Andrew Rosenblum, Chicago-based harpsichordist and pianist, is highly sought after as both a soloist and collaborative artist.
In May 2017, he won second prize in the harpsichord category of the 69th annual Prague Spring International Music Competition and also was awarded best performance of Harpsycho by Petr Wajsar, which had been commissioned for the competition.
Andrew joined the piano staff of the Chicago Symphony Chorus last year and also works as a rehearsal pianist for the Music of the Baroque Chorus. He plays harpsichord continuo for several early music ensembles in Chicago, including Haymarket Opera and Third Coast Baroque, and has appeared in recital with the Bach Week Festival. In 2015 Andrew was a harpsichord soloist in Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 with Yo-Yo Ma and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
Active in the new music community in Chicago, Rosenblum performed in all three concerts of the 2017 Chicago Ustvolskaya Festival. He has premiered works by many living composers and has recorded for multiple upcoming CD releases the songs of Lori Laitman. In February he is scheduled to participate in a retrospective of Julius Eastman’s work at the Chicago Cultural Center.
His conducting debut, in September 2017, was in the New York Opera Society’s production at the National Gallery of Art of Gisle Kverdokk's opera Letters from Ruth. In November last year he conducted “The Three Lives of Rosina Almaviva,” a NYOS production which included music by Mozart, Rossini, and Kverndokk.
In 2015, Andrew was the pianist for the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “Opera in the Neighborhoods” production of Second Nature by Matthew Aucoin. He has performed vocal recitals at Alice Tully Hall and The Kennedy Center and looks forward to performing contemporary American art song at Carnegie Hall in May. He has performed internationally in Mexico, Canada, St. Lucia, and the Czech Republic.
A member of the collaborative piano faculty of the Heifetz International Music Institute since June 2015, he also works as a pianist for vocal and instrumental studios at DePaul and Northwestern Universities. Prior to moving to Chicago he worked as a staff
pianist at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, and the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest®.
He received his master's degree in collaborative piano and harpsichord from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Anita Pontremoli, Peter Bennett, and Janina Ceaser. He currently studies harpsichord with the internationally-renowned harpsichordist Jory Vinikour.
Hear Andrew in Oratorio per la Settimana Santa March 8 & 10, 2018 - Get your tickets now!
How did you get started in music?
I started playing the piano when I was 5 and was surrounded by classical music before I was even born! My older siblings started studying piano at the ages of 4 and 6, so I was following in their footsteps. My mom is a professional composer, and my dad, while not a professional musician, plays several instruments.
How did you come to play your instrument?
My great-grandmother sold many of her possessions in order to buy an upright piano for her children, and she made a vow that all of her descendants would learn how to play the piano! When I was a sophomore in college, I took a baroque chamber music class at California Institute of the Arts, where I played harpsichord for the first time and instantly fell in love with the instrument.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a musician?
How to juggle the many different aspects of my professional music career. I play both piano and harpsichord, conduct, teach, and compose. It can be difficult to find enough hours in the day and to decide what to spend my time working on.
Do you have a favorite performer?
I have dozens of favorite performers, so here’s a small list: Jacqueline du Pré, Blandine Rannou, Aretha Franklin.
What are a few of your favorite books about music?
The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross and Grapefruit by Yoko Ono.
What else are you reading?
Currently, I’m reading Tchaikovsky’s Guide to the Practical Study of Harmony, Bear by Marian Engel, Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven by John Eliot Gardiner, and Ferguson Interview Project by Ama Birch.
Who are your favorite 17th- and 18th-century composers?
J.S. Bach is my favorite of all composers. I also love François Couperin, Rameau, Mozart, Beethoven, and Handel.
If you were stranded on a desert island, is there one piece of music you would like to have with you?
J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor.
What drew you to early music and period instrument performance?
I fell in love with the sound of the harpsichord the first time I ever played it. I’ve always had a very special relationship with J.S. Bach’s music, and it felt so right to play Bach on the harpsichord after so many years of only playing his music on the piano.
How many instruments do you own?
I own two harpsichords and a piano.
Which one do you play the most?
I play my French double manual harpsichord and my Steinway piano about equally, and I generally only play my smaller harpsichord when I need to rehearse at modern pitch.
What are the main differences between your period instrument and its modern version?
The harpsichord produces sound when a plectrum plucks a single string, whereas the piano produces sound when a hammer hits either one, two, or three strings at the same time. Phrasing on the harpsichord is controlled through articulation and timing, whereas on the piano, dynamics play a much larger role.
What do you love about HOC?
This will be my first time performing with HOC, so I’ll get back to you about that!
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not making music?
My two favorite things are eating delicious food and dancing!
What is the first thing you think about in the morning?
How grateful I am to spend another day with loved ones pursuing my passion.
How would you describe the relationship between you and your instrument?
I put my entire soul into it, and it blesses me daily.
Who are your musical heroes?
J.S. Bach, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Yo-Yo Ma.
If you had to play only one composer for the rest of your career, whom would you choose?
What music do you listen to most often?
Probably a tie between classical music and samba.
If you had not been a musician what do you think you would have done instead?
I would most likely be a mathematician – my other childhood love was math!