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B i o g r a p h y

"Steinway and Spirio Artist" Lisa Emenheiser is heralded for her "intense music-making and pianism".  She has been performing with the National Symphony Orchestra for the past 30 years.

A native of Washington, D.C., Ms. Emenheiser began her piano studies at the age of four and made her debut at the age of seventeen  performing the Grieg Piano Concerto with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and "The President's Own" United States Marine Band. 


A graduate of Juilliard School, Ms Emenheiser earned both Bachelor's and Master's of Music degrees and was a past winner of the "Young Artist in Recital" and "National Arts Club" competitions.   She has performed in recital at Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fischer Hall, Carnegie Recital Hall and has appeared in concerts at the National Gallery, Phillips Collection, Smithsonian Institute, Kennedy Center and at the embassies of France, Austria, Germany, Britain, Slovenia, and Spain.  As described by the New York Times, Lisa "played the piano dazzlingly", and by the Washington Post, she "shimmered and beguiled, shifting easily between virtuosity and transparency." Ms. Emenheiser has appeared as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Richmond Symphony, the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, the Virginia Chamber Orchestra, the Fairfax Symphony, the McLean Orchestra.   She was also soloist for multiple festivals at the Kennedy Center, including  "Journey to America", "Kennedy Center Piano 2000",  "Iberian Suite", and "NSO Composer Portrait: Mozart".  She has performed under the batons of some of  the world's most distinguished conductors, including Maestros Noseda, Eschenbach, Rostropovich, Solti, Slatkin, Fruhbeck de Burgos, Jarvi, Kuenzel, and Maazel, and has been rehearsal pianist for many of the soloists who performed with the National Symphony.  Christoph Eschenbach has hailed her as having "a stunning technique and profound musicality... to match the greatest artists". 


Lisa is an established chamber musician, and appears regularly with musicians of the National Symphony Orchestra. She may be heard on numerous Kennedy Center  Millennium  performances.  She has performed with many world-renowned  soloists, including Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Glenn Dicterow, Julius Baker, Eugenia Zukerman, Ransom Wilson, Philipe Quint,  and Jean-Pierre Rampal.  She has appeared in solo and chamber performances across the United States, as well as internationally, including performances in London, Manchester, Berne, Haifa, Nice, Mexico City, Zagreb, and Ljubljana. Ms. Emenheiser has performed in both national and international summer music festivals, including Aspen, Hidden Valley, Strings in the Mountains, Snake River Chamber Players, Penn-Alps, Garth Newell, Masterworks, and L'Academie Internationale d'Ete de Nice.  Her vast orchestral performances are equally as extensive, including tours of Europe and Russia, and American residencies in Alaska, Maine, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Texas, Alabama, Vermont, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and West Virginia.


Lisa also works with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, and has performed with some of the finest ballet companies.  She has been both soloist and orchestral keyboardist for numerous performances, and most recently was featured soloist in Phillip Glass’s “Metamorphosis” and Stravinsky’s “Movements for Piano and Orchestra”.


Lisa is an avid performer of contemporary music.  She is pianist for the 21st Century Consort in Washington, D.C., where she has premiered works by Stephen Albert, Nicholas Maw, Eugene O'Brien, David Froom, Donald Crockett, and many others.  She is currently preparing for a world premiere in February of Stephen Jaffe's "Tableaux", a major work for solo piano commissioned for Lisa by the 21st Century Consort.  She is a founding member of Opus 3 Trio with violinst Charles Wetherbee and cellist David Hardy.  The Opus 3 Trio has commissioned, premiered and recorded many new works and has performed across the country.  Additionally, Lisa was featured on national television as an expert artist commentator and performer in the PBS documentary entitled “Exploring Your Brain”, in which she performed Ginastera’s Piano Sonata No. 1 and discussed the topic of memory with Garrick Utley.  


Ms. Emenheiser has recorded Respighi's "Three Preludes on Gregorian Melodies" for the Steinway Spirio collection and recently added Rzweski's "Winnsboro Cottonmill Blues" and "Down by the Riverside".   She has also recorded for the Bridge, Albany, Decca, Pro Arte, Naxos, VAI Audio, Centaur, Arabesque, Delos, AUR, Jubal House,and Cascades labels. 


A committed teacher, Lisa has represented the NSO in numerous masterclasses and has served as piano instructor for cultural exchange liaisons.  She has been a coach for the NSO Summer Music Institute and is excited to once again be piano mentor for the 2022-23 NSO Youth Fellowship program.  Recently she was inducted into the Steinway Teacher's Hall of Fame and was also awarded the Steinway & Sons Top Teacher Award, with many of her students achieving top recognition in both local and international competitions.  She holds a private studio in her home. 









"Lisa Emenheiser played the piano dazzlingly"

                                                                                          Allan Kozinn, The New York Times


“Lisa Emenheiser showed true expressive power by using a delicate technique, careful use of the pedals and a soulful interpretation of the piano's sound." 


                                            Der Bund 

"Her Chopin Ballade in A-Flat major, Op. 47, was played in a way that makes it sound new again.  Her ability to combine the virtuostic and the subtle was exciting."


          Patrick Franklin, The Monterey Herald 


"Pianist Lisa Emenheiser provided the driving force in Beethoven's 'Ghost' Trio in D Major, Op. 70, no.1. Her power, precision and elegance formed the foundation and frame of the work."  

           Mike Dunham, Anchorage Daily News 

"The playing was strong and passionate as well as poetic."

                       Sorab Modi, The  Strad

Tony Powell Photography

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