Stephen Siek

Click here or on the album cover to hear Stephen Siek play the third movement from Reinagle's Piano Sonata in C major.

Alexander Reinagle (c.1751-1809) was born in Scotland, and he was highly trained as a pianist and composer when he arrived in America in 1786. He worked in both New York and Philadelphia, and he performed at the Constitutional Convention in 1788, which is where he probably met George Washington. He eventually became close to Washington and his entire family, and for a number of years he gave piano lessons to Martha's granddaughter, Nelly Custis. He also wrote three large piano sonatas, today known as the "Philadelphia Sonatas," much in the style of Mozart and Haydn, though they were so difficult that scarcely anyone in the new Republic was capable of performing them during his lifetime. They remained in manuscript for over a century, and one of his descndants gave them to the Library of Congress in 1904. They are still not often played, but they are nonetheless fascinating works.

Click on the image at left to see a video of Stephen Siek lecturing on—and performing—Prokofieff's Sonata No. 2 in D minor, op. 14. This presentation was recorded on June 2, 2016, at Pennsylvania State University during the 59th annual Festival sponsored by the American Matthay Association.