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Oct. 20: Pianist Simone Dinnerstein with Ensemble Baroklyn

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein with her Ensemble Baroklyn featuring Countertenor Reginald Mobley and Oboist Peggy Pearson in Bach Cantatas Program

Presented by Miller Theatre at Columbia University

Photo by Tanya Braganti available in high resolution at:

Thursday, October 20, 2022 at 8pm Miller Theatre at Columbia University 2960 Broadway (at 116th Street) | New York, NY Tickets and information:

“an utterly distinctive voice in the forest of Bach interpretation” – The New York Times

“an artist of strikingly original ideas and irrefutable integrity” – The Washington Post

Simone Dinnerstein:

New York, NY – Pianist Simone Dinnerstein will be presented by Miller Theatre at Columbia University (2960 Broadway, at 116th Street) in a concert on Thursday, October 20, 2022 as part of the Miller Theatre’s 2022-2023 Bach Series, which was curated by Dinnerstein. Lauded for a distinctive musical voice and her commitment to sharing classical music with everyone, Dinnerstein leads her string ensemble Ensemble Baroklyn, with countertenor Reginald Mobley and oboist Peggy Pearson, in a performance of Bach cantatas and piano concertos: Keyboard Concerto in E Major BWV 105; a selection of Chorale Preludes (transcribed by Alan Fletcher and Peggy Pearson); Cantata Ich Habe Genug, BWV 82; and Cantata Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54 with continuo realization by Philip Lasser.

Over the course of more than a decade, which started with broad, enthusiastic reception of her 2007 debut album featuring J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Dinnerstein has come to be recognized as an imaginative performer of Bach’s music. In that time, the Miller Theatre at Columbia University has been a welcome and frequent presenter of Bach-centric concert programs curated and performed by Dinnerstein.

Of the vision behind her curation of this concert Dinnerstein says,

“I thought it would be interesting to create a program that centered around the cantata and its influences on Bach’s other compositions. He would often recycle his music in different ways. The keyboard concerto in E Major is taken from two previously composed cantatas, BWV 169 and 49. The chorale preludes were essentially Bach’s organ improvisations on chorales that would also appear in his cantatas.“

For Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54, Dinnerstein asked Lasser if he would realize the continuo part of the piece, mentioning Lasser’s own special relationship with Bach’s music and how that shapes what Lasser has written.

“Philip has a uniquely special connection to the music of Bach that permeates his own compositions. He created a truly gorgeous continuo part that sounds both old and new, and is a fully beautiful work even without all of the other voices. That in itself is very Bachian, as every one of the voices in any of Bach’s works sounds lyrical and expressive all on its own.”

Sharing a bond of friendship, Dinnerstein, Pearson, and Fletcher will also bring their artistry together around several transcriptions of Bach’s chorales:

“Alan Fletcher is a wonderful composer and a friend of both Peggy [Pearson] and myself,” Dinnerstein says. “He created eight sensitive transcriptions of chorales for the two of us[.] We will be performing three of [Fletcher’s] transcriptions on this program, and adding strings to one of them. The other two chorales are transcriptions made by Peggy [Pearson].”

The exemplary musicianship of artists like Mobley, Pearson, and Ensemble Baroklyn make for a collaborative experience, to which Dinnerstein is greatly looking forward. “I’m excited to work with the esteemed countertenor, Reggie Mobley,” Dinnerstein says. “I am familiar with Reggie’s work through his recordings and from seeing him perform with John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir at the Bachfest in Leipzig. Reggie has a wide range of musical talents from gospel and cabaret to early music and is an extremely open musician. We are looking forward to collaborating on this program and exploring the cantatas with fresh eyes.”

“I have been a fan of Peggy Pearson ever since falling in love with her playing on the remarkable recording of Ich Habe Genug with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Emmanuel Music,” says Dinnerstein. “A few years ago, I wrote Peggy a fan letter and she responded by inviting me to play a chamber music concert with her for Winsor Music, the series she created in Boston. I am thrilled that she agreed to participate in this performance at the Miller Theatre.”

With each performance, Dinnerstein brings a new zeal for the Baroque composer and an invigorated motivation to showcase the beauty of Bach’s work, for today’s listeners. “I hope that hearing these myriad works in one program will bring new shades of meaning to the listeners as well as the performers,” she says.

About Simone Dinnerstein: Simone Dinnerstein is an American pianist. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and dog, less than a mile from the hospital in which she was born.

