Joseph Werner, M.M.

Director of Piano



Joseph Werner enjoys a varied career as a soloist, collaborative artist, orchestral pianist, administrator, and educator. Werner is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees and the Performer’s Certificate. His teachers have included Eugene List, Brooks Smith, Leon Fleisher, and Rosina Lhevinne. He has been the Principal Pianist for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 1975 and the orchestra’s Personnel Manager from 1993-2017. He was also Co-Artistic Director of the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester from 2000-2013.

Werner has performed numerous times with the RPO in concerto repertoire ranging from Bach to Gershwin with conductors David Zinman, Mark Elder, Christopher Seaman, Jorge Mester, Peter Bay, Isaiah Jackson, and Enrique Diemecke. He has also been a featured soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Rochester Chamber Orchestra, North Jersey Philharmonic, University of Rochester Symphony Orchestra, and the Penfield Symphony. One of the busiest collaborative pianists in Rochester, he was the accompanist for the celebrated American violinist Carroll Glenn for many years and performs regularly with a host of RPO soloists, Eastman School of Music faculty, and visiting artists. He has toured across the United States with RPO Principal Trombonist and Professor of Trombone at the Eastman School of Music, Mark Kellogg. A flute repertoire specialist, he has performed with international flute soloists Carol Wincenc, Per Öien, Alexa Still, Bonita Boyd, Marianne Gedigian, Wissam Boustany, and James Walker. In August and September of 1997, Werner joined W. Peter Kurau, Professor of Horn at the Eastman School of Music and Principal Horn of the RPO, for a three-week tour as Artistic Ambassadors for the United States Information Agency. They presented concerts and workshops of American Music in Serbia-Montenegro, Macedonia, Kazakhstan, and Syria.

A champion of new music, Werner has premiered works by such distinguished composers as Verne Reynolds, Libby Larsen, Erik Ewazen, Allen Shawn, James Willey, Lorenzo Palomo, and David Diamond. An active recording artist, Werner’s recordings can be found on the Columbia, Vanguard, Musical Heritage Society, NEXUS, and Naxos labels. Most recently, he has recorded an album of French music for trombone and piano with Mark Kellogg entitled “Impressions” and the world premiere of “Blue Windows,” a sextet for winds and piano written for him and the Antara Winds by the distinguished American composer Libby Larsen. He has recorded Bill Cahn’s “In Ancient Temple Gardens” with Robert Becker, the world-renowned percussionist from the NEXUS ensemble, and his recording of the Four-Hand Piano Music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk with the late Eugene List won High Fidelity Magazine “Critics’ Choice Award.” Werner is currently Co-Chair of the Piano Department of the David Hochstein School of Music and Dance, where he won that institution’s first Faculty Service Award in 1990. He was named Mu Phi Epsilon’s “Musician of the Year” in 2007 and "RPO’s Musician Volunteer of the Year" in 2017. He resides in Penfield with his wife, flutist Diane Smith. He enjoys opera, hiking, canoeing, and cross-country skiing.