Jonathan Biss Joins Mitsuko Uchida As Co-Artistic Director of Marlboro Music

Jonathan Biss
Marlboro Music

Board Chair Christopher Serkin Announces Appointment Following Annual Trustees Meeting
Christopher Serkin, Chair and President of Marlboro Music, announced today that the Board of Trustees has appointed pianist Jonathan Biss to join Mitsuko Uchida as co-artistic director of the revered retreat in Vermont's Green Mountains.

Mr. Serkin, the grandson of Marlboro Music founder Rudolf Serkin, said, “Jonathan’s appointment as co-artistic director marks the next important evolution at Marlboro. He has the musical integrity that is the hallmark of our community, a 20-year history of participation at Marlboro to maintain a sense of continuity, and the vision to help guide the next generations of great musicians.”

Ms. Uchida said, “I first came to Marlboro in 1974 as a young participant, then as a senior player and as director for the last 26 years. During these years I have learned from so many people young and old on a musical and a human level, while exploring music together. It is a great joy to me that Jonathan, who also embodies the spirit of Marlboro, is joining me as co-director. We will plot the future together. If music be the food of love, play on!”

Mr. Biss said, “Marlboro has been my true musical home for many years now: the place where I feel the most purely connected to music, and where the intensity and sheer joy of making music are most palpable to me. To a great extent, I am the musician I am today because of what I learned here, first from many of the senior musicians, and more recently, from musicians my age and a generation younger than I am. To be joining Mitsuko, who has been an inspiration to me for so many years, in this leadership role, is humbling and thrilling in equal measure."

Marlboro Music, described by The New Yorker as "the classical world's most coveted retreat," is widely recognized as the leading center for advanced professional training in music. Since its founding, this unique program and community has developed generations of young artists who have become leaders in all areas of music and has played an integral role in the explosion of interest in chamber music. As Ms. Uchida stated, “Rudolf Serkin created Marlboro in 1951. He was a refugee from Nazi Germany who ran this school-festival with integrity and fierce honesty. Time moves at a different pace in Marlboro: different groups rehearse works of music for weeks on end, often in search of hidden meanings, with commitment and love."

Both Ms. Uchida and Mr. Biss will be in residence at Marlboro each season and will guide and oversee the artistic and educational program. Like Ms. Uchida, Mr. Biss will generously forego summer engagements and performance fees to participate at Marlboro.

Each season, on the rural Vermont campus of Marlboro College (a separate institution), Marlboro forms a community of some 85 exceptional musicians from around the world. Throughout the summer, they explore chamber music works from all periods in great depth and with unlimited rehearsal time. While many of the pieces are performed, many others are not: the exploration itself is the goal. The artists of diverse ages and backgrounds also live together throughout the season, exchanging insights and ideas at meals, seminars, and social events. Through this dynamic program, aspiring young professionals learn vital artistic and life lessons and form lasting professional and personal relationships.

On weekends from mid-July through mid-August, the artists at Marlboro share the inspired results of their intensive collaborations in open rehearsals and weekend concerts. The music-making can be heard throughout the year in Musicians from Marlboro tour concerts, recordings, streaming, and radio broadcasts.

Only a handful of artists have served in a leadership role at Marlboro. Rudolf Serkin was artistic director for the first four decades, until his death in 1991. For several years, Marlboro was led by a “Committee for Artistic Direction” consisting of Richard Goode, András Schiff, and Mitsuko Uchida. In 2000, Mr. Goode and Ms. Uchida began a 14-year tenure as co-directors and, in 2014, Ms. Uchida became just the second person to hold the sole position of artistic director. The directors are assisted by senior artist colleagues who participate regularly in the summer program and the off-season tours and auditions.

About Jonathan Biss 
Jonathan Biss has an in-depth understanding of Marlboro, its history, goals and special qualities, and a broad knowledge of the music world. He first attended Marlboro in 1997, at the start of his career, and was invited to return as a senior artist in 2006—giving back to new generations of young musicians what he himself received at Marlboro.

Mr. Biss enjoys a varied career performing, recording, teaching, writing, and curating innovative artistic projects. He appears regularly as soloist with the world’s leading orchestras and in recital at Carnegie Hall and in London, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and other music capitals. He has recorded Schumann and Dvorák Quintets with the Elias String Quartet and, recently, he embarked on a nine-disc set of Beethoven’s complete piano sonatas. Mr. Biss is also in demand as faculty member at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Mr. Biss’s special projects have included “Schumann: Under the Influence,” a 30-concert exploration of the composer’s role in music history, and a project examining “late style” works and developments by major composers. He also conceived “Beethoven/5,” a collaboration with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra to co-commission five composers to write new concerti inspired by Beethoven. In 2011, Mr. Biss wrote the bestselling eBook “Beethoven’s Shadow,” the first Kindle Single by a classical musician.

Mr. Biss studied at Indiana University with Evelyne Brancart and at Curtis with Leon Fleisher. He has received many awards, including Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. Mr. Biss is the son of violinists Miriam Fried and Paul Biss, who were themselves resident artists at Marlboro in the 1970s.

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