Hailed as an “American virtuoso” (Audiophile Audition), “enormous power and intelligent, instinctive interpretation” (Spoleto Today), and “simply dazzling” (The State), pianist Joseph Rackers has performed for enthusiastic audiences in New York, Chicago, Kiev, Rome, Shanghai and Washington D.C., at venues across Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Ukraine and extensively throughout the United States. His performances around the world include the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, Shanghai and Sichuan Conservatories of Music and Yantai International Music Festival, Kiev International Music Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, Moulin d’Andé Arts Festival, Varna International Piano Festival and Society of Composers International Conference, to name a few. Gramophone writes “the results are consistently compelling … as if Rackers response were primarily to his relationship with the composer as some sort of kindred spirit”.
Joseph Rackers is an International Steinway Artist and has given recent concerts at the Infiorata di Genzano in Italy, Sulzbach-Rosenberg International Music Festival in Germany, Burgos International Music Festival in Spain, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Piccolo Spoleto Festival, among others. He has recorded for the MSR Classics and Beauport Classical labels and his performances have been broadcast on WFMT Chicago, Radio Libera Tutti in Italy and on NPR affiliate stations throughout the United States. His recent solo release with MSR Classics was praised highly by the press; “unflappable virtuosity…highly expressive…committed to letting the composer’s voice — as he hears it — come through” (American Record Guide), “compelling power, rhythmic persuasiveness … consummate style … complete mastery ” (Atlanta Audio Society).
Rackers is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees and was awarded the Performer’s Certificate. His principal teachers were Natalya Antonova and Raymond Herbert with additional study or masterclasses with Julian Martin, Misha Dichter and Blanca Uribe. Also active as a chamber musician, he has performed widely as a member of the Lomazov/Rackers Piano Duo. The duo garnered significant attention as the Second Prize Winners of the Sixth Ellis Competition for Duo Pianists, the only national duo piano competition in the United States at that time. As advocates of modern repertoire for piano duo, they have given premieres of numerous works across the United States, including several works written specifically for them.
A devoted teacher, Rackers has taught at the Eastman School of Music and was awarded the school’s annual prize for Excellence in Teaching. He has been invited to residencies at the Sichuan Conservatory and Yantai International Music Festival in China and has given masterclasses at major universities and colleges across the United States. His students have been prizewinners in national, international and regional piano competitions, including fifteen students who have earned prizes in Music Teachers National Association Competitions and South Carolina Music Teachers Association competitions. He is Co-Director of the Southeastern Piano Festival and serves on the faculty of the Burgos International Music Festival in Spain. He is in demand as a jury member for national and international piano competitions, including the Hilton Head International Piano Competition.
Dr. Rackers is currently Associate Professor of Piano at the University of South Carolina School of Music.