Jonathan Biss Announces Schumann: Under the Influence, an international initiative of over 30 concerts examining the works of Robert Schumann

06.04.12
Jonathan Biss

Performances in London, Amsterdam, New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Kansas City

Collaborations with tenor Mark Padmore, soprano Camilla Tilling, violist Kim Kashkashian, clarinetist Romie de Guise-Langlois, violist Scott St. John, clarinetist Carey Bell, and the Elias String Quartet


 With over 30 concerts throughout Europe and North America over an eight month span, Schumann: Under the Influence is a season-long exploration of the composer's role in musical history. Pianist Jonathan Biss and several hand-picked collaborators will perform Schumann's work, music by his notable influences such as Beethoven, Schubert, and Purcell, and selections from his long list of successors ranging from Berg and Janácek to 26-year-old composer Timothy Andres. As Biss explains, "This series of concerts takes a deeply affectionate look at the man whose music I find so endlessly fascinating and moving, and attempts to 'place' him--to explore the rather complex relationship he has with the composers who inspired him, and to show on every level how poor indeed we would be without him, his music, and his legacy."

The initiative is unique among presenters and soloists. Biss personally curated each concert with a mind towards creating a complete whole. He notes, "The impetus for Schumann: Under the Influence was--of course--Schumann's music itself. My feelings for this music go beyond love, though there's also plenty of that: silly as it may sound, I feel somehow protective of him. This is first of all because his music is so deeply personal and achingly vulnerable, it tends to inspire these feelings in those who respond deeply to his music. But equally, it comes from my sense that for a composer of his stature, he is subject to a remarkable number of misconceptions, and to an attitude that can at times be downright condescending. I wanted to show Schumann's music exactly as it is--deeply poetic, fragile, obsessive, evocative, whimsical, internal." Unlike a traditional artist-in-residency, Schumann: Under the Influence allows Biss to create a sprawling, roving Schumann festival in multiple countries, with various presenter partners, and, perhaps most importantly, with a diversified set of artist co-conspirators.

Biss will be joined in this project by tenor Mark Padmore, soprano Camilla Tilling, violist Kim Kashkashian, clarinetist Romie de Guise-Langlois, Scott St. John, Carey Bell, and the Elias String Quartet. Says Biss, "It is no accident that most of the music on these four programs is collaborative. Given that this project is to such a large degree about exploration, there is enormous pleasure to be found in opening it up to other viewpoints, to the voices--literal in some cases--of other musicians. And so, while the other performers involved are in many respects very different from one another, they are similar in that they all approach music with an attitude of curiosity." Over the course of the 2012-13 season, Biss also plays Schumann with orchestras including the Prague Philharmonia, the San Francisco Symphony, the Orchestra National de Belgique, and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Biss's May 2013 recital at Wigmore Hall in London will be recorded for the Wigmore Hall Live label. Launched in 2005, Wigmore Hall Live has released over 40 records to great critical acclaim. This performance includes Schumann's Phantasiestücke interspersed with selections from Janácek's Along an Overgrown Path. The evening concludes with Berg's Piano Sonata and Davidsbündlertänze by Schumann.

Jonathan Biss has appeared with the foremost orchestras of North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Widely regarded known not only for his artistry and poetic interpretations but also for his deep musical curiosity, Biss performs a diverse repertoire ranging from Mozart and Beethoven, through the Romantics to Janácek and Schoenberg as well as works by contemporary composers such as Gyorgy Kurtág and including commission from Leon Kirchner, Lewis Spratian and Bernard Rands. Biss has a noted recording career. His recordings include an album of Schubert sonatas and two short Kurtág pieces that was named by NPR Music as one of the best albums of the year. His recent albums for EMI won a Diapason d'Or de l'année award and an Edison Award. In January 2012, Onyx Classics released the first CD in a nine-year, nine-disc recording cycle of Beethoven's complete sonatas. Biss wrote about this recording project and also and about his relationship with Beethoven's music more generally for a 19,000-word essay called Beethoven’s Shadow that was published electronically as a "Kindle Single" and is available from Amazon online stores. Biss studied at Indiana University and at The Curtis Institute of Music, where he was appointed to the piano faculty in 2010. His blog featuring music ruminations, reflections about his life as a musician, and interviews can be found at www.jonathanbiss.com

Schumann: Under the Influence
Complete Schedule


San Francisco, CA
October 4, 2012

featuring Carey Bell, clarinet; Scott St. John, viola; Mark Padmore, tenor
SCHUMANN Marchenerzahlungen Op. 132
KURTÁG Hommage à Robert Schumann
BEETHOVEN An Die ferne Geliebte Op. 98
SCHUMANN Fantasy in C Major Op. 17

San Francisco, CA
October 6, 2012

featuring Mark Padmore, tenor
SCHUMANN Gesänge der Frühe Op. 133
BERG Sieben Frühe Lieder
SCHUBERT Heine songs, from Schwanengesang
SCHUMANN Dichterliebe Op.48

Wigmore Hall; London, UK
October 11, 2012

featuring Mark Padmore, tenor; Camilla Tilling, soprano
SCHUMANN Gesänge der Frühe Op. 133
BERG Sieben Frühe Lieder
SCHUBERT Heine songs, from Schwanengesang
SCHUMANN Dichterliebe Op.48

