Duncan J. Cumming, now in his seventh year on the faculty of the University at Albany, has performed concertos, recitals, and chamber music concerts in cities across the United States as well as in Europe.  The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Merkin Hall and Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City, and the Wallenstein Palace in Prague, Czech Republic are among the concert halls in which he has appeared. Recent concerts outside of the New York Capital Region included a concert tour from Boston to West Virginia in March and April and a tour of the United Kingdom, France and Switzerland in May and June.  A recent review describes his playing as “technically flawless… thoughtful, deliberate and balanced, without a wasted gesture or any histrionics, rather like Rachmaninoff.”  His new book The Fountain of Youth:  The Artistry of Frank Glazer came out in 2009.  As a professor,  in 2010 he was honored to receive the prestigious College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching.

Newly released on the Centaur label, May 1st 2013, is a groundbreaking recording of the music of Carl Maria von Weber (Centaur 3231). Listeners will hear Weber performed on the instrument upon which Weber composed , and a voice from the past comes alive.  This is the first recording of Weber’s music on Weber’s own 1815 Brodmann, and Duncan can be heard here as a soloist in Weber’s Sonata No. 1 and Variations on an Original Theme; in the Six Pieces for Piano Duet, Duncan shares the piano bench with Christopher Hogwood.  

The year 2011 marked the release of two other compact discs.  The first is a solo piano CD on the Centaur label, (CRC 3125), including music of Brahms, Chopin, Debussy and Satie.  Chamber music of William Matthews with the Capital Trio (TROY 1239) was released on Albany Records in January 2011, with several premiere recordings. 

Born in Maine, Cumming graduated Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors from Bates College in 1993, where he studied with Frank Glazer. In 1994 he received a full scholarship from the European Mozart Foundation and participated in intense chamber music study and performance at the European Mozart Academy in Prague, where he performed often with the Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena.  Upon his return to America he studied with Patricia Zander at the New England Conservatory, where he received his Master of Music degree in 1996.  In May of 2003 he graduated with the Doctor of Music degree from Boston University, where his dissertation advisors were Martin Amlin, Maria Clodes Jaguaribe, and John Daverio.

From 2002-2008 Cumming was on the faculty of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute as a teacher, chamber music coach, and performer. He was Assistant Director of the Young Artists Piano Program for the first six years and in his final summer he took over as the director when an illness forced the director to leave just days into the program. Before accepting the position at the University at Albany he was a member of the faculty at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.  He has lectured, given master classes, and served on juries for competitions in addition to his performing and teaching. Known for his innovative and carefully constructed programs, Cumming often presents informal commentary to the audience on the music he plays.  He has  premiered and recorded new works for solo piano, violin and piano, and piano trio.  He performs frequently with his wife Hilary, violinist and adjunct professor of violin at the University at Albany.  With the cellist Şölen Dikener they make up the Capital Piano Trio, the chamber ensemble in residence at the University at Albany.  Duncan and Hilary have two daughters, Lucy Rose and Mairi Skye, and a son, William Bear.


Duncan J. Cumming

Brahms: Sonata, Op. 1: I

Claude Debussy

Amlin: Eight Variations

Debussy: Ce que vu le vent  de l’Ouest

Photo Credit: Mark Schmidt