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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Inon Barnatan

piano

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 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. 

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. At Aspen, he gave the world premiere of a new concerto by Alan Fletcher, which was also the vehicle for his season-opening Hollywood Bowl appearance with the commissioning Los Angeles Philharmonic. Besides a reprise of Fletcher’s concerto with the Atlanta Symphony and Robert Spano, Barnatan’s 2017-18 highlights include a New Year’s Eve performance of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä, followed by a Midwest tour culminating in Chicago; 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 South Bank Centre, New York’s 92nd Street Y, and with the Vancouver Recital Society. He gives recitals at Carnegie Hall and Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center with soprano Renée Fleming, curates and plays in a multi-concert Schubert festival for the La Jolla Music Society, and tours the U.S. and Europe, with concerts at Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall, with his frequent recital partner, cellist Alisa Weilerstein. 

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. Other 2016-17 highlights included debuts with the Chicago, Baltimore, Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Nashville, San Diego, and Seattle Symphony Orchestras; and returns to many other U.S. ensembles. He made debuts with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Hong Kong Philharmonic, returned to the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, and performed a complete Beethoven concerto cycle in Marseilles. He toured the U.S. twice, once with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, with which he played and conducted Mozart and Shostakovich from the keyboard and premiered a newly commissioned concerto by Alasdair Nicolson, and then with Alisa Weilerstein and New York Philharmonic principal clarinetist Anthony McGill, performing a trio program that featured the world premiere of a new commission from young American composer Joseph Hallman.

Highlights of recent seasons include Barnatan’s Walt Disney Concert 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; appearances with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon; and solo recital debuts in the Celebrity Series of Boston and at Chicago’s Harris Theater. He also collaborated with choreographer Mark Morris, pianist Garrick Ohlsson, and the Mark Morris Dance Group 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 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.

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.