Biography

Piano

XAK BJERKEN has appeared with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, the Schoenberg Ensemble, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Glinka Hall in Saint Petersburg, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, and for many years performed throughout the US as a member of the Los Angeles Piano Quartet.

He has worked closely with composers György Kurtag, Sofia Gubaidulina, Steven Stucky, and George Benjamin, and has premiered piano concertos by Stephen Hartke, Elizabeth Ogonek, and Jesse Jones, a recording of which was released by Naxos in September 2021. He is also director of Ensemble X, a new music group, and has held chamber music residencies at the Tanglewood Music Center, Spoleto Festival, and Olympic Music Festival.

Mr. Bjerken is Professor of Music at Cornell University, where he co-directs Mayfest with his wife, pianist Miri Yampolsky. He has also served on the faculties of Kneisel Hall, Eastern Music Festival, and Chamber Music Conference at Bennington College. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees from the Peabody Conservatory as a student of and teaching assistant of Leon Fleisher. This performance marks his debut under San Francisco Symphony auspices.