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Noel Lester, Pianist

Pianist Noel Lester has delighted audiences and critics alike for his performances throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, and through his recordings and radio broadcasts. He appears regularly as a soloist, chamber pianist and soloist with orchestra.

Lester began his piano studies at the age of three and, after advanced study with Harold Chapman in Hampton, Va., he attended the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore as a scholarship student of Ellen Mack. He earned his B.M., M.M. and D.M.A. degrees in piano performance.

While at Peabody, he won numerous prizes in piano and accompanying and, as the winner of the Baltimore Music Club Professional Recital Award, was presented in a formal debut recital at the Baltimore Museum of Art. His New York debut was in Carnegie/Weill Recital Hall, and he has subsequently appeared at such venues as The Kennedy Center (as a soloist and chamber musician), Alice Tully Hall/Lincoln Center and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Noel Lester made his European debut in 1991 at the Ernst Barlach Haus in Hamburg and he has since performed extensively throughout the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Switzerland, Holland and Poland. He has participated in international festivals at Maastricht and Belfast. In November 2000, he made his Asian debut with recitals in Sendai and Tokyo.

His radio recitals include NPR, the BBC RTE Dublin, SDR Stuttgart, Radio France and such nationally-syndicated shows as "A Note to You," produced by WGBH-Boston, and "Classical Discoveries."

As a recording artist, he may be heard on the Centaur, Elan, Koch International, Museum of Modern Art, RWYA and Sonora labels.

As a chamber musician, Noel Lester has appeared with first-desk musicians from the New York Philharmonic, the Baltimore and National Symphony Orchestras, and with such groups as Pittsburgh-based Con Spirito Woodwind Quintet, the Appalachian Wind Quintet, the Baltimore String Quartet, and with such singers as Metropolitan Opera baritone Edward Crafts, Elaine Bonazzi and Deidra Palmour. He is the pianist member of the award-winning Guilford Trio (soprano/viola/piano) and the Dumale Trio (clarinet/violin/piano). He has performed as an orchestral soloist with such groups as The Johnstown Chamber Orchestra, The Maryland Symphony Orchestra, the Spires Brass Band, The Frederick Symphony Orchestra, the Concert Artists of Baltimore and numerous others. Noel Lester is the founder and artistic director of the Maryland Concert Opera.

Noel Lester was a professor of music At Hood for 38 years and received numerous awards and honors, including the Laughlin Professional Achievement Award, a Beneficial-Hodson Faculty Fellowship, the Graduate School Excellence in Teaching Award, President Volpe's "Whatever It Takes" Award, several Board of Associates Professional Development Grants, and he was made an honorary member of the Ionic Society, Phi Kappa Phi and Mortar Board. He was the 2009 recipient of the Martha E. Church Award, in recognition of his many years of bringing music to the larger Frederick community and, at the Commencement Ceremonies in May of 2012, he was presented with the Presidential Award for Exceptional Service to Hood College.

He resides in Frederick, Md., with his wife, violinist RoseAnn Markow.

"What draws audiences back again and again to this quietly dignified artist is his ability to communicate the exquisite beauty of music and his boundless love for it." - The Maryland Gazette

"Noel Lester plays very, very well." - The Baltimore Sun

"...a marvel of virtuosity." - Fanfare

"Lester played seamlessly and with great expression." - Brugger Tagblatt (Switzerland)

"Lester played brilliantly, but always with taste and restraint." - Darmstaedter Echo (Germany)

"Noel Lester delights the listener through his charm and subtle feel for the music." - Fono Forum

"... a stylish, witty virtuoso. He shines with bravura technique, offering a brilliant fireworks display of playful nuances." - Tageblatt (Lüneburg)

"... a classical piano concert of the highest class." - Tagblatt (Schifferstadt)

"... a breath-taking interpretation, played by Lester with the highest virtuosity." - Tagespost (Schifferstadt)

"His credo is that music and beauty belong together; he was totally successful in communicating that message to his audience." - Die Rheinpfalz (Germany)

RoseAnn Markow
Noel Lester and his wife, violinist RoseAnn Markow, have performed extensively since their marriage in 1975. They are founding members of The Hood College Chamber Players, perform duo recitals and are in trios with cellist Denise Nathanson and clarinetist David Duree.

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