Conductor; Performer; Producer (Music)
Steinway Artist Susan Merdinger has been internationally acclaimed in prestigious newspapers and journals for her stunning performances. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described her recital as a “daring, enormously joyous presentation which captured and transfixed the audience”. Fanfare Magazine declared that her CARNIVAL CD was “exquisitely detailed and full of life”. Jerry Dubins wrote of her Brahms Two Rhapsodies recording “These are the most potent and exciting performances of Brahms’s Rhapsodies I’ve personally ever encountered. If she never plays another note for the rest of her life— perish the thought—Susan’s playing of these two works alone would make her, in my book, one of the great pianists of all time”.
Presented by Artists International in her sold-out solo recital debut at Carnegie Recital Hall at the age of twenty-four, Merdinger has continued to grace the stages of some of the world’s best concert halls including Merkin Concert Hall, Diligentia Hall in the Hague, Henry Wood Concert Hall in Scotland’s National Orchestra Center, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall, Chicago’s Harris Theater for Music And Dance, Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center, Fullerton Hall at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Logan Center for the Performing Arts and the Chicago Symphony Center. Merdinger was presented in her International Debut Recital Tour under the sponsorship of the International Concert Administration with concerts in four European countries.
Merdinger’s live performances and recordings have been broadcast on WQXR, WFMT, WDAV, WMNR, CKWR (Canada), BRT-3 (Belgian National Radio), and BBC Television (United Kingdom). She been a featured guest artist on WQXR’s The Listening Room with Robert Sherman, WFMT’s Impromptu program with George Preston, Live from WFMT with Kerry Frumkin, the Pianoforte Salon Series with David Schwann, as well as the Cable TV show Bravura. Locally, Merdinger has performed for the Chicago Latino Music Festival, Fulcrum Point New Music Ensemble, and the Pilgrim Chamber Players, and is a frequent performer at the Northbrook Public Library. Her summer music festival performances include performances at the Chautauqua, Norfolk, Summit, Quimera (Mexico), Lake Tahoe, Fine Arts Music Society and Fontainebleau (France) Music Festivals.
Merdinger made her Chicago Solo Orchestral Debut at Harris Theater with The Chicago Philharmonic directed by Sony Classical Artist Mattia Rondelli and her International Orchestral Debut at the Sala Felipe Villanueva with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico directed by Gabriela Diaz Alatriste. She has toured Europe, Mexico and the USA and has collaborated with members of the New York Philharmonic, the New Jersey Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Jupiter Symphony, the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A noted interpreter of the music of Beethoven, Merdinger has recorded for Live from WFMT Beethoven’s Sonatas for Piano and Violin and Piano and Cello with cellist Steven Honigberg and violinists Ilya Kaler, Michaela Paetsch and David Yonan. Merdinger has been a Visiting Artist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series from 2012-2018, garnering standing ovations for her performances with the Tononi Ensemble. She also enjoys frequent collaboration with cellist Nazar Dzhuryn, now-retired CSO Principal Violist, Charles Pikler, members of the Highland Park Strings founded by cellist Lawrence Block, her four piano ensemble, Pianissimo!, her husband and duo piano partner, Steven Greene, and Merdinger’s family ensemble, The Five Greenes.
Highlights of the 2017–2020 seasons include being featured soloist in Cesar Franck’s Symphonic Variations and performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with co-soloists Michaela Paetsch and Steven Honigberg with the North Shore Chamber Orchestra. In October 2018, Merdinger returned for her second engagement with the Highland Park Strings performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and made her fourth appearance with the North Shore Chamber Orchestra in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Her solo recital appearances included a California tour, as well as performances in the Midwest and Northeast. Her successful debut with the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra in May 2019 performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 has led to re-engagement for April 2020 in a performance of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto No. 5 with conductor Mina Zikri, which was canceled due to the Pandemic, and rescheduled for October 2020 as a virtual live recording of Beethoven’s Concerto No.2, and a future invitation to perform Grieg’s Piano Concerto in a minor.
A passionate advocate of contemporary music, Merdinger has championed works by composers such as Morton Gould, Eric Ewazen, Augusta Read Thomas, Margarita Zelenaia, Elbio Barilari, Sandro Fazzolari, Aaron Copland, and Gabriela Lena Frank. Distinguished composers Ilya Levinson, Jeremy Beck and Aaron Alter have each dedicated piano works to Ms. Merdinger for which she performed the world and local premieres. Her prize-winning American Melting Pot CD, a CD featuring live concert recordings of contemporary music by five American composers, (Morton Gould, Fernando Vazquez, Aaron Alter, Elbio Barilari and Ilya Levinson), has garnered universal acclaim for its concept, interpretations, and recording quality. The American Melting Pot won a top Prize in the Ernst Bacon Award for American Music, a Gold Medal in the Global Music Awards, and Best Classical Album in the Clouzine International Music Awards.
