“One of the most admired pianists of his generation” (New York Times), Inon Barnatan is celebrated for his poetic sensibility, musical intelligence, and consummate artistry. He inaugurates his tenure as Music Director of California’s La Jolla Music Society Summerfest in July 2019. The coming season brings the release of a two-volume set of Beethoven’s complete piano concertos, which he recorded for Pentatone with Alan Gilbert and London’s Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Barnatan’s upcoming concerto collaborations include Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 with Nicholas McGegan and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Ravel’s G-major Concerto with the Chicago Symphony, Rachmaninov’s Third Concerto with Gilbert and the Royal Stockholm Symphony, Clara Schumann’s Concerto with the New Jersey Symphony, and a recreation of Beethoven’s legendary 1808 concert, which featured the world premieres of his Fourth Piano Concerto, Choral Fantasy, and Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, with Louis Langrée and the Cincinnati Symphony. Barnatan also plays Mendelssohn, Gershwin, and Thomas Adès for his solo recital debut at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, returns to Alice Tully Hall with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and reunites with his frequent recital partner, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, for tours on both sides of the Atlantic. The first takes them to London’s Wigmore Hall and other venues in England, the Netherlands and Italy for Brahms and Shostakovich, while the second sees them celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary with performances of his complete cello sonatas in San Francisco and other U.S. cities.
"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
Barnatan’s 2018-19 orchestral highlights included Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto with Gilbert and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, a complete Beethoven concerto cycle with New Jersey’s Princeton Symphony, Rachmaninov with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Israel Philharmonic, Copland with the Oregon Symphony, and Mozart with the Houston Symphony and the Australian Chamber Orchestra at Lincoln Center. Solo recitals took him to Boston’s Celebrity Series, Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, and London’s Southbank Centre, where he made his International Piano Series debut with a program of Ravel and Mussorgsky. In addition to performances with the Dover Quartet and St. Lawrence Quartet at Carnegie Hall, his chamber highlights included national tours with the Calidore Quartet and with Alisa Weilerstein, violinist Sergey Khachatryan, and percussionist Colin Currie. This summer, in his first season as Artistic Director of the La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, Barnatan explores the theme of transformation through programs which explore evolution in music, and collaborates with Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, visionary director and visual artist Doug Fitch, the Mark Morris Dance Group, and other artistic luminaries in a series devoted to cross-disciplinary exploration.
A regular performer with many of the world’s foremost orchestras and conductors, Barnatan served from 2014-17 as the inaugural Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic. In summer 2017, he made his BBC Proms debut with the BBC Symphony at London’s Royal Albert Hall and gave the Aspen world premiere of a new piano concerto by Alan Fletcher, which he went on to reprise with the Atlanta Symphony and in a season-opening concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. Recent orchestral debuts include the Chicago, Baltimore, Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Nashville, San Diego, and Seattle Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the London, Helsinki, Hong Kong, and Royal Stockholm Philharmonics. Other recent highlights include a complete Beethoven concerto cycle in Marseilles; performances of Copland’s Piano Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas in San Francisco and at Carnegie Hall; and a U.S. tour with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, playing and conducting Mozart and Shostakovich from the keyboard and premiering a newly commissioned concerto by Alasdair Nicolson. With the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä, Barnatan played Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto on New Year’s Eve, followed by a Midwest tour that culminated in Chicago, and a return to the BBC Proms in summer 2018.
Barnatan is the recipient of both a prestigious 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant and Lincoln Center’s 2015 Martin E. Segal Award, which recognizes “young artists of exceptional accomplishment.” A sought-after chamber musician, he was a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program from 2006 to 2009, and continues to make regular CMS appearances in New York and on tour. His passion for contemporary music sees him commission and perform many works by living composers, including premieres of pieces by Thomas Adès, Sebastian Currier, Avner Dorman, Alan Fletcher, Joseph Hallman, Alasdair Nicolson, Andrew Norman, Matthias Pintscher, and others. He has given multiple solo recitals at internationally acclaimed venues including New York’s 92nd Street Y, the Celebrity Series of Boston, Chicago’s Harris Theater, the Vancouver Recital Society, and London’s Southbank Centre and Wigmore Hall. Last season, he gave collaborative recitals at Carnegie Hall and Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center with soprano Renée Fleming, and in both 2016 and 2018 he collaborated with the Mark Morris Dance Group at New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival.
