Dr. Joseph Rackers is Professor of Piano at the Eastman School of Music, Co-founder of the Southeastern Piano Festival and Artistic Director of the Vivace Music Foundation. He has performed for enthusiastic audiences in New York, Boston, Chicago, Kiev, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Seoul and Washington D.C., at venues across Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Bulgaria, Ukraine and extensively throughout the United States. His performances around the world include the Shanghai and Sichuan Conservatories of Music, Kiev International Music Festival, Gina Bachauer International Piano Festival, Seoul International Piano Festival, Dame Myra Hess Concert Series and Banff Centre for the Arts and American Liszt Society, to name a few, in addition to recitals in most of the fifty states in the U.S.
Dr. Joseph Rackers is an International Steinway Artist. His recordings as soloist, collaborative pianist and producer are available on MSR Classics, Navona, Centaur, Equilibrium, Beauport Classics and Steinway Spirio and his performances have been broadcast on radio and television across the United States, Asia and Europe. His recent solo release with MSR Classics was widely recognized 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” (Audio Society).
A devoted teacher, Rackers students have earned awards in dozens of national and international piano competitions, including the Leipzig Bach International Piano Competition, Concours International de Piano d’Orléans, National Winner of the MTNA National Competition, Minnesota International, Seattle, National Society of Arts and Letters, Steinway and numerous others. He has given performances and masterclasses at Indiana University, University of Michigan, Boston University, Cincinnati, UCLA, UNLV, Vanderbilt, and at conservatories and music festivals across Europe and Asia. He has recently served as Schwartz Artist in Residence at Emory University and as faculty or guest artist at the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival, Chicago International Music Institute, Seoul International Piano Festival, Perugia International Music Festival, Yantai International Music Festival, Southeastern Piano Festival, Texas State International Piano Festival and as a National Reviewer for the National YoungArts Foundation. His students have performed for venues including Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Symphony Space and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Minnesota Orchestra, Aspen and Cliburn music festivals, From the Top on NPR and Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theater.
Also active as a chamber musician, Rackers has performed widely as a member of the Lomazov/Rackers Piano Duo. Praised for “demon precision and complete dedication” (Audio Society), 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. Gramophone praises the duo for “assured and centered pianism” and American Record Guide writes “the ensemble between Lomazov and Rackers is dead-on”. Rackers earned the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees at the Eastman School of Music, where he was also awarded the Performer’s Certificate. His principal teachers were Raymond Herbert and Natalya Antonova with additional study or masterclasses with Julian Martin, Misha Dichter and Blanca Uribe, among others. He has given presentations and performances for conferences of the Music Teachers National Association and College Music Society and has been honored by the South Carolina House of Representatives and South Carolina State Senate for his personal contribution to the arts and leadership of the Southeastern Piano Festival.