Israeli Pianist Inon Barnatan Maintains Strong NYC Presence in Inaugural Season as New York Phil’s First Artist-in-Association

09.10.14
Inon Barnatan
21C Media Group

Hailed by the New Yorker’s Alex Ross as “a player of uncommon sensitivity,” Inon Barnatan cements his reputation as one of New York City’s leading pianists this season, not only with the launch of his unprecedented new three-year appointment as Artist-in-Association at the New York Philharmonic, but also with high-profile engagements at such key Manhattan venues as Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the 92nd Street Y, and SubCulture. The Avery Fisher Career Grant-winner also makes important debuts with orchestras including the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Vancouver Symphony, and Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec; undertakes repeat engagements with the Atlanta and Milwaukee Symphonies; makes his solo recital debut in the Celebrity Series of Boston; and gives the world premiere of a new commission from Sebastian Currier at London’s Wigmore Hall. Equally celebrated as a chamber musician, the Israeli pianist makes multiple appearances with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and heads back on tour with his regular duo recital partner, cellist Alisa Weilerstein.

Barnatan explains:

“This is a very exciting season for me. Not only do I get to do what I love most – a true mix of concertos, recitals, chamber music, great masterworks and new music – this season I get to do all these things on my own doorstep, in New York City. Starting my new multi-year relationship with the New York Philharmonic is obviously an immense highlight for me. Beyond that, I've always loved the diversity of the music life in New York, and being able to play a large variety of music in such different venues with wonderful colleagues, all in one of the world’s great cultural centers and in a span of a few months, is exhilarating.”

When the New York Philharmonic created its Artist-in-Association position, a major new partnership designed to foster a deeper and more rounded relationship between soloist and orchestra, Barnatan proved the natural first choice. As Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert explains, “He’s a complete artist: a wonderful pianist, a probing intellect, passionately committed, and a capable contemporary-music pianist as well.” The prestigious appointment features multiple concerto collaborations, and Barnatan makes his subscription debut under Gilbert’s leadership in concerts at Lincoln Center (March 19, 20 & 24) and in Greenvale, NY (March 21), playing theG-major Concerto of Ravel, in whose music the pianist recently impressed the New York Times with the “furious flair of his live rendition.” The Artist-in-Association role also offers prominent chamber collaborations with members of the orchestra, and the coming season sees him join Philharmonic musicians and Alisa Weilerstein for a chamber program of Dvorák and Martinu at New York’s 92nd Street Y (Dec 7) and perform Dvorák’s Piano Quintet with members of the orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall (Feb 7).

Maintaining his strong New York City presence, the pianist makes his solo recital debut at downtown hotspot SubCulture, with a program featuring the New York premiere of Matthias Pintscher’s whirling tissue of light (Sep 23). It was Barnatan who commissioned the work, of which his world premiere performance was pronounced “outstanding” (The Times of London). His other upcoming Manhattan dates comprise an all-Brahms chamber recital with the Jerusalem String Quartet at the 92nd Street Y (Oct 23, 25 & 29), and a pairing of Schubert with Chausson in company with violinist Ani Kavafian and other members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at Alice Tully Hall (Nov 16). The program, which they reprise at Chicago’s Harris Theater the following day, showcases Barnatan’s exceptional way with Schubert, which has already drawn comparisons with Schnabel; according to BBC Music magazine, his 2013 recording of the Viennese composer’s late sonatas reveals “superior playing, in which penetrating musicianship, compelling interpretive insight, and elegant pianism achieve near perfect equilibrium.”

Just across the Hudson River, the pianist tours Chopin’s First Piano Concerto with the New Jersey Symphony and Stefan Sanderling (Nov 28–30). And further afield, he performs orchestral repertoire ranging from concertos by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky to Andrew Norman’s Suspend, in collaboration with such eminent conductors as James Gaffigan, Susanna Mälkki, Matthias Pintscher, Bramwell Tovey, and Edo de Waart. Barnatan also looks forward to making his Boston “Celebrity Series” solo recital debut (Dec 10), while for his return to London’s Wigmore Hall, where he is a frequent performer, he juxtaposes signature works by Schubert, Franck, and Ravel with the world premiere of Glow, a new commission from Grawemeyer Award-winning composer Sebastian Currier (May 24). This marks the latest in a succession of contemporary compositions commissioned by the pianist, who also recently debuted a new work by Avner Dorman.

A dedicated chamber musician who has been recognized with the Andrew Wolf Memorial Award, Barnatan’s upcoming chamber highlights include a five-city U.S. duo recital tour with his frequent and longtime collaborator, MacArthur Award-winning cellist Alisa Weilerstein, with whom he is especially “temperamentally well matched” (New York Times). Culminating with an appearance in Boston’s “Celebrity Series,” the tour features the world premiere performances of a new work by 2014 Grammy Award nominee Joseph Hallman (April 16–May 1).

Details of Inon Barnatan’s upcoming engagements are provided below, and more information is available at the artist’s web site: www.inonbarnatan.com.