Barnatan’s most recent album release is a live recording of Messiaen’s 90-minute masterpiece Des canyons aux étoiles (“From the Canyons to the Stars”), in which he played the exceptionally challenging solo piano part at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. In 2015 he released Rachmaninov & Chopin: Cello Sonatas on Decca Classics with Alisa Weilerstein, earning rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. His most recent solo recording, of Schubert’s late piano sonatas, was released by Avie in September 2013, winning praise from such publications as Gramophone and BBC Music, while his account of the great A-major Sonata (D. 959) was chosen by BBC Radio 3 as one of the all-time best recordings of the piece. His 2012 album, Darknesse Visible, debuted in the Top 25 on the Billboard Traditional Classical chart and received universal critical acclaim, being named BBC Music’s “Instrumentalist CD of the Month” and winning a coveted place on the New York Times’ “Best of 2012” list. He made his solo recording debut with a Schubert album, released by Bridge Records in 2006, that prompted Gramophone to hail him as “a born Schubertian” and London’s Evening Standard to call him “a true poet of the keyboard: refined, searching, unfailingly communicative.”
Born in Tel Aviv in 1979, Inon Barnatan started playing the piano at the age of three, when his parents discovered his perfect pitch, and made his orchestral debut at eleven. His musical education connects him to some of the 20th century’s most illustrious pianists and teachers: he studied first with Professor Victor Derevianko, a student of the Russian master Heinrich Neuhaus, before moving to London in 1997 to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Christopher Elton and Maria Curcio, a student of the legendary Artur Schnabel. Leon Fleisher has also been an influential teacher and mentor. Barnatan currently resides in New York City. For more information, visit www.inonbarnatan.com.
ARTICLE: La Jolla Music Society announces star-studded, in-person SummerFest lineup after online-only 2020 edition
The San Diego Union Tribune
May 30, 2021
An all-virtual event last year because of COVID-19, the chamber-music festival will resume in August with live performances by piano star Daniil Trifonov, The Calder Quartet, Kings Return, Aaron Diehl and more.
Plan A? Plan B? Plan C? Or Plan D?
The La Jolla Music Society was determined to avoid taking any chances while designing this year’s SummerFest, especially after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s 18-concert chamber-music marathon — which was subsequently reconfigured as a six-concert livestream-only event without a live audience.
As of January, the nonprofit arts organization had four different plans fully prepared for the 2021 edition of SummerFest, which will run from July 30’s “Ode to Joy” opening night to Aug. 20’s “A Love Composed” finale. Each option was designed to retain the same exploratory theme, “Self and Sound,” as last year’s reluctantly abandoned 18-concert SummerFest iteration — albeit with a few changes and some new additions (including Russian piano star Daniil Trifonov and Texas gospel vocal quartet Kings Return).
Plan A would repeat last year’s audience-free livestream format, but with 16 concerts, not six.
Plan B would entail holding all 16 performances — for a small number of socially distanced concertgoers — in the intimate courtyard of the society’s two-year-old, $82 million Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center. Some of these concerts would be livestreamed. All of them would be held without intermission and with a reduced amount of music to be performed.
Plan C would offer two reduced, intermission-free performances per night inside the center’s Baker-Baum Concert Hall, but with the seating capacity reduced by 60 percent from 504 to 201.
And Plan D would see all 16 SummerFest concerts held at full-length in the Baker-Baum and the adjacent JAI cabaret, with intermissions, in front of full-capacity audiences. Nine of those 16 concerts would also be livestreamed.
“The third plan, with the two nightly indoor concerts with reduced capacity seemed the most likely until quite recently,” said society CEO/President Todd Schultz, who assumed his position in January.
“We had multiple scenarios,” added Leah Rosenthal, the society’s artistic director. “I’ve taken the tack all along that we should plan fairly conservatively.”
It was only earlier this month, after careful consideration and evaluation of the latest city, county and state health guidelines, that the society decided which plan would be the most sound.
Its decision to present SummerFest as a 16-day indoor event at both the Baker-Baum and the adjacent JAI cabaret will, if all goes according to plan, reanimate the event and the society itself.
Not a reimagining
Even so, this is not a reimagining of last year’s jettisoned festival, a point that SummerFest music director Inon Barnatan is quick to stress.
“I think we’ve become immune to the word ‘reimagined’ because we had to do so much reimagining last year,” Barnatan said last week. A much-in-demand pianist, he will perform at eight of this year’s SummerFest concerts.
“For example, I have changed the original concept for our opening night from last year,” continued Barnatan, speaking from a recent concert stop in Seattle.
“It was supposed to be called ‘When We Were Young’ and feature music that was transformative for the composers whose music we were going to play — Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff and de Falla.
