his high-powered performances. The finale…took on a fire of the master’s Op. 57 or 111. It was brilliant, precise, and powerful. In fact, throughout the entire evening, he displayed a joy in playing that was utterly infectious. He disarms jaded concertgoers with an openness and humility that for some reason we are not prepared to expect. Albright brings a vibrant spirit and limitless range for performances. He possesses a kind of intellect that doesn’t stop growing and will no doubt continue to surprise as his career progresses. The Etude No. 11 (“Winter Wind”), was, as they say, “as good as it gets” – and so was No. 12 (“The Ocean”). The improvisation was…spectacular, and the spontaneity, even with stylistic similarity to Chopin and Rachmaninoff, kept one on the edge of one’s seat. The improvisation alone was worth the trip. Bravo – and encore!" 
On June 13, 2014, Albright gave a debut solo recital in the Rockport Music Festival, where the Boston Musical Intelligencer declared that the "piano sensation gave an impassioned and masterful performance." It continued that "Albright, who possesses titanic technical skill and much emotional sensitivity, parted the gloomy skies with a sparkling stage-side manner, a welcoming sense of informality, and the artistic willingness and musical chops to include improvisation on the program, a still-rare skill that is being resuscitated by our best artists." Regarding Chopin's Op. 25 etudes, the review stated that "Albright launched into the 12-piece set, forming it with the coherency of a piano symphony."
Albright's European orchestral debut in Finland with the Kymi Sinfonietta was met with critical acclaim. The Kymen Sanomat wrote that "Charlie Albright captured its sound world and structures with unfailing mastery. His total immersion in the composer’s innermost being continued in the dreamy, bubbling Andante, from which burst the majestic Grande Polonaise for piano and orchestra. It is a most brilliant work of its kind. In the hands of this soloist, the texture, bathed in full splendour, flowed along with an effortless virtuosity enlivened by a primitive rhythmic drive and a refined piano tone. The arrangement of W.A. Mozart’s Rondo alla Turca heard as an encore soared like a magnificent firework in which virtuosity knew no bounds."
After Albright's May 15, 2015 concert with the West Michigan Symphony Orchestra, mLive.com wrote that "The ultimate goal is to enjoy music with pure delight and unbridled passion. The virtuoso talent of (Albright)...offered a glimpse of how that can be achieved."
Albright's 2015 USA tour with Conductor Keith Lockhart and the BBC Concert Orchestra was chosen as one of the "BBC Performing Groups Best of 2015."
On October 3, 2016, Albright concluded a second three-concert cycle at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where he was raved as the "Undisputed Master of Variations." It was published that "Many pianists possess great technique; many retain a broad repertoire. Charlie Albright has something extra: the propensity to make concerts riveting, fun and exhilarating. His unique way of communing with the music merges his intentions with the composer’s, bringing freshness of vision and unique expressive ability to his performances." In his performance of Handel, “Albright played it as a fellow musician-composer, in intimate communion with the essentials of the music.” With regards to Albright's Kapustin, "Two right hands are just what Albright has, and in his hands the jazziness was not only emphasized, but was perfectly executed in the best rendition of this work that you are likely to hear. At times he seemed to be channeling Art Tatum, the difficult rhythms seeming effortless and natural, the variations the essence of jazz." In the improvised encore of themes-and-variations based on notes from the audience "Each new variation disclosed a distinctive quality, ranging from urgent to lyrical, solemn to adventurous, shifting from waltz to march to ballade and more—all while maintaining the overall coherence of the idiom. A vast momentum gathered before coming to a convincing cadence.” 
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