Jonathan Biss

Piano

His approaches to the music are surprising, even extreme. But he never loses control. His brisk intellect endows the works with an essential clarity and self-confidence; his sound is subtle, sweet and refined, with a thrilling tension.
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Biography

Pianist Jonathan Biss’s approach to music is a holistic one. In his own words: "I’m trying to pursue as broad a definition as possible of what it means to be a musician." As well as being of the world’s most sought-after pianists, a regular performer with major orchestras, concert halls and festivals around the globe and co-Artistic Director of Marlboro Music, Jonathan Biss is also a renowned teacher, writer and musical thinker.
His deep musical curiosity has led him to explore music in a multi-faceted way. Through concerts, teaching, writing and commissioning, he fully immerses himself in projects close to his heart, including "Late Style", an exploration of the stylistic changes typical of composers – Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Britten, Elgar, Gesualdo, Kurtág, Mozart, Schubert, and Schumann – as they approached the end of life, looked at through solo and chamber music performances, masterclasses and a Kindle Single publication "Coda". And Schumann: "Under the Influence" a 30 concert initiative examining the work of Robert Schumann and the musical influences on him, with a related Kindle publication "A Pianist Under the Influence".

This 360° approach reaches its zenith with Biss and Beethoven. In 2011, he embarked on a nine-year, nine-disc project to record the complete cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. Starting in September 2019, in the lead-up to the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth in December 2020, he will perform a whole season focused around Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, with more than 50 recitals worldwide. This includes performing the complete sonatas at the Wigmore Hall and Berkeley, multi-concert-series in Washington, Philadelphia, and Seattle, as well as recitals in Rome, Budapest, New York and Sydney.

One of the great Beethoven interpreters of our time, Biss’s fascination with Beethoven dates back to childhood and Beethoven’s music has been a constant throughout his life. In 2011 Biss released "Beethoven’s Shadow", the first Kindle eBook to be written by a classical musician. He has subsequently launched "Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas", Coursera's online learning course that has reached more than 150,000 subscribers world-wide; and initiated "Beethoven/5", a project to commission five piano concertos as companion works for each of Beethoven's piano concertos from composers Timo Andres, Sally Beamish, Salvatore Sciarrino, Caroline Shaw and Brett Dean. The later will be premiered in February 2020 with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and subsequently performed by orchestras in USA, Germany, France, Poland and Australia.

As one of the first recipients of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2003, Biss has a long-standing relationship with Mitsuko Uchida with whom he now enjoys the prestigious position of Co-Artistic Director of Marlboro Music. Marlboro holds a special place for Biss, who spent twelve summers there, and for whom nurturing the next generation of musicians is vitally important. Biss continues his teaching as Neubauer Family Chair in Piano Studies at Curtis Institute of Music.

Biss is no stranger to the world’s great stages. He has performed with major orchestras across the US and Europe, including New York Philharmonic, LA Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, CBSO, London Philharmonic Orchestra and Concertgebouw. He has appeared at the Salzburg and Lucerne Festivals, has made several appearances at the Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Hall, and is in demand as a chamber musician.

He was the first American to be named a BBC New Generation Artist, and has been recognised with many other awards including the Leonard Bernstein Award presented at the 2005 Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Wolf Trap’s Shouse Debut Artist Award, the Andrew Wolf Memorial Chamber Music Award, Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the 2003 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, and the 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award.

Surrounded by music from an early age, Jonathan Biss is the son of violist and violinist Paul Biss and violinist Miriam Fried, and grandson of cellist Raya Garbousova (for whom Samuel Barber composed his cello concerto). He studied with Leon Fleisher at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, and gave his New York recital debut aged 20.

