Last summer, Inon joined an all-star orchestra of 44 musicians at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival in an account of Olivier Messiaen’s monumental and otherworldly twelve-movement, 90-minute orchestral masterpiece, Des canyons aux étoiles… (From the Canyons to the Stars…), conducted by festival Artist-in-Residence Alan Gilbert. Marking a major milestone in the festival’s history, the performance – featuring the largest ensemble ever gathered there for a single work – was recorded live and is now available from Entertainment One Music. In a work requiring staggering virtuosity from all players, Inon plays the notoriously challenging piano part, including the fourth and ninth movements (Le cossyphe d’Heuglin “The white-browed robin-chat” and Le moqueur polyglotte “The mockingbird”), both of which are scored for solo piano.

Commissioned by art patron Alice Tully for the U.S. bicentennial and premiered at Lincoln Center in 1974, Canyons celebrates the awe-inspiring beauty of the great canyons of southwest Utah, which include Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park. Encompassing a characteristically Messiaenic mix of birdsong, modernist experimentalism, and religious mysticism, the work expresses the composer’s faith in the power of nature to communicate the very essence of God.

Inon’s frequent collaborations with Alan Gilbert — who launches his eighth and final season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic next month — include his three-year residency as the New York Philharmonic’s inaugural Artist-in-Association. Inon and Alan look forward to reuniting in the coming season to continue recording Beethoven’s Five Piano Concertos with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester.

Listen to Des canyons aux étoiles… here on iTunes, here on Amazon, and here on Spotify.


Donec eu eros accumsan, feugiat leo non, imperdiet massa

National Post: National Arts Centre Orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall

“[we] heard the Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan apply striking intelligence to Saint-Saëns’s…

Newark Star-Ledger: NJSO plays Chopin and Brahms

“Barnatan gave a decisive, exacting take on the concerto’s energetic, virtuosic moments…

Chicago Tribune – Inon Barnatan, poet, intellectual virtuoso

“Virtuosity was there throughout, which is to say, from the opening Bach…