Special Reports

MA Top 30 Professional: Michael Boriskin

December 5, 2023 | By John Fleming

Artistic and Executive Director
Copland House

Pianist Michael Boriskin has enjoyed an international career playing concerts and making recordings, as well as related work that ranges from music commentary for National Public Radio to being music director of Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project for three years. He is also the longtime artistic and executive director of Copland House, the nonprofit organization that tends the flame of Aaron Copland by supporting American music.

A variety of musical, educational, and philanthropic activities flow from the composer’s modernist house and studio on three acres in a woodsy part of Westchester County outside New York City. Built around 1940 and purchased in 1960 by Copland, who lived there until his death in 1990, the house, known as Rock Hill, is a National Historic Landmark, the only classical composer’s home so designated in the U.S.

“Copland was a peerless advocate for his fellow composers, and that’s what has always motivated Copland House,” Boriskin says. Every year, eight to 10 American composers are invited to reside, one at a time, as guests for up to eight weeks at Rock Hill for contemplation and creation, with all their needs provided for. The Copland House website is full of plaudits from them.

Boriskin performs with the Music from Copland House ensemble, whose debut release on the Copland House Blend label, is a two-CD set of all of its namesake’s chamber music. “Now I’m in the process of recording the complete Copland piano music,” he says. “It’s a fascinating repertory, including a lot of pieces that don’t get played very much at all.”

In 2024, Copland House will announce a “transformative expansion” of the Rock Hill property, with a capital campaign to fund it. “It doesn’t involve the house itself, which is meant to be preserved as it is, but we’ve been looking to increase our physical capacity for a long time. I think it will have a significant impact, certainly on Copland House, but also on the whole concert music field.”




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