John Ferguson, pianist

John Ferguson’s performances have been praised for their “proselytizing zeal--along with fleet fingers, power, and fine dynamic control” (Boston Globe) and “impressive qualities of pianistic brilliance, strength, intellect and sensitivity” (Sacramento Bee).  Ferguson has performed solo recitals in major cities throughout the US, including concert series’ and festivals in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, San Diego, and Providence.  Ferguson’s performances have been heard on radio stations WFMT-Chicago, WMBC-Baltimore, KZSU-Palo Alto, KUOP-Stockton, and WFIU-Bloomington.

Currently his recital programs feature some of the most difficult and epic works in the keyboard literature, including Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata, Bach’s Art of Fugue, and Rzewski’s The People United Will Never be Defeated.  Ferguson’s performances have also included such rarities as Liszt’s arrangements of Beethoven’s symphonies, music from the renaissance and middle ages, and a wide range of contemporary music, including his own compositions.  This repertoire is sometimes presented in “multimedia” concerts, integrated with visual art, dance, and theater.

Ferguson is an active chamber musician in the Boston area, having performed at Jordan Hall, the Longy School of Music, Boston Conservatory, and Boston University among other venues.  These concerts include collaborations with violinist Jennifer Frautschi, trumpeter Stephen Burns, trombonists Scott Hartman and Norman Bolter, and hornist Eric Ruske.  As an orchestral soloist, he has recently appeared with the Melrose Philharmonic, North Shore Philharmonic, Atlantic Union College Orchestra and Mozart Society Orchestra at Harvard University. 

In 2002 Ferguson was a semifinalist in the Concert Artists Guild International Competition.  Other awards include Second Prize in the San Francisco State Young Pianists’ Competition and First Prize in the Lodi Symphony Concerto Competition.  As a composer Ferguson has received awards and honors from the Bakersfield Symphony, Composers’ Guild, ASCAP, Society of Composers, and American Composers Forum, who commissioned his brass quintet Part Park, Part Art.  Ferguson’s Piano Piece No. 4 was selected for performance at the Toronto 2000 international music conference.  

Ferguson holds a Doctoral degree in Piano from Indiana University, where he studied piano with Edward Auer and Menahem Pressler.  He has had masterclasses and lessons with Gilbert Kalish, Stephen Drury, Ursula Oppens, and Leonard Hokanson, and he studied composition privately with Lukas Foss.  As an undergraduate he majored in both Piano and Violin at the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music, and as a graduate student at Indiana studied conducting, composition and violin intensively while earning his degrees in piano.

Ferguson’s diversity as a musician has enriched not only his performances, but also his wide-ranging work as an educator.  He has taught numerous piano students of all levels--in community music schools, private lessons, and as an Associate Instructor at Indiana University.  He has also served as Adjunct Professor of Conducting at Atlantic Union College in Lancaster, Staff Accompanist at Boston Conservatory and Emerson College, and string instrument teacher in several public-school programs in Boston.  He currently works for the Brookline Public Schools, where he teaches string instruments and conducts the Brookline Youth Orchestra.

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