Aleck Karis

Aleck Karis


Other pianists


Aleck Karis is a highly regarded American pianist, especially well known for his work in contemporary American music.

He obtained his bachelor's degree from the Manhattan School of Music and his masters from the Juilliard School in New York, and teaches piano at the University of California San Diego. He lists his main teachers as Artur Balsam, Beveridge Webster, and William Daghlian.

Although his repertory extends over the three centuries of piano music, he is best known for his work as pianist for such groups as Speculum Musicae, the Contemporary Music Group, the League-ISCM Chamber Players, and SONOR. With these and other modern-oriented groups he has played in such works as Sollberger's Angel and Song; Mamlock's Panta Rhei for piano trio; David Rakowski's Imaginary Dances; Wuorinen's Percussion Symphony; Babbitt's Arie da Capo and Groupwise; Crumb's Songs, Drones, and Refrains of Death; Lalo Schifrin's The Nick of Time; Jacob Druckman's Nor Spell nor Charm; William Kraft's Gallery 83; Wolpe's Oboe Quartet and Quintet with Voice; Rand Steiger's Double Concerto for piano and percussion; Poul Ruders' The Veils and Karl Aage Rasmussen's Movements on a Moving Line.

Karis has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Composers Recordings Inc., Bridge Records, Centaur, Nonesuch, and Koch International. As an accompanist his credits include the complete vocal music of Eliot Carter on the Bridge label, Laura Clayton's Cree Songs, and Tobias Picker's Romance for violin and piano. His solo piano recordings include an unusually programmed release on Bridge featuring music of Frédéric Chopin, Elliott Carter, and Robert Schumann, Roger Reynold's Variations for solo piano, a set of Mozart sonatas on Bridge, Eleanor Cory's Apertures, and the complete piano music (1911 - 1942) of Igor Stravinsky.

He has performed in concert with the New York's Y Chamber Symphony, St. Luke's Chamber Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and with various major symphony orchestras of the U.S. He has received a solo recitalist's fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two Fromm Foundation grants "in recognition of his commitment to music of our time."