“Given what since happened with the pandemic, I thought we could not resume SummerFest without acknowledging the great happiness we all feel about being able to come back to perform and experience music live. So, our opening night is now called ‘Ode to Joy,’ and will feature music by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Grieg, de Falla, John Adams and (43-year-old Norwegian composer) Ola Gjeilo.
“We are crossing our fingers that things stay as they are, and we really are able to have a festival that feels — for lack of a better word — ‘normal’.”
But postponing the 2020 “Self and Sound” edition of SummerFest and moving it to this August is anything but normal.
Attendees will be asked to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccinations or of negative test results from no more than 72 hours prior to the performance they are attending. The need for mask-wearing will be determined by whatever health protocols are in place come July and August.
About 10 percent of the artists booked for last year’s SummerFest are not available for the new edition. However, some who were booked elsewhere last year are now free to perform here this August.
One happy constant is that Gabriela Lena Frank will curate two concerts at the 2021 SummerFest and perform as a featured pianist, just as she was scheduled to do at last year’s edition.
The Peruvian native, who is almost completely deaf without the use of special hearing aids, heads a Bay Area music academy. She has won international acclaim for her skills as a keyboardist and her singular ability to deftly incorporate the folk music traditions of her homeland into vibrant contemporary classical compositions.
“I only found out about Gabriela and her music in the past few years,” Barnatan said. “And the more I learn about her, the more fascinated I become.”
After live streaming last year’s six SummerFest concerts, nine will be live streamed this year. This time, there will be audiences present. The livestreams will enable those near and far who are unable to attend in person — or not yet comfortable doing so — to participate.
“With all of us having had this shared (pandemic) experience over the past year-plus will impact how we collectively listen, how the artists perform and how we absorb the music,” Rosenthal said.
“So, it greatly deepens the meaning of the ‘Self and Sound’ theme of SummerFest. We will all have a lot more to talk about regarding our journeys than just the music.”
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
2020 Summer Performances- still happening!
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, very few live classical-music events will take place anywhere this summer.
However, Inon is delighted to announce several live performances this summer.
On July 2nd Inon will open the Caramoor Festival's 2020 summer season with a live-streamed recital form the historic and beautiful Music Room at the Rosen House on the Caramoor grounds. The program includes a world premiere of an arrangement of Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, which Inon wrote during the Covid lockdown, as well as Schubert's majestic A major sonata.
Later in July Inon will partner with frequent collaborator Alisa Weilerstein for a live recital of Beethoven sonatas for the Aspen Music Festival's virtual season, which they will play from the Spectacular hall of La Jolla Music Society's Conrad Performing Arts Center in San Diego.
Finally, La Jolla SummerFest, of which Inon is Music Director, will be presenting it's reimagined festival in August with a series of live concerts, also from the Conrad, between August 21st and 29th. Featuring an incredible cast of musicians, they will be include some the most beloved chamber music in the repertoire. The six , one-hour long, concerts will be live streamed and, if health regulations in August allow, they will take place in front of a reduced, socially distanced audience. Visit the schedule section of this site or LJMS.ORG for more details.
Gershwin and Ravel with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
This March, Inon joins the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and André de Ridder for a concert celebrating the jazz revolution of the 20th century. Inon pairs Gershwin's iconic and virtuosic Rhapsody in Blue with Ravel's undoubtedly jazz-influenced Piano Concerto in G major. Rounding out the program are an arrangement of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess and Ravel's colorful Bolero.
Click here for tickets to performances on March 12, 14, or 17.
Watch Inon perform the first movement of Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major with the New York Philharmonic.
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.
OLGA NEUWIRTH: Aello – ballet mécanomorphe
MATTHIAS PINTSCHER: NUR (for piano and orchestra)
HELMUT LACHENMANN: Tableau
ALEXANDER SCRIABIN: Symphony No. 4, Poème de l’extase, ("The Poem of Ecstasy")
Inon Barnatan, piano
Matthias Pintscher, conductor
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Henrik Heide, flute
Tchaikovsky Andante Cantabile from String Quartet No. 1, Op. 11 for Solo Cello and Strings (1871, arr. 1888)
Brahms Quintet in G major for Two Violins, Two Violas, and Cello, Op. 111 (1890)
Liszt “Funérailles” from Harmonies poétiques et religieuses for Piano (1849)
Fauré Quartet No. 2 in G minor for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello, Op. 45 (1885–86)
Alexi Kenney, Violin
Angelo Xiang Yu,Violin
Misha Amory, Viola
Yura Lee, Violin/Viola
Nicholas Canellakis, Cello
David Finckel, Cello