Pianist Simone Dinnerstein Continues Bach Seriesat Miller Theatre at Columbia University
November 17, 2022 at 8pm – Bach’s Gamba Sonatas
With Alexis Pia Gerlach
December 8, 2022 at 8pm – Bach’s Keyboard Concertos
With pianists Wael Farouk and Awadagin Pratt, and Baroklyn
Photo by Lisa Marie Mazzucco available in high resolution at: www.jensenartists.com/simone-dinnerstein
Miller Theatre at Columbia University 2960 Broadway (at 116th Street) | New York, NY Tickets and information: www.millertheatre.com
Simone Dinnerstein: www.simonedinnerstein.com
New York, NY – Grammy-nominated pianist Simone Dinnerstein will be presented by Miller Theatre at Columbia University (2960 Broadway, at 116th Street) in two concerts on Thursday, November 17, 2022 and Thursday, December 8, 2022 as part of the Miller Theatre’s 2022-2023 Bach Series, which was curated by Dinnerstein. Continuing the thoughtful programming she assembled for her opening Bach Cantatas program in October, the Brooklyn-based pianist has put together two more concerts, each devoted to a different musical focus from Bach’s vast repertoire. On November 17, she will perform Bach’s Gamba sonatas with cellist Alexis Pia Gerlach and on December 8, she will perform his Keyboard concertos with fellow pianists Wael Farouk and Awadagin Pratt, and her ensemble Baroklyn.
Over the course of more than a decade, Dinnerstein has steadily gained recognition as both a skilled and imaginative performer of Bach’s music. Public appreciation for her performances of his music began with the exuberant and wide-reaching reception of her 2007 debut album featuring J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Since then, Miller Theatre has warmly embraced many opportunities to present Bach-centric concert programs curated and performed by Dinnerstein.
Dinnerstein’s November 17 concert with cellist Alexis Pia Gerlach features Bach’s three sonatas written for viola da gamba and obbligato harpsichord. The two musicians will perform the works on their modern counterparts, showcasing the versatility and flexibility of Bach’s writing. Dinnerstein and Gerlach are not only musical collaborators but also dear friends. “Alexis and I have been playing chamber music together since our tweens as students at the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division,” says Dinnerstein. “Playing with her feels like breathing.”
On December 8, Dinnerstein’s Bach Series concludes with a program centered around Bach’s keyboard concertos performed by Dinnerstein, pianists Wael Farouk and Awadagin Pratt, and Dinnerstein’s ensemble, Baroklyn. The program includes Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue; Selections from Die Kunst der Fuge; Keyboard Concerto No. 5 in F minor; Concerto for two keyboards in C minor; Concerto for three keyboards in C major; and O Lamm Gottes unschuldig (transcribed by György Kurtág) four piano four-hands.
Through every concert, Dinnerstein strives to inspire enthusiasm and curiosity around Bach’s music. She showcases the beauty of his work, in modern interpretations 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 the 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.