Performance Sunday, April 17, 2016 | 2 PM

Jeremy Denk

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
“What Mr. Denk’s playing conveys most is an inclusive consideration of where each piece came from, what it reflects about its composer and how music connects to a life’s broader concerns … Mr. Denk, clearly, is a pianist you want to hear, no matter what he performs,” wrote The New York Times about Jeremy Denk. The stunning pianist, erudite writer, and MacArthur Fellow returns to Carnegie Hall for what will be a fascinating recital.


  • Jeremy Denk, Piano


  • BACH English Suite No. 3 in G Minor, BWV 808
  • BYRD "The Passinge Mesures: The Nynthe Pavian" from My Ladye Nevells Book
  • WILLIAM BOLCOM Graceful Ghost Rag
  • YOUMANS "Tea for Two" from No, No, Nanette (arr. Art Tatum)
  • HINDEMITH "Ragtime" from Suite "1922"
  • STRAVINSKY Piano-Rag-Music
  • IVES Ragtime Dance No. 3 from Four Ragtime Dances
  • IVES Ragtime Dance No. 4 from Four Ragtime Dances
  • LAMBERT "Pilgrim's Chorus" from Tannhäuser (after Wagner)
  • SCHUBERT Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960

  • Encore:
  • BACH Variation No. 13 from Goldberg Variations, BWV 988

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Jeremy Denk

    One of America's most thought-provoking, multifaceted, and compelling artists, pianist Jeremy Denk is the winner of a 2013 MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship and the 2014 Avery Fisher Prize, in addition to being named Musical America's 2014 Instrumentalist of the Year. He has recently appeared as soloist with The Cleveland Orchestra; New York Philharmonic; Los Angeles Philharmonic; The Philadelphia Orchestra; and the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and London.

    Last season, Mr. Denk launched his four-season tenure as an artistic partner of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and performed Bach concertos with Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in London and on tour throughout the US. Following the release of his disc of J. S. Bach's Goldberg Variations-which reached number one on Billboard's Classical Albums chart-he performed the work throughout Europe, including his debut performance at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and at LSO St. Luke's in London.

    Mr. Denk's 2015-2016 engagements include a 14-city recital tour of the US-including performances in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, San Francisco, and Miami-that culminates in his return to Carnegie Hall. He makes his debut with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and appears on tour in recital in the UK, including a return to Wigmore Hall. He also performs with the Britten Sinfonia in Cambridge, Norwich, Southampton, and London.

    Mr. Denk has toured frequently with violinist Joshua Bell; their Sony Classical album, French Impressions, won the 2012 ECHO Klassik award. He also collaborates regularly with cellist Steven Isserlis. Mr. Denk has appeared at numerous festivals, including the Italian and American Spoleto Festivals, and the Verbier, Ravinia, Tanglewood, Aspen Music, and Mostly Mozart festivals. In 2014, Mr. Denk served as music director of the Ojai Music Festival, for which, besides performing and curating, he wrote the libretto for the comic opera The Classical Style. The opera was presented by Carnegie Hall last season.

    Mr. Denk is known for his original and insightful writing on music, which Alex Ross praises for its "arresting sensitivity and wit." The pianist's writing has appeared in The New Yorker, New Republic, The Guardian, and on the front page of The New York Times Book Review. One of his New Yorker contributions, "Every Good Boy Does Fine," forms the basis of a memoir for future publication by Random House (US) and Macmillan Publishers (UK). Recounting his experiences of touring, performing, and practicing, his blog, Think Denk, was recently selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress web archives.

    Mr. Denk graduated from Oberlin College, Indiana University, and The Juilliard School. He currently lives in New York City.

    More Info

At a Glance

Jeremy Denk’s exceptionally eclectic program ranges from Renaissance and contemporary classical music to ragtime and jazz. In juxtaposing works that represent a wide array of styles and idioms, Denk reminds us that J. S. Bach and Paul Hindemith were no less attuned to the popular music of their time than Scott Joplin. Just as Vincent Youmans’s “Tea for Two” (made famous by Art Tatum’s arrangement) and Donald Lambert’s “Pilgrim’s Chorus” illustrate the transmutation of familiar pop and classical standards into jazz gold, so William Byrd’s pavan and Charles Ives’s Ragtime Dances demonstrate that the free play of invention, operating at the highest level, is inspired but not constrained by its models.

Once you begin listening for them, such commonalities become apparent even in the works of musicians who seem to be in a class by themselves. Conlon Nancarrow, for example, found inspiration for his fiercely iconoclastic piano music in Tatum’s exquisitely refined pianism and the innovative, intricately wrought rhythmic patterns of Igor Stravinsky. By contrast, Franz Schubert’s Sonata in B-flat Major transports the listener into a rarefied realm where one idea flows into another and time seems almost suspended. Like the other two piano sonatas that Schubert wrote in the months leading up to his untimely death, D. 960 is notable for the grandeur of its conception. The first movement in particular is one of his most spacious musical structures, being almost as long as the other three movements combined. 
Program Notes
This performance is part of Keyboard Virtuosos II.