Masterclass with Inon Barnatan, piano
"One of the most admired pianists of his generation" (New York Times), Inon Barnatan is celebrated for his poetic sensibility, musical intelligence, and consummate artistry. He is the recipient of both a prestigious 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant and Lincoln Center's 2015 Martin E. Segal Award, which recognizes "young artists of exceptional accomplishment." He was recently named the new Music Director of the La Jolla Music Society Summerfest, beginning in 2019.
Barnatan's 2018-19 season features a number of key performances of the Classical repertoire. He performs Beethoven's Fourth Concerto in Hamburg with Alan Gilbert and his NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Beethoven's Third with the Colorado Symphony, and the "Emperor" Concerto with the Des Moines Symphony and at New York's Skaneateles Festival. He also joins New Jersey's Princeton Symphony to play a marathon two-concert performance of all five Beethoven concertos. With the Houston Symphony and David Danzmayr, Barnatan plays Mozart's Concerto No. 22, and with the Australian Chamber Orchestra the same composer's Concerto No. 12 in New York's Alice Tully Hall. Other orchestral performances include Rachmaninov concertos with both the Pittsburgh Symphony under Long Yu and the Israel Philharmonic led by Gilbert, and Copland's jazz-inflected Piano Concerto with the Oregon Symphony. Chamber performances include two concerts of Shostakovich with the St. Lawrence Quartet, one in Carnegie Hall; Brahms with the Dover Quartet; and an all-Bach program on a U.S. tour with the Calidore Quartet. The pianist also tours the U.S. with his long-standing collaborator, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, joined by violinist Sergey Khachatryan and percussionist Colin Currie for a program of Beethoven, Shostakovich and Schoenberg. Finally, Barnatan makes his International Piano Series debut with a recital of Ravel and Mussorgsky at London's Southbank Centre, and performs solo at the Seattle Symphony's Benaroya Hall, in Boston's Celebrity Series, at the Bienen School of Music in Evanston, Illinois, and in Alabama, Virginia, and Portland, Maine.
Summer 2017 saw Barnatan make his BBC Proms debut, playing Ravel's Piano Concerto in G with Kazushi Ono and the BBC Symphony at London's Royal Albert Hall. Highlights of the 2017-18 season also included three performances of Alan Fletcher's new piano concerto: the world premiere in Aspen, a season-opening performance in the Hollywood Bowl with the commissioning Los Angeles Philharmonic, and a reprise with the Atlanta Symphony and Robert Spano. With the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä he played Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto on New Year's Eve, followed by a Midwest tour culminating in Chicago, and with the same forces he returned to the BBC Proms in summer 2018. The season also included debuts with the London and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestras; a return to the Cincinnati Orchestra for Barber's notoriously difficult Piano Concerto; and solo recitals at London's Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre, New York's 92nd Street Y, and with the Vancouver Recital Society. He gave collaborative recitals at Carnegie Hall and Philadelphia's Kimmel Center with soprano Renée Fleming, curated and played in a multi-concert Schubert festival for the La Jolla Music Society, and toured the U.S. and Europe with Alisa Weilerstein, including concerts at Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall.
A regular performer with many of the world's foremost orchestras and conductors, the pianist recently completed his third and final season as the inaugural Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic. Recent orchestral debuts include the Chicago, Baltimore, Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Nashville, San Diego, and Seattle Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. Other recent highlights include a complete Beethoven concerto cycle in Marseilles; a performance of Copland's jazz-inflected Piano Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas in San Francisco and at Carnegie Hall; and a U.S. tour with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, playing and conducting Mozart and Shostakovich from the keyboard and premiering a newly commissioned concerto by Alasdair Nicolson.
A sought-after chamber musician, Barnatan was a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two) from 2006 to 2009, and continues to make regular CMS appearances in New York and on tour. His passion for contemporary music sees him commission and perform many works by living composers, including premieres of pieces by Thomas Adès, Sebastian Currier, Avner Dorman, Joseph Hallman, Alasdair Nicolson, Andrew Norman, Matthias Pintscher, and others. He has given multiple solo recitals at internationally acclaimed venues including the Celebrity Series of Boston, Chicago's Harris Theater, and London's Wigmore Hall, and collaborated with the Mark Morris Dance Group at New York's Mostly Mozart Festival in both 2016 and 2018.
Barnatan's most recent album release is a live recording of Messiaen's 90-minute masterpiece Des canyons aux étoiles ("From the Canyons to the Stars"), in which he played the exceptionally challenging solo piano part at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. In 2015 he released Rachmaninov & Chopin: Cello Sonatas on Decca Classics with Alisa Weilerstein, earning rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. His most recent solo recording, of Schubert's late piano sonatas, was released by Avie in September 2013, winning praise from such publications as Gramophone and BBC Music, while his account of the great A-Major Sonata (D. 959) was chosen by BBC Radio 3 as one of the all-time best recordings of the piece. His 2012 album, Darknesse Visible, debuted in the Top 25 on the Billboard Traditional Classical chart and received universal critical acclaim, being named BBC Music's "Instrumentalist CD of the Month" and winning a coveted place on the New York Times' "Best of 2012" list. He made his solo recording debut with a Schubert album, released by Bridge Records in 2006, that prompted Gramophone to hail him as "a born Schubertian" and London's Evening Standard to call him "a true poet of the keyboard: refined, searching, unfailingly communicative." Next Barnatan looks forward to the release of Beethoven's five piano concertos, which he recorded with Alan Gilbert and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, marking the orchestra's first complete recording of the cycle.
Born in Tel Aviv in 1979, Inon Barnatan started playing the piano at the age of three, when his parents discovered his perfect pitch, and made his orchestral debut at eleven. His musical education connects him to some of the 20th century's most illustrious pianists and teachers: he studied first with Professor Victor Derevianko, a student of the Russian master Heinrich Neuhaus, before moving to London in 1997 to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Christopher Elton and Maria Curcio, a student of the legendary Artur Schnabel. Leon Fleisher has also been an influential teacher and mentor. Barnatan currently resides in New York City. For more information, visit www.inonbarnatan.com.