From giving her debut solo recital of a mostly Chopin program at the age of twelve to performing some of George Crumb’s most monumental chamber and solo works at the Crumb Festival, a 90th birthday celebration of the famed composer, Petersen embraces the wide array of repertoire available to pianists. Her performances as soloist and chamber musician have been described as having “captured the sense of wonder” (Chicago Tribune), and are equally matched with “great technical skill” (New York Classical Review.)
Petersen’s performances as chamber musician and soloist have taken her to Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall, the Maison Symphonique in Montreal, Quebec, the Grand Teton Music Festival, Empire Saal at Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria, and Boston’s historic Jordan Hall. At the age of seventeen, she made her Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall debut, a performance which was described by Edith Eisler of Strings Magazine as “real music-making–concentrated and deeply felt.” She has also collaborated with musicians of the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra, members of the Gaudete Quintet, Jason Vieaux, and Charles Castleman.
Petersen has nurtured a strong career in chamber music. She believes in the ability of chamber music to foster more meaningful performances in the way that it reflects the intricacies of human interaction, and the subtle art of listening. This aspect of conversation is most present in duo playing, which inspired Petersen to co-found Duo FAE with long-time friend and violinist Charlene Kluegel back in 2013. The duo takes its name from the motto of famous violinist Joseph Joachim: “Frei Aber Einsam” meaning “Free but Alone.” This expression epitomizes the relationship between piano and violin as two equally soloistic instruments whose unique voices are amplified when joined together. Through this collaboration, the duo seeks to present chamber music in its most intimate form. In addition to her performances with Duo FAE, Petersen has also served as core pianist for the chamber group Fifth House Ensemble. Also active as a collaborative pianist, she has been a staff collaborative pianist at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Killington Music Festival, and she was a competition pianist for the Orchestra Symphonique de Montreal’s Standard Life Competition.
In addition to a busy performing schedule, Petersen actively educates the next generation of young performers. Appearances as guest artist have led her to give masterclasses and presentations at institutions such as Illinois State University, Florida Atlantic University, the Eastman School of Music, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. She has previously taught at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, the Conservatory of Music at McGill University, and the Fresh Inc Festival. Currently she is on faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago and the Chicago High School for the Arts. She also directs an annual competition for young musicians as the Artistic Director for the Society of American Musicians—a nearly century old organization founded by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, seeking to advance performance opportunities for young musicians through its competitions.
Petersen completed her early musical training at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, her Bachelor of Music degree at the New England Conservatory of Music, and her Master and Doctor of Music degrees at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University. Her principal teachers were Jonathan Bass, Vivian Weilerstein, Stephane Lemelin, and Sara Laimon.
"This was real music-making -- concentrated and deeply felt."
- Edith Eisler, Strings Magazine