American pianist Anne-Marie McDermott may not have the name recognition of Martha Argerich or Lang Lang, but a growing number of both critics and concertgoers regard her as a top-flight virtuoso with a superior interpretive sense who clearly deserves to be in their company. She plays a broad range of repertory, from Baroque to contemporary, including works by J.S. Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Debussy, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, and Prokofiev. But she has also delved into riskier fare by contemporary composers Charles Wuorinen, Aaron Jay Kernis, Stephen Hartke, Tobias Picker, and Joan Tower, as well as rarely encountered works by Clara Schumann and Amy Cheney Beach. She regularly performs chamber music with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and as a member of the McDermott Trio, with her sisters Kerry (violin) and Maureen (cello). She is also a member of Piano Quartet Opus One, with violinist Ida Kavafian, violist Steven Tenenbom, and cellist Steven Wiley. McDermott has recorded for Arabesque, Bridge, Delos, NSS Music, and other labels.
Anne-Marie McDermott was born in Queens, NY, in 1963. Raised in Long Island, she began piano lessons at five. At 12 she appeared at Carnegie Hall in a performance of the Mendelssohn First Piano Concerto.
With the support of the Young Concert Artists organization and its founder Susan Wadsworth, McDermott was able to continue her development following the death of her mother, when Anne-Marie was only 15. Still, her education did not go smoothly: at age 17 she ended her studies at the Manhattan School of Music after just six months. Her teachers included Dalmo Carra, Constance Keene, and John Browning, whom she said had the most influence on her craft.
McDermott launched her professional career at 18, but would continue educational pursuits that included master classes with Leon Fleisher. She steadily built her career throughout the 1970s. She was back at Carnegie Hall as a member of the McDermott Trio in May 1982, where in a program featuring music by Haydn, Schubert, and Mendelssohn, she drew high praise for her performances.
McDermott continued to draw positive notice and in 1991 she captured the silver medal at the Hamamatsu Competition in Japan, where, among other works, she played the Mozart 20th Piano Concerto. She performed the same work with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 1992, filling in for Murray Perahia. In 1997 McDermott debuted with the New York Philharmonic under Christian Thielemann in a performance of the Mozart Ninth Piano Concerto. McDermott began recording the nine Prokofiev piano sonatas in 1999 for Arabesque, completing the project in 2003. The entire set, an internationally acclaimed effort, was reissued on Bridge Records in 2009.
McDermott's successes continued, as with the October 2006 account of Bach's challenging Goldberg Variations at Lincoln Center, and her June 2009 Town Hall concert that featured premieres of Wuorinen's Fourth Sonata and Clarice Assad's When Art Showed Up. Her acclaim in the recording studio continued, as evidenced by her 2011 Bridge CD of the Ballade No. 1 and other works by Chopin.