The Recipe for a Great Pianist: Bronfman Style

By Maya Kleinsorge


Studying in the arts I am constantly surrounded by those who have the same rigorous passion for leadership in the arts. This can include people from across the arts spectrum, from those who write poetry to those who sing opera. When I meet someone who is singing opera, for example, I always have a string of questions that filters through my brain. What influences them to sing opera? Why did they choose music school? Where did they learn they could sing?

Hearing that Yefim Bronfman, a critically-acclaimed pianist, was coming to Wharton Center, I thought those same questions. I wanted to learn more about Bronfman at different stages of his career, and why he now plays renowned pieces such as Schubert’s masterful Piano Sonata No. 19 in places like Carnegie Hall and the Cobb Great Hall.

Bronfman (c) Oded Antman

Yefim was born post-World War II in Tashkent, Soviet Union – now Russia – to a pianist mother and violinist father. His mother was his first piano teacher, while his father taught violin to his older sister.

When Yefim was 15, his family immigrated to Israel where he studied with Arie Vardi (head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel). While a student there, 18-year-old Bronfman was invited to play at the Marlboro Festival in Vermont. Every artist has a specific medium, or way of doing things that are individual to them, defining who they are. After this 1976 festival, Yefim knew he was right where he belonged.

The rest is history. Bronfman went on to study in America at The Juilliard School, Marlboro School of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music. He is now internationally recognized as one of today’s most acclaimed and admired pianists, and he is among a handful of artists regularly sought by festivals, orchestras, conductors, and recital series.


At Wharton Center, Fima (as he’s called by friends) will bring a repertoire to include Debussy’s iconic Suite Bergamasque, featuring the famous third movement, Claire de lune, and Robert Schumann’s joyous Humoreske. This Grammy®-winning artist’s technique, power and lyricism leave audiences in awe. 

“… one of the most gifted and brilliant and versatile [pianists around].” –The Washington Post

Watch this piano legend set the keys on fire Tuesday, April 2, at 7:30pm in Cobb Great Hall at Wharton Center.  Don’t miss the Insight Preview at 6:45 with WKAR host Jamie Paisley, free for ticket-holders. More information can be found here. Don’t forget to also like Wharton Center on Facebook, here, and follow our Instagram, here, and our Twitter, here.

Posted in At Wharton Center, Behind the Scenes, Classic Series, College of Music, Events, Opportunities, Wharton Center News

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