Sedmara Zakarian Rutstein

Professor of Pianoforte


Sedmara Zakarian Rutstein’s remarkable ability to grasp the very essence of diverse musical styles and the strength, energy and brilliance of her performances have received critical acclaim in the U.S., Europe, Russia, Hong Kong, and China.  Reviewers have consistently ranked her among the foremost piano soloists of today.
                The New York Times called her New York recital a “radiant success” and went on to say, “she has forceful interpretive ideas and the technique to carry them out.”
                The Washington Post described her as “a contemporary pianist in the best sense of the word, demonstrating enormous strength but little effusiveness.”
                Sedmara Zakarian Rutstein was born and raised in the former Soviet Union.  A child prodigy, she commenced her piano studies at age five and gave her first public recital the following year, including works by Mozart and Beethoven.  She was accepted at Leningrad’s Special Music School for Gifted Children and completed her undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate studies at the renowned Leningrad Conservatory of Music with the distinguished Professor Nadezhda Golubovskaya.  Ms. Zakarian Rutstein went on to become a well-known recitalist and soloist, as well as a Conservatory faculty member.  Presently, she is a tenured Professor at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
                Ms. Zakarian Rutstein’s keen musical sensitivity, along with her ability to elucidate even the most difficult works have amazed critics and audiences alike.  Commenting on her recording of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin, a reviewer raved about “piano playing of the highest sort; not even Richter or Horowitz excels her in Russian music.”
                Another reviewer wrote of her rendition of a Chopin waltz, “her fingers seemingly took flight over the keyboard, distilling experience into pure sounds, evoking the timeless and absolute”; and regarding a Schubert impromptu, “how poetical, how beautiful , how intensely Schubert!” Describing her performance of Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No.2, a critic titled his review: “Rachmaninoff Concerto Glows in Hands of Soloist.”

Sedmara Zakarian Rutstein’s repertoire encompasses a vast array of compositions, spanning the early 18th to the late 20th centuries.  In addition, she has been a pioneer in the complete cycle of J.S. Bach’s “The Art of Fuge” which she later recorded on both piano and harpsichord; she also presented the world premiere of an early, unpublished piano concerto by Robert Schumann.
                Ms. Zakarian Rutstein’s highly acclaimed recordings have been released by Melodia, Orion Master Recordings, Musical Heritage Society, Albany Records, Compositor Publishing House and SZR Productions.  In 1996, Fanfare magazine declared her recording of Sonata No. 5 by Boris Tishschenko, a prominent contemporary Russian composer, to be one of the top five releases of the year.