Pianist Carolyn Enger has gained critical acclaim for her lyrical and dynamic playing, her deeply felt interpretations of works from Beethoven and Schubert to contemporary music, and her warm personal approach. In addition to an active performance schedule, Ms. Enger has enjoyed remarkable success as a recording artist, particularly with her 2013 release of piano music by Ned Rorem on Naxos Records. Renowned critic Laurence Vittes wrote in his review for Gramophone (2/2014): “Enger raises the miniatures to a higher level by taking the time and care to capture the emotional impact each must have had when their dedicatees read their inscription and title, and then heard the music for the first time.” The album was selected by Anthony Tommasini as one of the “Best in Classical Recordings” of 2013 in The New York Times.
Recent highlights include a performance at Michaelis Kirche in Erfurt, Germany; a Chicago residency with recitals at several Steinway Galleries, the Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Theological Seminary, the PianoForte Foundation and a Masterclass broadcast on WFMT; performances at the National Gallery of Art in Oslo, Norway; the Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmouth County in New Jersey; the Chelmsford Center for the Arts in Massachusetts; the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.; and a variety of recitals in the Tri-State area.
With a keen sense of history and identity, Ms. Enger views music in the context of the unfolding of human affairs, past and present, leading her to design programs that relate the music she performs to the times in which it was composed. Currently these interests have stirred Ms. Enger to plan a multimedia concert program, The Mischlinge Exposé, set in the World War II period, combining music, literature and images that focus on the haunting memories of the lives of Mischlinge – half-Jews – in Germany before, during, and after the Holocaust, an experience reflected in Ms. Enger’s own family history. Ms. Enger will present her ambitious The Mischlinge Exposé throughout New York, New Jersey, Iowa, Texas, Arizona, Illinois, and Massachusetts and has commissioned and premiered a new work written by the acclaimed composer Bruce Adolphe especially for this project.
An active recitalist with engagements throughout the United States and beyond, Ms. Enger has performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Bruno Walter Auditorium, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, The National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Design Museum, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Nantucket Musical Arts Society, The Kosciuszko Foundation, and the Tenri Cultural Institute. A recent collaboration with renowned illustrator and writer Maira Kalman featured Ms. Enger’s playing as part of “Maira Kalman Selects”, an exhibition curated by Ms. Kalman at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York. Ms. Enger’s dedication to bringing music to new audiences has motivated her to perform in accessible civic spaces such as Israel’s Bet Yad Lebanim in Nahariya, the Felicja Blumental Music Center in Tel Aviv and, in New York City, at St. Peter’s Church and the Donnell Library Center. Ms. Enger’s community engagement performances have left presenters and audiences, in the words of Cheryl Wylen, Program Director, of the Backstage at the Y Concert Series, “in complete awe of her passion, skill and genuine warmth.”
Ms. Enger has a special gift for creating original and intriguing programs that range from European masterworks to fresh discoveries among the compositions of such innovative American and Israeli composers as Ned Rorem, Lowell Liebermann, Betty Olivero, Avner Dorman, Lior Navok, John Adams, John Luther Adams, Nico Muhly, Caroline Shaw, Arvo Pärt, and Sean Hickey. Her debut album, In Evening Air, released in 2009, offers a refreshing mix of music by Beethoven, Scriabin, Hanson, Copland, Liebermann and Ned Rorem – all attesting to her command of a wide variety of musical idioms. MusicWeb International lauded her playing as “thoughtful and sensitive... expressive... She plays with fine nuance and tone shading.” And from Fanfare came praise for “Enger’s dynamic control and emotional sensitivity, her keen sense of timing and proportion.”
Ms. Enger is a Steinway Concert Artist.
Shining light on the stories of converts and Mischlinge before, during, and after World War II to soften the lines that divide us.
Carolyn's performance project, the Mischlinge Exposé, centers around her family history and the Mischling designation. The concert interweaves the music of prominent converts with testimony from Carolyn's godmother, Rosemarie Steinfeld, and her father, Horst Enger, who was considered by the Nazi regime a Mischling, Grade A. Performances of works by Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, Arnold Schoenberg, Alexander Zemlinsky, and Gustav Mahler illustrate the historical situations so aptly described through poetry by Rachel Varnhagen and Heinrich Heine. Through the lens of historical context and personal testimony, the performance traces a story of conversion from Judaism to Christianity and back and the continuing struggle for identity.