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More Biography

As a regular pianist with the National Symphony Orchestra, Lisa has had the privilege of working with world class artists.  She first began working with the orchestra under the baton of Maestro Mstislav (Slava) Rostropovich in 1989.  During this time, Lisa worked with this great musician and artist, not only as a regular keyboardist in the orchestra, but as his personal rehearsal pianist for various concerti and other works. 


Under the tenure of Maestro Leonard Slatkin, Lisa was featured more and more in solo positions.  She was a soloist in the “Piano 2000” Gala Concerts, along with NSO Princpal Keyboardist Lambert Orkis, and pianists Sara Davis Buechner, Brian Ganz, Jeffrey Siegel, Joseph Kalichstein, Sara Wolfensohn, Leonard Slatkin, Shaun Tirrell, Adam Nieman, and Peter Schickele.  Lisa was also a featured piano soloist in the Kennedy Center’s “Journey to America” Festival where she performed “Tristan and Isolde Phantasy” by Wagner/Waxman with violinist Glenn Dicterow.  


Under the tenure of Maestro Christoph Eschenbach Lisa continued to thrive under his leadership as both an esteemed conductor and pianist.  She worked closely with him in many musical settings.  Lisa shared the stage with him in a chamber concert for the "Iberia Festival". 


Continuing under the baton of Maestro Gianandrea Noseda ,  Lisa serves as the NSO's acting principal when necessary and second keyboardist.  She is also their pianist for orchestra auditions and rehearsal pianist for soloists who perform with the NSO.  She has been pianist for countless solo rehearsals, not only with Maestros Slatkin, Eschenbach and Noseda, but with guest conductors such as the late Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Erich Kunzel, and Sir George Solti, and has worked with many great artists such as Joshua Bell, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Frederica von Stade, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Alisa Weilerstein, Matthias Goerne, Kelly O’Connor, Anne Sofie Otter, Midori, Alban Gerhardt, to name just a few.  Lisa’s solo concerti performances with the National Symphony Orchestra include performances of Saint-Saens “Carnival of the Animals”, Tan Dun’s “The Banquet Concerto”,  Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini”, Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Concerto in F”, Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto, Paul Bowles’s Concerto for Two Pianos, J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Three Keyboards, Duke Ellington's "New World a Comin'" and Mozart’s Concerto in G Major, K. 453.


 Lisa has also performed in a principal role as pianist for the NSO Pops. Lisa began her work with the Pops orchestra under the baton of pianist, conductor, and composer, the late Marvin Hamlisch.  Maestro Hamlisch understood Lisa's classical training, himself a graduate of Juilliard, and guided and encouraged Lisa in the Pops genre.   Now under the baton of NSO Principal Pops conductor Maestro Steven Reineke, Lisa can be heard on many of the NSO Pops concerts.   Recently Lisa worked closely in rehearsal with Maestro Reineke and Claude-Michel Schonberg, composer of "Les Mis" and other great Broadway shows.  This was in preparation for the "Do You Hear The People Sing" subscription concerts.  She has also worked in piano rehearsals with John Williams, composer of some of our greatest film scores, "Star Wars", "Harry Potter",  "Close Encounters"...


Lisa performs with many other musicians from different musical genres.  Although Lisa's "forte" is in the classical music genre, she has collaborated as rehearsal pianist for Pops artists such as Lionel Richie and Broadway artists Brian Stokes Mitchell and Terrance Mann.  


Please check out Lisa's list of performances for specific dates and information on the 2023-2024 season.



Tony Powell Photography

Emenheiser is so little that you half expect her to be blown away by the first strong breeze, but in fact she brought volcanic power to Alan Mandel’s “Steps to Mt Olympus,” whose title sums up its outsized gestures and almost Romantic thundering. Far more involving was Emenheiser’s reading of “Thoreau,” the last movement of Charles Ives’s “Concord” sonata. Not every pianist can make genuine sense of this confounding work, but Emenheiser infused it with delicate, ephemeral poetry; even Ives would have been impressed."

Stephen Brookes, The Washington Post

Dec 6, 2010

"Lisa performed with a kind of speak-easy phrasing and a meticulous rapport."


Joelle Cohen, Seattle Times

"...all these, as well as the shimmering soloism of Lisa Emenheiser in the Stravinsky were as much the players' tribute to Solti as they were his gift to them."  (playing Petruschka under the baton of Sir Georg Solti)

Mark Adamo, The Washington Post

Dec 3, 1993

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