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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Inon Barnatan


Inon Barnatan

"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 was a recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award in 2015, recognizing “young artists of exceptional accomplishment,” as well as the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2009. He recently completed his third and final season as the inaugural Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic, a position created by former Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert, who calls him “the complete artist: a wonderful pianist, a probing intellect, passionately committed, and a capable contemporary-music pianist as well.” Gilbert and Barnatan have since collaborated numerous times and are in the process of recording the complete cycle of Beethoven piano concertos with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, marking that orchestra’s first complete recorded Beethoven concerto cycle.

The summer of 2017 saw Barnatan make his BBC Proms debut, playing Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G with conductor Kazushi Ono and the BBC Symphony in Royal Albert Hall. He also played the world premiere in Aspen of a new concerto by Alan Fletcher, and opens the 2017-18 season performing the same piece with the commissioning Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl under the baton of Ken-David Masur. Later in the season he will play it again with the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Spano. Another season highlight is a New Year's Eve performance of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto in Minneapolis with the Minnesota Orchestra led by Osmo Vänskä, followed by a tour of the Midwest with the orchestra culminating at Chicago‘s Symphony Hall. He debuts with the London and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestras; returns to the Cincinnati Orchestra to play the notoriously difficult Barber Piano Concerto; and plays solo recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall and South Bank Centre, New York’s 92nd Street Y, and the Vancouver Recital Society, among others. As a chamber musician he will curate and play in a multi-concert Schubert festival for La Jolla Music Society, and tour the U.S. and Europe with his frequent recital partner, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, including concerts at Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall.

A regular performer with many of the world’s most celebrated orchestras and conductors, the pianist’s 2016-17 season included debuts with the Chicago, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Seattle, Nashville, San Diego and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras; and returns to many other orchestras and venues around the U.S. He made debuts with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Hong Kong Philharmonic, returned to Tokyo with the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, and performed a complete Beethoven piano concerto cycle in Marseilles. He toured the U.S. twice, once with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, playing and conducting Mozart and Shostakovich concertos from the keyboard and premiering a newly commissioned concerto by Alasdair Nicolson, and again with Alisa Weilerstein and New York 

Philharmonic principal clarinetist Anthony McGill, in a program that included the world premiere of a new work by the young American composer Joseph Hallman.

Highlights of recent seasons include his Walt Disney Hall debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel; performances of Copland’s jazz-inflected Piano Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas in San Francisco and at Carnegie Hall; a debut with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic; performances with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon; and solo recital debuts at the Celebrity Series of Boston and the Harris Theater in Chicago. He also collaborated with choreographer Mark Morris and pianist Garrick Ohlsson in a string of performances by the Mark Morris Dance company at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York. 

A sought-after chamber musician, Barnatan was a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program from 2006 to 2009, and is still a regular performer on CMS programs at home in New York and on tour. His passion for contemporary music has led him to commission and perform many works by living composers, including premieres of works by Thomas Adès, Sebastian Currier, Avner Dorman, Matthias Pintscher, Alasdair Nicolson, Andrew Norman and others.

Barnatan’s latest 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 with an ensemble conducted by Alan Gilbert at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Last October the pianist released Rachmaninov & Chopin: Cello Sonatas on Decca Classics with Alisa Weilerstein, which earned rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. His most recent solo album, featuring Schubert's late piano sonatas, was released by Avie in September 2013. It garnered praise from such publications as Gramophone and BBC Music, and his rendition of the great A major Sonata, D. 959 from the disc was chosen by BBC Radio 3 as one of the all-time best recordings of this piece. His 2012 album, Darknesse Visible, debuted in the Top 25 of the Billboard Traditional Classical chart in its first week of release 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’s “Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012” list. His debut solo recording of Schubert piano works, released by Bridge Records in 2006, 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.”

Born in Tel Aviv in 1979, Inon Barnatan started playing the piano at the age of three after his parents discovered he had perfect pitch, and he 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, who, himself, studied with the Russian master Heinrich Neuhaus; and in 1997 he moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Maria Curcio – a student of the legendary Artur Schnabel – and with

Christopher Elton. Leon Fleisher has also been an influential teacher and mentor. Barnatan currently resides in New York City.

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