Faculty, Music Institute of Chicago
Abraham Stokman was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, where he began his piano studies at the age of six. He came to the United States at the age of 12, when he was offered a scholarship from the Julliard School in New York City, where he obtained his bachelor's and master's degree with his teacher, Edward Steuermann. For five years, he served as a vocal coach at the Juilliard's opera department. Then in the ensuing years, he proceeded to give solo and chamber concerts at the United States and Canada. In 1969, he moved to Chicago and became the artist-in-residence and assistant professor at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University for six years, and subsequently served as chairman of the piano department at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago.
Mr. Stokman has scored brilliant successes in solo recitals at the Alice Tully Hall, the Town Hall in New
York City, the Gardner Museum in Boston, the Phillips Gallery in Washington, and Mandel Hall in Chicago, as well as universities across the country. He was featured as soloist with many orchestras around the country, but most notably with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. For many years, he collaborated with the Steinway Company in bringing classical piano music played on a good instrument to the Chicago Public Schools. He gave piano recitals in different schools in Chicago and the Steinway Company provided a Steinway grand for the concerts. This was a huge success with school children, especially in the south side, many of whom may not have ever heard classical music. He also participated in a series of chamber music concerts with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra given throughout the Chicago area. He helped start the Mostly Music series by playing the first opening concerts for them. In the spring of 1991, he was a guest artist in the first Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he premiered "Fluxus IX" a work written for him by Ramon Zupko. On the same program, he performed "Verticals" by Shulamit Ran, who won the Pulitzer Prize that same year.
Mr. Stokman has always been a champion of contemporary music. He was a member of the Contemporary Chamber Players with Ralph Shapey for many years, and has played for CUBE through the years. He has premiered a lot of music and composers, Robert Lombardo, John
Austin, Ramon Zupko, and Ernst Krenek have written works especially for him. He premiered Ramon Zupko's piano concerto, "Windsongs" with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in Michigan. He performed this same concerto at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and with the American Composers Orchestra in New York's Lincoln Center.
Mr. Stokman has recorded Ramon Zupko's music for CRI, as well as a CD of twentieth century American piano music for Centaur records, featuring music of William Karlins and Howard Sandroff. He also recorded "Hyperbolea" on a CD of Music by Shulamit Ran. Other recordings include "A Kurt Weil Cabaret" with singer Martha Schalamme for MGM, and "Songs from the Magic Door" with Charles Gerber.
Mr. Stokman is currently teaching piano and improvisation at the Music Institute of Chicago, where
he has founded the contemporary music series, "Music for a While" For the past ten years, this series has featured contemporary composers and their music, presented in a format that made their music more accessible to the audience. Most performers that play in this series are from the faculty of the Music Institute. Some advanced students are coached and asked to participate in these concerts. After all, they will be the future performers of modern music.