Photo of David Breitman
  • Associate Professor of Historical Performance
  • Director, Historical Performance Program


  • SB, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1976
  • MM, New England Conservatory, 1981
  • DMA, Cornell University, 1992
  • fortepiano study with Malcolm Bilson
  • piano study with Patricia Zander


Pianist David Breitman directs the Historical Performance Program. He is equally at home with the fortepiano and the modern piano, and enjoys both solo and ensemble playing. Recent seasons have included Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto and Choral Fantasy on both historical and modern pianos, and several performances at the renowned Cobbe Collection of historical instruments outside of London.

Breitman’s most recent projects involve more Beethoven: a recording of the violin sonatas with Elizabeth Wallfisch will be complete by the end of 2012; the cello sonatas with Jaap ter Linden are projected for 2013.

He now shares his enthusiasm for this repertoire with students in the courses Performing Beethoven’s Violin/Cello Sonatas. He is working on a book titled Time-Travel for Pianists: How Today’s Players Can Learn from Yesterday’s Instruments.

His collaboration with baritone Sanford Sylvan spans more than 30 years, with several hundred recitals and four CD’s, ranging from Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin, to the premiere recording of the Glass Hammer, a major song cycle by the Cuban-American composer Jorge Martin. He has recorded the Mozart piano-violin sonatas on historical instruments with Jean-François Rivest for Analekta and, in a collaboration of a different sort, he is one of seven fortepianists on the 10-CD recording of the complete Beethoven piano sonata cycle on CLAVES.


Chasing History

May 13, 2015
Inspired by his Oberlin mentors, historical keyboard player Jake Street ’12 digs into the past for clues to improve his playing.