Part of: Great Artists II
Jonathan Biss is a world-renowned pianist who shares his deep curiosity with music lovers in the concert hall and beyond. He continues to expand his reputation as a teacher, musical thinker, and one of the great Beethoven interpreters of our time. He was recently named co-artistic director alongside Mitsuko Uchida at the Marlboro Music Festival, where he has spent 12 summers. In addition, he has written extensively about his relationships with the composers with whom he shares a stage.
A member of the faculty of his alma mater—the Curtis Institute of Music—since 2010, Mr. Biss led the first massive open online course (MOOC) offered by a classical music conservatory, Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, which has reached more than 200,000 people in 185 countries. As 2020—the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth—approaches, Mr. Biss continues to add lectures to his online course until he covers all of the sonatas in time for the anniversary year. He simultaneously progresses through his nine-year, nine-disc recording cycle of Beethoven’s complete piano sonatas, which will also be completed in 2020. Volume 8 of this endeavor will be released this March.
Mr. Biss’s bestselling eBook, Beethoven’s Shadow (published by RosettaBooks in 2011), describes the process of recording the sonatas and was the first book written by a classical musician in the Kindle Singles series. He also conceived the Beethoven/5 project, for which The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra has co-commissioned Timo Andres, Sally Beamish, Salvatore Sciarrino, Caroline Shaw, and Brett Dean to write piano concertos, each inspired by one of Beethoven’s. The concerto by Shaw, Watermark, receives its premiere with the Seattle Symphony at the end of this month. Mr. Biss is committed to making sure that these concertos become part of the repertoire and has performed the commissions globally.
Mr. Biss has long-standing relationships with the New York Philharmonic; the Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Philharmonia orchestras; the Boston, Chicago, and Swedish Radio symphony orchestras; and the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Budapest Festival, and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras, among many others. He began piano lessons at age six, and studied at Indiana University with Evelyne Brancart and at the Curtis Institute of Music with Leon Fleisher.