Merdinger has collaborated with many conductors including Mina Zikri, Lawrence Rapchak, Glen Cortese, Gabriela Diaz Alatriste, James Rawie, Mattia Rondelli, Francesco Milioto, Ron Arden, Robert Hasty, Sandra Dackow, Ari Rudiakov, Marvin von Deck, Francis Akos, Michael Holian, Richard Thurston, Anatol Lysenka, Barry Hoffman, and Jerome Sala - with numerous orchestras including the State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, Chicago Philharmonic, the Northbrook Symphony, Tahoe Symphony Orchestra, Highland Park Strings, Rockland Symphony, Adelphi Chamber Orchestra, Lake Forest Civic Orchestra, Yonkers Philharmonic, Metropolitan Orchestra of New Jersey, Westchester Chamber Orchestra, Northwest Chicago Symphony Orchestra, North Shore Chamber Orchestra, Lake County Symphony Orchestra, and the Yale Concert Band.
Among her many honors, Merdinger is a First Prize Winner of the 2012 (Professional Solo) and 2017 (Professional Piano Duo) Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition, and the 2013 International Music Competition of France, and is a Winner of the Dewar’s Young Artists Award in Music (presented by the late Marvin Hamlisch), the Artists International Young Musicians Competition, the Artists International Distinguished Alumni Winners Prize, the IBLA Grand Prize Competition “Special Liszt Award”, and the Masterplayers International Music Competition. Her live performance of Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto won the 2nd Prize in the American Prize’s Lorin Hollander Award for Professional Piano Concerto Performance. She is also a laureate of the prestigious Harveys Leeds International Piano Competition, Montreal International Concours de Musique, William Kappell International Piano Competition and Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Competition. Ms. Merdinger won two Gold Medals in the Global Music Awards for her CD recordings which have received glowing reviews in publications such as American Record Guide, Classical Sentinel, Audiophile Audition, Fanfare Magazine, The Whole Note, and Classical Candor. Merdinger is also a Steinway-Spirio Recording Artist, having released several recordings of Beethoven, Chopin, Copland and Mendelssohn for the Steinway-Spirio Catalog. Her latest CDs, American Melting Pot and The Classical Style II contributed to her selection as a 2019 Honored Artist of The American Prize.
Merdinger completed her formal education at Yale University (B.A.), the Yale School of Music (M.M), the Manhattan School of Music (D.M.A.,abd), the Westchester Conservatory of Music (Artist Diploma), the Ecole Normale de Musique in Fontainebleau, France, and the Chautauqua and Norfolk Music Festivals where she held the coveted Patricia Benkman Marsh Scholarship and the Ellen Battel Stoeckel Fellowship. Merdinger inherited the great American and European traditions from her teachers who included Constance Keene, Claude Frank, Ward Davenny, Ozan Marsh, Seymour Lipkin, Elizabeth Parisot, and Gaby Casadesus. Susan studied conducting under Otto Werner Mueller and Robert Kapilow and has also had coachings and/or masterclasses with Peter Serkin, Phillipe Entremont, Byron Janis, Walter Hautzig, Karl Ulrich Schnabel, Emile Naumoff, Claude Hellfer, Tadeusz Kerner, and Mary Sauer. A highly regarded pedagogue and adjudicator, Ms. Merdinger’s students have consistently won top prizes in local and national competitions and admittance to top music schools and universities. Susan Merdinger is an Artist Faculty of the Summit Music Festival in New York, and Artistic Director and Founder of Sheridan Music Studio Presents, a not-for profit record label and management organization. Ms. Merdinger writes her own blog, Merdinger’s Musings, available on her website, www.susanmerdingerpianist.com, and she is a published Classical Music Reviewer for the Audio-Video Club of Atlanta, and the Chicago Music Examiner. She also performs her Merdinger’s Musings as a live weekly Livestream for IN.LIVE, a Silicon Valley-based company for which she serves as Advisory Board Member and Artistic Consultant.
In November 2019, Merdinger opened Sheridan Music Studio - Chicago in the historic Fine Arts Building, with her colleague and Co-Artistic Director, Dr. Svetlana Belsky. Together they are curators of a new concert series, “Music with a View”, co-hosts of a new video podcast conceived and produced by Susan and IN.LIVE - “Steinway Sundays with Susan and Svetlana”, and a new non-Classical concert series, “Blue Skies”, as well as directing a series of competitions and festivals for young musicians. The first one, “Beethoven with a View”, featured eighteen prodigious young musicians, adjudicated by an independent professional jury including noted early-music expert, David Schrader. The upcoming Young Artist Festival will be “Bach with a View” a two-day virtual event, with an International jury, masterclasses and prizes, for students ages 8 up to 23 years of age.
Merdinger has previously served on the Artist Faculty of New Music School of Chicago, Concordia University, and Powder Hill Music Studio. In addition to directing her Sheridan Music Studio of Highland Park and Chicago, Merdinger is a member of the Artist faculty of the Interharmony International Academy and Summer Music Festival in Europe and online.
Merdinger lives in Highland Park with her husband and Duo Piano partner, Steven Greene, their two cats Minnie and Ella and mini-poodle Chopin. Their three children, Cantor Stefanie Greene, soprano, Sarah Greene, violist, and Scott Greene, composer (aka Megaphonix) are all nationally and internationally recognized professional musicians.
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