Concertgebouw; Amsterdam, The Netherlands
October 16, 2012

featuring Mark Padmore, tenor; Camilla Tilling, soprano
SCHUMANN Gesänge der Frühe Op. 133
BERG Sieben Frühe Lieder
SCHUBERT Heine songs, from Schwanengesang
SCHUMANN Dichterliebe Op.48

Concertgebouw; Amsterdam, The Netherlands
October 17, 2012

featuring Romie de Guise-Langlois, clarinet; Kim Kashkashian, viola; Mark Padmore, tenor
SCHUMANN Marchenerzahlungen Op. 132
KURTÁG Hommage à Robert Schumann
BEETHOVEN An Die ferne Geliebte Op. 98
SCHUMANN Fantasy in C Major Op. 17

Wigmore Hall; London, UK
October 19, 2012

featuring Romie de Guise-Langlois, clarinet; Kim Kashkashian, viola; Mark Padmore, tenor
SCHUMANN Marchenerzahlungen Op. 132
KURTÁG Hommage à Robert Schumann
BEETHOVEN An Die ferne Geliebte Op. 98
SCHUMANN Fantasy in C Major Op. 17

Kansas City, KS
November 2, 2012

SCHUMANN Gesänge der Frühe Op 133
BERG Piano Sonata, Op. 1
BEETHOVEN Fantasy for solo piano, Op. 77
SCHUMANN Fantasy in C Major Op. 17

Kansas City, KS
March 8, 2013

SCHUMANN Phantasiestücke Op. 12
JANÁCEK Selections from Along an Overgrown Path
MOZART Minuet in D Major for piano
MOZART Adagio for Piano in B minor
SCHUMANN Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6

Carnegie Hall; New York, NY
March 12, 2013

SCHUMANN Phantasiestücke Op. 12
JANÁCEK Selections from Along an Overgrown Path
MOZART Minuet in D Major for piano
MOZART Adagio for Piano in B minor
SCHUMANN Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6

San Francisco, CA
March 17, 2013

SCHUMANN Phantasiestücke Op. 12
JANÁCEK Selections from Along an Overgrown Path
BERG Piano Sonata, Op. 1
SCHUMANN Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6

Boston, MA
March 22, 2013

SCHUMANN Phantasiestücke Op. 12
JANÁCEK Selections from Along an Overgrown Path
BERG Piano Sonata, Op. 1
SCHUMANN Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6

San Francisco, CA
March 29, 2013

featuring Elias String Quartet
PURCELL Fantasias
SCHUMANN String Quartet in A minor Op. 41
ANDRES New Work
SCHUMANN Piano Quartet in E-flat Major Op. 47

Carnegie, Hall; New York, NY
April 2, 2013

featuring Elias String Quartet
MOZART Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-flat major
JANÁCEK String Quartet No. 2, Intimate Letters
ANDRES New Work
SCHUMANN Piano Quartet in E-flat Major Op. 47

Kansas City, KS
April 5, 2013
featuring Elias String Quartet
MOZART Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-flat major
JANÁCEK String Quartet No. 2, Intimate Letters
ANDRES New Work
SCHUMANN Piano Quartet in E-flat Major Op. 47

Kansas City, KS
April 6, 2013

featuring Elias String Quartet; soloists Carol McGonnell, clarinet; Eric Reed, horn; Brad Balliet, bassoon
JANÁCEK Concertino for Piano and Chamber Ensemble
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 13 in c Major
SCHUMANN Piano Quintet in E-flat Major Op. 44

Carnegie Hall; New York, NY
April 10, 2013

featuring Elias String Quartet; soloists Carol McGonnell, clarinet; Eric Reed, horn; Brad Balliet, bassoon
JANÁCEK Concertino for Piano and Chamber Ensemble
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 13 in c Major
SCHUMANN Piano Quintet in E-flat Major Op. 44

Boston, MA
April 12, 2013
featuring Elias String Quartet
PURCELL Fantasias
SCHUMANN String Quartet in A minor Op. 41
ANDRES New Work
SCHUMANN Piano Quintet in E-flat Major Op. 44

Wigmore Hall; London, UK
May 14, 2013

featuring Elias String Quartet
PURCELL Fantasias
SCHUMANN String Quartet in A minor Op. 41
ANDRES New Work
SCHUMANN Piano Quintet in E-flat Major Op. 44

Wigmore Hall; London, UK
May 22, 2013

SCHUMANN Phantasiestücke Op. 12
JANÁCEK Selections from Along an Overgrown Path
BERG Piano Sonata, Op. 1
SCHUMANN Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6

Concertgebouw; Amsterdam, The Netherlands
May 24, 2013

featuring Elias String Quartet
PURCELL Fantasias
SCHUMANN String Quartet in A minor Op. 41
ANDRES New Work
SCHUMANN Piano Quintet in E-flat Major Op. 44

Concertgebouw; Amsterdam, The Netherlands
May 26, 2013

SCHUMANN Phantasiestücke Op. 12
JANÁCEK Selections from Along an Overgrown Path
BERG Piano Sonata, Op. 1
SCHUMANN Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6

Additional performances in Florence, Italy; Jersey, Channel Island; Amherst, MA; Antwerp, Belgium; Prague, Czech Republic; Aschaffenburg, Germany; Trieste, Italy; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, ME; Hamburg, Germany; Lyon, France; and others.