Born in Oradell, New Jersey in 1993, Drew Petersen began his career as a pianist at an early age. He was presented at Carnegie Hall at age 5, and at 10 he performed a solo recital for Steinway’s 150th Anniversary. He is the winner of the 2017 American Pianists Award and the Christel DeHaan Fellowship of the American Pianists Association. Petersen graduated cum laude from Harvard at 19 with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Social Science and completed both his undergraduate and graduate music studies at The Juilliard School, where he was recently accepted into the prestigious Artist Diploma program. He regularly performs internationally at some of the world’s most esteemed festivals and venues, and his gifts have been profiled in The New York Times, New York Magazine, in the documentary Just Normal, and in Andrew Solomon’s book, Far From the Tree.
|BACH||Toccata in F♯ Minor, BWV 910|
|GRIFFES||Fantasy Pieces, Op. 6|
|BARBER||Piano Sonata in E-flat Minor, Op. 26|
|CHOPIN||Three Waltzes, Op. 34|
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Prodigious pianist Drew Petersen is the winner of the 2017 American Pianists Awards and the Christel DeHaan Fellowship of the American Pianists Association and has been named Artist-in-Residence for two years by the University of Indianapolis, commencing in the fall of 2017.
When Petersen is not at the keys, he is thinking of them—as is evidenced by illustrator Wilhelm Busch’s “Der Virtuos” (The Virtuoso) hanging on his bedroom wall. The piece follows a pianist through the arc of a performance in 15 frames, culminating in a climactic end, arms and body ablur as he moves frenetically over the keys. A fixture in his home, Petersen still chuckles at the piece. While he can relate to the musician’s passion, gesturally his style could not be more different. Rather than flashy and dramatic, Petersen is more deliberate and thoughtful, in control.
Perhaps that is what drove Petersen to prevail in the American Pianists Awards distinctively rigorous, 13-month-long competition. It is the latest accolade in a decorated young career. Petersen has been a prizewinner in the Leeds International Piano Competition, the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition and the New York Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition, among others.
As far back as he can remember, Petersen was always banging on a piano in the living room of his childhood home, pretending to read sheet music. It was only natural for his mother to channel her son’s energy toward piano—unlocking an extraordinary natural talent.
Petersen was presented at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall at age five and by age 10 he was presented in a solo recital at Steinway Hall in Manhattan for the company’s 150th Anniversary. The New York Times has written about the early performances of the gifted, “freckle-faced 10-year-old who still impresses adults with his intelligence, maturity, and depth” and New York Magazine prominently featured Petersen in an article about child prodigies. Petersen’s extraordinary gifts were also chronicled in the documentary Just Normal and in Andrew Solomon’s book, Far From the Tree, which featured case studies of exceptional children.
Petersen graduated cum laude from Harvard at age 19 with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Social Science and did his undergraduate and graduate music studies at the Juilliard School, the former as a recipient of the prestigious Kovner Fellowship. He was recently accepted into the prestigious Artist Diploma program at the Juilliard School.
An avid traveler, Petersen’s emerging career frequently takes him abroad, where he sets out to discover new foods and meet locals as eagerly as he performs for new audiences. Overseas engagements include recitals at the Musica e Arte Festival in Tolentino, Italy, Verbier Festival in Verbier, Switzerland and Euro Arts Music Festival in Leipzig, Germany.
It’s always a happy coincidence when Petersen’s travels take him somewhere near the ocean—a calming, grounding environment that’s as much an inspiration for his own music-making as it is an escape. He raced competitively as a child and continues his love of swimming with regular open water swims of 1-2 miles.