This concert is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for young artists established by Mr. and Mrs. Anthony B. Evnin and the AE Charitable Foundation.
Pianist Jonathan Biss shares his talent, passion, and intellectual curiosity with classical music lovers in the concert hall and beyond. For more than two decades on the concert stage, he has forged relationships with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and many others.
This season, Mr. Biss continues his latest Beethoven project, Beethoven/5, for which The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra has co-commissioned five composers to write new piano concertos, each inspired by one of Beethoven's piano concertos. The five-year plan began last season, when Mr. Biss premiered Timo Andres's The Blind Banister, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music; he will perform the piece with the New York Philharmonic in the spring of 2017.
In the 2016-2017 season, Mr. Biss examines, both in performance and academically, the concept of a composer's "late style," and has put together programs of later works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Britten, Elgar, Gesualdo, Kurtág, Mozart, Schubert, and Schumann--both for solo piano and in collaboration with the Brentano String Quartet and tenor Mark Padmore. In addition to Carnegie Hall, he performs these programs at London's Barbican Centre, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, and in performances in San Francisco and at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. He also gives master classes at Carnegie Hall in connection with the "late style" project and publishes a Kindle Single on the topic in January.
Mr. Biss has a notable recording career with recent albums for EMI winning Diapason d'Or de l'année and Edison awards. In 2017, he will release the sixth volume of his nine-year, nine-disk recording cycle of Beethoven's complete piano sonatas.
Mr. Biss studied at Indiana University and the Curtis Institute of Music, where he joined the piano faculty in 2010. He led the first massive open online course (MOOC) ever offered by a classical music conservatory, Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas, reaching more than 150,000 people in 185 countries. His bestselling eBook Beethoven's Shadow, published by Rosetta Books in 2011, was the first Kindle Single written by a classical musician.
Since its inception in 1992, the Brentano String Quartet has appeared throughout the world to popular and critical acclaim. Since 2014, it has served as quartet-in-residence at Yale University. The quartet also currently serves as the collaborative ensemble for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Formerly, it was ensemble-in-residence at Princeton University.
The quartet has performed in the world's most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Library of Congress in Washington, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw, Vienna's Konzerthaus, Tokyo's Suntory Hall, and the Sydney Opera House. The quartet had its first European tour in 1997, and was honored in the UK with the Royal Philharmonic Award for most outstanding debut.
The Brentano String Quartet is known for especially imaginative projects that combine old and new music. Among the quartet's latest collaborations with contemporary composers is a new work by Steven Mackey, One Red Rose, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Other recent commissions include a piano quintet by Vijay Iyer, a work by Eric Moe (with soprano Christine Brandes), and a new viola quintet by Felipe Lara (performed with violist Hsin-Yun Huang). In 2012, the quartet provided the central music (Beethoven's Op. 131) for the critically acclaimed independent film A Late Quartet.
The quartet has worked closely with other important composers of our time, among them Elliott Carter, Charles Wuorinen, Chou Wen-chung, Bruce Adolphe, and György Kurtág. It has also been privileged to collaborate with such artists as soprano Jessye Norman and pianists Richard Goode, Jonathan Biss, and Mitsuko Uchida.
The quartet is named for Antonie Brentano, whom many scholars consider to be Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved"--the intended recipient of his famous love confession.