“One of the most admired pianists of his generation” (New York Times), Inon Barnatan has established a unique and varied career, equally celebrated as a soloist, curator and collaborator. Barnatan is a regular soloist with many of the world’s foremost orchestras and conductors, and served as the inaugural Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic for three seasons.
During the pre-pandemic period of the 19/20 season Inon played with the symphony orchestras of Minnesota, Dresden, Barcelona, Stockholm, Ottawa, Innsbruck, Tenerife and Los Angeles, recreated Beethoven’s legendary 1808 concert with the Cincinnati Symphony, and finished recording the complete Beethoven piano concertos with Alan Gilbert and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, released by the Pentatone label in 2020. When public concerts stopped during the pandemic, Inon recorded concert films and streamed performances with numerous orchestras, including the Boston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Detroit, New Jersey and San Diego symphony orchestras, conducted Mozart and Beethoven concertos from the keyboard with the Seattle Symphony, performed the US premiere of Matthias Pintscher’s piano concerto with the New World Symphony, and played numerous recitals and chamber music performances online. The coming season sees his return to the Chicago Symphony and London Philharmonic, his debuts with the Liverpool Philharmonic and Montreal Symphony orchestras, and the Pentatone release of his “Time-Traveler Suite” album, a program merging Baroque movements by Bach, Handel, Rameau and Couperin with movements by Ravel, Ligeti, Barber and Thomas Adès to create a unique baroque-inspired suite, culminating in Brahms’ Variations on a theme by Handel.
The recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant and Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, Barnatan is also a sought-after recitalist and chamber musician, and in 2019 he embarked on his first season as music director of La Jolla Music Society’s Summerfest in California, one of the foremost music festivals in the US. In the 19/20 season he played solo recitals at Carnegie’s Zankell Hall and London’s Wigmore Hall and reunited for a European tour with his frequent recital partner, cellist Alisa Weilerstein. Passionate about contemporary music, he has commissioned and performed works by many living composers, premiering pieces by Thomas Adès, Sebastian Currier, Avner Dorman, and Andrew Norman, among many others.
"a complete artist: a wonderful pianist, a probing intellect, passionately committed, and a capable contemporary-music pianist as well.”
Alan Gilbert, Music Director, New York Philharmonic
On his third PENTATONE album Time Traveler’s Suite, pianist Inon Barnatan redefines our notions of the suite by taking us on a journey through time and space, from Baroque pieces by Bach, Handel, Rameau and Couperin to more recent works by Ravel, Barber, Adès and Ligeti. The program culminates in Brahms’s ingenious Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel.
“This recital program was born out a mild obsession with making connections. I have always been fascinated by the conversation that composers have with one another across centuries, how they respect and build on the music they love and admire and find a way to make it their own. The Time Traveler’s Suite is an attempt to take a journey through that continuous musical legacy.
Composers like Bach and Couperin took the humble dance movements and made them into exquisite pieces of music that were too engrossing and complex to dance to. Ravel and Thomas Adès studied and rewrote Couperin’s music and used it among other influences as a departure point to their own unique language and sound. Ligeti and Barber used Baroque forms and idioms to channel their own 20th-century style. Each composer uses the past as a way to move forward.
For my assembled suite I used the form of the Baroque dance suite, a collection of dances that became a standardized way to write music in the 17th and 18th century, and one that composers kept on coming back to throughout the centuries. As the different movements of the suite I compiled pieces from composers spanning over 300 years, with the Toccata by Bach acting as the overture and each subsequent piece standing in for the different dances, until we get to the mighty Barber Fugue. The relationship of keys and moods, and the way the composers were influenced by one another keeps the “suite”, at least to my mind, a unified whole — a musical journey that highlights both the similarities and the innovations of its stops.
The final work in this album is Brahms’ Handel Variations, another piece based on a Baroque suite. Even Wagner, Brahms’s supposed musical enemy, couldn’t deny the ingenuity of the piece, remarking that there is still life in the old forms if someone knows what to do with them. Brahms develops a theme from a suite by Handel into an intricately beautiful set of variations — culminating, like my assembled suite, in a virtuosic fugue. I hope you enjoy this time-traveling adventure.”
– Inon Barnatan
Announced: Upcoming online performances in 2021
Join Inon in March and April 2021 for a wealth of online performances of Mozart, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Florence Price and Matthias Pintscher piano concertos with Boston, Pittsburgh, New Jersey and Albany Symphony Orchestras, the New World Symphony, Music of the Baroque ensemble in Chicago, and in duo and chamber music performances with Alisa Weilerstein and Phillipe Quint.
Check out the Schedule for more details
March Recitals in the UK
This March, Inon Barnatan travels to the UK to perform two recitals featuring the works of Mendelssohn, Stevenson, Gershwin, and Schubert.
The first of these recitals is on March 4 at the Oxford Playhouse. Inon then travels to London, where he performs at Wigmore Hall on March 5. Featured on these recitals are Mendelssohn's Song without Words, Gershwin's I Got Rhythm, Schubert's Piano Sonata in B flat, and other favorites from the repertoire.
Click here for tickets to the Oxford performance, or here for the concert in London.
Listen to Inon perform the first movement of Schubert's Piano Sonata in B flat on Spotify.
Beethoven Akademie 1808 in Cincinnati
On February 29 & March 1, Inon Barnatan joins the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and conductor Louis Langrée for a recreation of Beethoven’s 1808 Akademie concert.
Inon Barnatan performs Piano Concerto No. 4 and Choral Fantasy, which were premiered by Beethoven himself before he retired as a concert pianist. The CSO also presents Symphonies 5 and 6, two of Beethoven’s most important works.