Simone has a distinctive musical voice. The Washington Post has called her “an artist of strikingly original ideas and irrefutable integrity.” She first came to wider public attention in 2007 through her recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, reflecting an aesthetic that was both deeply rooted in the score and profoundly idiosyncratic. She is, wrote The New York Times, “a unique voice in the forest of Bach interpretation.”

Since that recording, she has had a busy performing career. She has played with orchestras ranging from the New York Philharmonic and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra to the London Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale Rai. She has performed in venues from Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to the Berlin Philharmonie, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Seoul Arts Center and the Sydney Opera House. She has made thirteen albums, all of which topped the Billboard classical charts, with repertoire ranging from Couperin to Glass.

Recent projects saw Simone take on a number of new artistic challenges. She gave the world premiere of The Eye Is the First Circle at Montclair State University, the first multi-media production she has conceived, created, and directed, which uses as source materials her father Simon Dinnerstein’s painting The Fulbright Triptych and Charles Ives’s Piano Sonata No. 2 (Concord). In addition, she premiered Richard Danielpour’s An American Mosaic, a tribute to those affected by the pandemic, in a performance on multiple pianos placed throughout Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery. She also joined Renée Fleming, the Emerson String Quartet, and Uma Thurman for performances of André Previn and Tom Stoppard’s Penelope at both Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

From 2020 to 2022, Simone released a trilogy of albums recorded at her home in Brooklyn during the pandemic. A Character of Quiet (Orange Mountain Music, 2020), featuring the music of Philip Glass and Schubert, was described by NPR as, “music that speaks to a sense of the world slowing down,” and by The New Yorker as, “a reminder that quiet can contain multitudes.” Richard Danielpour’s An American Mosaic (Supertrain Records, 2021), surpassed two million streams on Apple Music and was nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award in the category of Best Classical Instrumental Solo. The final installment in the trilogy, Undersong, was released in January 2022 on Orange Mountain Music.

In recent years, Simone has created projects that express her broad musical interests. Following her recording of Mozart in Havana, she brought the Havana Lyceum Orchestra from Cuba to the United States for the very first time, raising the funding, booking the concerts, and organizing their housing and transport. Together, Simone and the orchestra played eleven concerts from Miami to Boston. Philip Glass composed his Piano Concerto No. 3 for Simone, co-commissioned by twelve American and Canadian orchestras. She collaborated with choreographer Pam Tanowitz to create New Work for Goldberg Variations, which was met with widespread critical acclaim. Working with Renée Fleming and the Emerson String Quartet, she premiered André Previn and Tom Stoppard’s Penelope at the Tanglewood, Ravinia and Aspen music festivals. Most recently, she created her own string ensemble, Baroklyn, which she directs from the keyboard. Their performance of Bach’s cantata Ich Habe Genug in March 2020 was the last concert she gave before New York City shut down.

Simone is committed to giving concerts in non-traditional venues and to audiences who don’t often hear classical music. For the last three decades, she has played concerts throughout the United States for the Piatigorsky Foundation, an organization dedicated to the widespread dissemination of classical music. It was for the Piatigorsky Foundation that she gave the first piano recital in the Louisiana state prison system at the Avoyelles Correctional Center. She has also performed at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in a concert organized by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Simone founded Neighborhood Classics in 2009, a concert series open to the public and hosted by New York City Public Schools to raise funds for their music education programs. She also created a program called Bachpacking during which she takes a digital keyboard to elementary school classrooms, helping young children get close to the music she loves. She is a committed supporter and proud alumna of Philadelphia’s Astral Artists, which supports young performers.

Simone counts herself fortunate to have studied with three unique artists: Solomon Mikowsky, Maria Curcio and Peter Serkin, very different musicians who shared the belief that playing the piano is a means to something greater. The Washington Post comments that “ultimately, it is Dinnerstein’s unreserved identification with every note she plays that makes her performance so spellbinding.” In a world where music is everywhere, she hopes that it can still be transformative.

About Miller Theatre: Miller Theatre at Columbia University is a leading presenter of new music in New York City and a vital force for innovative programming. In partnership with Columbia University School of the Arts, Miller is dedicated to producing and presenting unique events, with a focus on contemporary and early music, jazz, opera, and multimedia performances. Founded in 1988, Miller Theatre has helped launch the careers of myriad composers and ensembles over the years, serving as an incubator for emerging artists and a champion of those not yet well known in the United States. A four-time recipient of the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming, Miller Theatre continues to meet the high expectations set forth by its founders—to present innovative programs, support the development of new work, and connect creative artists with adventurous audiences.

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