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Historical Piano Concerts Series
About the Musicians

Chester Brezniak and Barbara Suhrstedt


A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Barbara Fetrow Suhrstedt holds a Masters degree in piano performance from Boston University.  For 25 years she enjoyed a career with her late husband Gerhardt as one of America’s leading piano duo teams, performing in museums and universities throughout the United States, Canada and Russia. Their engagements included venues such as the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Grand Palace of Peterhof in Russia, as well as the Grand Teton and Gina Bachauer International Music Festivals.

Ms. Suhrstedt has visited and performed in Russia nine times, most recently as piano accompanist with the Boston College High School Concert Choir. Their 2008 tour included programs at Sergeev Posad (near Moscow) and at Kazan State University in Tatarstan.  In 2002, she was invited to participate as a jury member for the Third Igor F. Stravinsky Competition for Young Pianists, held in Lomonosov, Russia. She has been Artist-in-Residence in public schools in Wyoming, Colorado, Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  Ms. Suhrstedt has developed and performed multi-media programs which integrate the visual arts, history and music from periods as diverse as the Renaissance, 19th-century Germany, France and Russia, and early 20th-century America.  With her husband she released three CDs.

This is Ms. Suhrstedt’s fifth appearance on our concert series.

Chester Brezniak has been an active professional clarinetist since 1971. Earning his B.A. from Bard College and M.M. from New England Conservatory, he studied clarinet with teachers Gino Cioffi, Attilio Poto, Charles Russo, and Harold Wright, and took part in master classes with Robert Marcellus and Stanley Drucker.

Mr. Brezniak, formerly a member of the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and utility clarinetist with the Atlanta Symphony, has played principal clarinet with the Sao Paulo Symphony under Eleazar de Carvalho, and principal and utility with the Harvard Chamber Orchestra under Leon Kirchner. He was guest artist with the Czech Radio Symphony, and has played principal clarinet with the Bridgeport Symphony, the Green Mountain Opera Festival Orchestra, and the Hanover Chamber Orchestra, Dartmouth College. Principal clarinetist since 1996 of the Massachusetts Symphony, he has also performed with the Orchestra of Emmanuel Music in collaboration with the Spectrum Singers and the Harvard University Chorus.

Mr. Brezniak was guest artist with Alea III under Gunther Schuller in the most recent program, with Theodore Antoniou and Michalis Economou, and was soloist with Boston’s Zamir Chorale. A founding member of the Cambridge Chamber Players (critically acclaimed by the New York Times and Boston Globe), he is also a member of both the Blackstone Trio and Trio Capriccio, performing in premieres of many new works for these groups and others, including the Atlanta Virtuosi and the former Ariel Chamber Ensemble under the late Harvard professor/composer Earl Kim. He has also performed with the Vermeer and Muir String Quartets, and Composers in Red Sneakers.

He has appeared in concerts in Boston's Symphony Hall; Merkin Hall (NYC), Jordan Hall, Sanders Theatre, Pickman Hall at Longy School of Music, Sully Hall at The Boston Conservatory, Kresge Auditorium (M.I.T.), Paine Hall and Sanders Theater at Harvard University, Baruch College, Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College, Boston College, Berklee College of Music, Tsai Center at Boston University,  UMass/Boston, Allegheny College, Bates and Bowdoin Colleges, “Entrée des Artistes” Chamber Music Series, Orliac, France, First Night Boston, and many others. His performances are regularly heard on NPR, including WGBH-FM’s Classical Performances Series.

Mr. Brezniak’s recordings include Centaur Records’ release of "Clarinet Now", and Zemlinsky’s Trio in D Minor, Op.3 on Northeastern Records. He has been a faculty member at UMass/Boston since 1996 and at the New School of Music, Cambridge since 1990.  We welcome Mr. Brezniak to his second Historical Piano Concerts appearance.