Goldberg Variations: Timeless Virtuosity

Bach’s centuries old, devilishly difficult Goldberg Variations continue to challenge pianists and fascinate audiences.


About Simone Dinnerstein

American pianist Simone Dinnerstein is a searching and inventive artist who is motivated by a desire to find the musical core of every work she approaches. The New York-based pianist gained an international following with the remarkable success of her recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which she independently raised the funds to record. Released in 2007 on Telarc, it ranked No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Classical Chart in its first week of sales and was named to many "Best of 2007" lists including those of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The New Yorker. Her latest Sony album, Mozart in Havana, was released in April and reached number two on the Billboard Classical chart.

Dinnerstein’s performance schedule has taken her around the world since her acclaimed New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in 2005, to venues including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Sydney Opera House, Seoul Arts Center, and London's Wigmore Hall; festivals that include the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival, the Aspen, Verbier, and Ravinia festivals; and performances with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra a Sinfonica Brasileira, and the Tokyo Symphony.

Dinnerstein has played concerts throughout the U.S. for the Piatigorsky Foundation, an organization dedicated to bringing classical music to non-traditional venues. She gave the first classical music performance in the Louisiana state prison system at the Avoyelles Correctional Center, and performed at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in a concert organized by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Dedicated to her community, in 2009 Dinnerstein founded Neighborhood Classics, a concert series open to the public hosted by New York public schools which raises funds for their music education programs.

Dinnerstein is a graduate of The Juilliard School where she was a student of Peter Serkin. She also studied with Solomon Mikowsky at the Manhattan School of Music and in London with Maria Curcio.  She is on the faculty of the Mannes School of Music and is a Sony Classical artist. Dinnerstein is managed by Andrea Troolin at Ekonomisk Mgmt with booking representation through Helen Henson at Blu Ocean Arts.

(from artist's website)

About Jeremy Denk

Mr. Denk, clearly, is a pianist you want to hear no matter what he performs, in whatever combination – both for his penetrating intellectual engagement with the music and for the generosity of his playing.“  – The New York Times

Jeremy Denk is one of America’s foremost pianists. Winner of a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, and the Avery Fisher Prize, Denk was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Denk returns frequently to Carnegie Hall and has recently performed with the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Cleveland Orchestra, as well as on tour with Academy St. Martin in the Fields, and at the Royal Albert Hall.

Denk is known for his original and insightful writing on music, which Alex Ross praises for its “arresting sensitivity and wit.” The pianist’s writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New RepublicThe Guardian, and on the front page of the New York Times Book Review. One of his New Yorker contributions, “Every Good Boy Does Fine,” forms the basis of a book for future publication by Random House in the US, and Macmillan in the UK. Recounting his experiences of touring, performing, and practicing, his blog, Think Denk, was recently selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress web archives.

In 2012, Denk made his Nonesuch debut with a pairing of masterpieces old and new: Beethoven’s final Piano Sonata, Op. 111, and Ligeti’s Études. The album was named one of the best of 2012 by the New Yorker, NPR, and the Washington Post, and Denk’s account of the Beethoven sonata was selected by BBC Radio 3’s Building a Library as the best available version recorded on modern piano. Denk has a long-standing attachment to the music of American visionary Charles Ives, and his recording of Ives’s two piano sonatas featured in many “best of the year” lists.

Jeremy Denk graduated from Oberlin College, Indiana University, and the Juilliard School. He lives in New York City, and his web site and blog are at jeremydenk.net.

(from artist's website)

About Jeffrey Kallberg

Jeffrey Kallberg (Ph.D., 1982, The University of Chicago) is a specialist in music of the 19th and 20th centuries, editorial theory, critical theory, and gender studies. Kallberg has published widely on the music and cultural contexts of Chopin, most notably in his book, Chopin at the Boundaries: Sex, History, and Musical Genre(Harvard University Press). His critical edition of Luisa Miller, for The Works of Giuseppe Verdi (Casa Editrice Ricordi and The University of Chicago Press), has been performed throughout Europe and the United States at such venues as the Cincinnati May Festival; the Teatro alla Scala, Milan; the Rome Opera; the Nederlandse Opera, Amsterdam; the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich; the Zurich Oper; the Oslo Philharmonic; the Teatro San Carlo, Naples; Biwako Hall, Osaka; and Orchard Hall, Tokyo.  Kallberg is also the author of the articles on “Gender” and “Sex, Sexuality” for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2d ed., (London, Macmillan, 2001). Together with Olivia Bloechl and Melanie Lowe, he edited the collection Rethinking Difference in Music Scholarship (Cambridge University Press).  His current projects include books on Chopin’s nocturnes and on Chopin’s things, and an investigation into the links between ideas of landscape and modernism, especially in Scandinavian music from the first half of the twentieth century.

Kallberg’s reconstruction of Chopin’s first sketch for a Prelude in E-flat minor for the eventual set of Preludes, op. 28, was the focus of a profile in The New York Times.  For a full account of this experimental work (set entirely over a series of trills in the left hand), see Kallberg’s article in the British journal Early Music vol. 29 no. 3 (August 2001), pp. 408-422.  Click here for a fine performance of the work by Roberto Poli, and here for a tutorial on the piece by Paul Barton.

In August, 2005, the Palmer Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania called upon Kallberg to identify and authenticate an autograph manuscript of Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge (in the composer’s arrangement for piano, four-hands) that was discovered in their library.  The 80-page manuscript, one of the last that Beethoven completed before he died, preserves fascinating evidence of his compositional thinking; its reappearance after some 115 years caused considerable excitement across the musical world.  In December 2005, the manuscript sold at auction for nearly $1.9 million to Bruce Kovner, who shortly thereafter donated it to the Juilliard Conservatory as part of the Juilliard Manuscript Collection.

Kallberg served as production consultant for two plays with music by Hershey Felder: Monsieur Chopin, which premiered at the Royal George Theatre in Chicago in 2005, and Beethoven, As I Knew Him, which premiered at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in 2008.

Kallberg was elected Vice President of the American Musicological Society for the term 2004-2006.  He was the Review Editor of the Journal of American Musicological Society and is presently general editor of New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism (Cambridge University Press). His awards for publications include the Alfred Einstein prize of the American Musicological Society (for best article by a younger scholar),  the Richard S. Hill award of the Music Library Association (for best article on a bibliographical topic), and the Stefan and Wanda Wilk Book Prize for research in Polish Music.  He received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.  In 2004, he was the Rayson Huang Fellow at the University of Hong Kong.  In 2009 he was named a distinguished alumnus of The University of Chicago.  He also has twice been guest of honor at the International Fryderyk Chopin Competition in Warsaw, Poland.

Since 2010, Kallberg has served as Associate Dean for Arts and Letters in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Kallberg speaks often at scholarly conferences and colloquia around the world, and frequently gives pre-concert lectures at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.

(from the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences)