Duncan Cumming

Concert pianist with chamber music expertise

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Duncan Cumming

Associate Professor
College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Music and Theatre

Piano; music theory; chamber music

Campus phone: (518) 442-4187
Campus email: dcumming@albany.edu


Associate Professor Duncan J. Cumming 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. A recent review describes his playing as "technically flawless… thoughtful, deliberate and balanced, without a wasted gesture or any histrionics, rather like Rachmaninoff." His book, The Fountain of Youth: The Artistry of Frank Glazer, came out in 2009.

Cumming 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 commissioned, premiered, and recorded new works for solo piano, violin and piano, and piano trio. In 2010, he was honored with the prestigious College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Award for Outstanding Teaching.

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. 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 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 new ensemble in residence at the University at Albany. Duncan and Hilary have two daughters, Lucy Rose and Mairi Skye, and a son, William Bear.