Pianist Stephen Wilber has recently been awarded Third prize nationally in the solo professional division of the American Prize in Piano Performance Competition 2013. Dr. Wilber has been hailed for the “freshness and refinement” of his playing and for his “force, imagination, feelings, and lyricism” (Arad, Romania).
In 1999, Dr. Wilber won first prize in the Pro Mozart competition, second prize in the American Liszt Society competition and a semifinalist in the Concert Artist Guild auditions. He made his orchestral debut with members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in the same year, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 26 in D major.
Some highlights of Dr. Wilber’s solo and concerto engagements have been; The Festival Orchestra of Zurich, Flims Switzerland; The Great Hall, Saratov Russia; The Cultural Palace, Arad Romania; Merkin Hall, NYC; The Estonia Concert Hall and the Tallinn Conservatory of Music, Tallinn, Estonia; The Academy of Art and Music, Honolulu Hawaii; Oberlin College Guest Recital Series; Le Kuklos, Leysin Switzerland; Crans-Montana, Switzerland. He has been a guest artist in the Music Festival of the Hamptons, NY, Gina Bachauer Foundation in Salt Lake City, Music at Grey Towers, Pa., Shandelee Music Festival in New York City, The American Liszt Society in Washington DC, Celebrate the Arts in Atlanta and the Festival of Nations in Rome Italy.
A recent showcase recital for the Embassy Concerts in Washington, DC, resulted in the following review: “It was a thrilling experience to hear Stephen Wilber in recital…His thoroughly engaging artistry is dynamic, passionate and absorbing…He has a superb articulation and pianistic touch that lends much coloring to his playing. His communication with the audience is truly enchanting”.
His Debut recording, Overture, has been praised for its “purity or style, deeply internalized concepts and sense of drama”. An enthusiastic review of a recital in Tallinn, Estonia, read: “BRAVO to American pianist Stephen Wilber for a performance of Beethoven sonatas, Schumann and Chopin that was inspirational, full of poetry and flexibility and psychologically dynamic…an amazing sense of sound”.
After a performance with the Festival Orchestra of Zurich, Switzerland, under the baton of conductor Vincent de Kort, he received the following reviews: “Stephen Wilber…captivated with his playing of the Beethoven 2nd Piano Concerto with an outstanding interpretation of the work… Wilber dazzled with subtle yet forceful and refreshing playing. The audience was enthusiastic and was treated to an encore of a virtuoso playing of the Liszt Rhapsody…(Arena Flims) Another review noted: “BRILLIANT GALA CONCERT-The soloist was AMERICAN STEPHEN WILBER who is known for his ‘freshness and refinement of playing’ which he fully lived up to… His interpretation of the Beethoven work landed him thunderous applause and shouts of bravo to which he responded with a sparkling solo encore of the Liszt Rhapsody. (Bundner Taglatt, Switzerland)
A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Dr. Wilber also studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. He holds a Master’s degree from The Peabody Institute and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Maryland. Private teachers have included Larissa Dedova, Gregory Sioles, Robert Weirich, Frances Walker, Claude Frank, Ruth Laredo Miles Mauney and Charles Beno. On a personal note, Dr. Wilber had the pleasure and benefit of having the great pianist Alicia de Larrocha as a personal friend and mentor. Spending time playing and discussing music with her was an invaluable experience to his development.
Stephen Wilber has managed to combine a successful career as a classical pianist with achievements in competitive sports, playing wide receiver for the Washington Chiefs, a semi-professional football team in Washington DC and is ISSA certified as a personal fitness instructor.
Dr. Wilber currently teaches at Lee University and lives in Chattanooga TN with his wife Mary-Frances who is a soprano.