2019 / 2020
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Contact: Eleonore Wrobel

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Programme

2020 / 2021
Fall 2020

Haydn: Sonata in E-flat major, Hob. XVI: 52
Schumann: Kreisleriana, Op. 16

***
Kurtág: Selections from “Játékok”
Schubert: Sonata in B-flat major, D 960

Spring 2021

Schubert: Sonata in C minor, D 958
Janáček: Selections from “On an Overgrown Path”

***
Kurtág: Selections from “Játékok”
Schumann: Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6

Song Recital
with Mark Padmore (tenor)
December 9th - 18th, 2020

Schumann:
Liederkreis (Eichendorff), Op. 39
Sechs Gedichte und Requiem (Lenau), Op. 90

***
Fünf Lieder (Hans Christian Andersen), Op. 40
Zwölf Gedichte (Kerner), Op. 35

 

Schubert:
Winterreise, D 911

Chamber Music
with Liza Ferschtman (violin), Malin Broman (viola) & Antoine Lederlin (cello)
January 11th - 20th, 2021

Janáček: Sonata for Violin and Piano
Dvorák: Quartet in D major, Op. 23

***
Brahms: Quartet in A major, Op. 26

Orchestra Tour
with Kremerata Baltica Chamber Orchestra
June 1st - 13th, 2021

Bach (arr. Kremer): Chaconne from Partita D minor, BWV 1004
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 13 in C major, K 415
***
Korngold: Symphonic Serenade in B-flat major, Op. 39
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, K 414

Schedule

19.12.2019
19:30 Uhr
London, GB / Wigmore Hall
Jonathan Biss
25.01.2020
London, GB / Wigmore Hall
Jonathan Biss
28.02.2020
London, GB / Wigmore Hall
Jonathan Biss
14.03.2020
19:30 Uhr
Dresden, DE / Dresdner Philharmonie
Jonathan Biss, Dresdner Philharmonie, Krzysztof Urbanski
15.03.2020
18:00 Uhr
Dresden, DE / Dresdner Philharmonie
Jonathan Biss, Dresdner Philharmonie, Krzysztof Urbanski

Discography

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Vol. 8
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13 "Pathétique"
Piano Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 14 No. 2
Piano Sonata No. 22 in F Major, Op. 54
Piano Sonata No. 31 in A♭ Major, Op. 110

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Vol. 7
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 2 No. 2
Piano Sonata No. 20 in G major, Op. 49 No. 2
Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2 "The Tempest"
Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Vol. 6
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 9 in E major, Op. 14, No. 1
Piano Sonata No. 13 in E-flat major, Op. 27, No. 1 "Sonata quasi una fantasia"
Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat major, Op. 106 "Hammerklavier"

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Vol. 5
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2, No. 3
Piano Sonata No. 25 in G major, Op. 79
Piano Sonata No. 27 in E minor, Op. 90
Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Vol. 4
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2 No. 1
Piano Sonata No. 6 in F major, Op. 10 No. 2
Piano Sonata No. 19 in G minor, Op. 49 No. 1
Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 “Appassionata”
13. Bagatelles, Op. 126 No. 6 in E-flat major

Schubert: Piano Sonatas
György Kurtág
Birthday elegy for Judit - for the second finger of her left hand (from Játékok)
Spoken introduction
Hommage a Schubert (from Játékok)

Franz Schubert
Piano Sonata D. 840 “Reliquie”
Piano Sonata D. 959

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Vol. 3
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28
Piano Sonata No. 16 in G major, Op. 31 No. 1
Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 “Waldstein”

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Vol. 2
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 4 in E-flat major, Op. 7
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor ("Moonlight"), Op. 27
Piano Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp major ("Funeral March"), Op. 78

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Vol. 1
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 10/1
Piano Sonata No. 11 in B flat major, Op. 22
Piano Sonata No. 12 in A flat major ("Funeral March"), Op. 26
Piano Sonata No. 26 in E flat major ("Les Adieux"), Op. 81a

Schumann & Dvořák
Robert Schumann
Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44

Antonín Dvořák
Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, Op. 81, B. 155

Elias String Quartet

Videos

Jonathan Biss plays Schumann's Fantasiestücke, Op. 12 (No. 2 Aufschwung)
Jonathan Biss in Practice: Piano Sonatas by Beethoven

Contact

Eleonore Wrobel
t: +49 (0)30 414 781 725
f: +49 (0)30 414 781 713