About This Performance
A long-time SF Performances favorite, Jonathan Biss combines lush playing with a compelling knack for creating programs that engage and transcend, exploring music, history and thought. Above all, his performances revel in and reveal the humanity of the music. “Jonathan Biss doesn’t do things halfway. As a pianist, teacher, and writer, he tends toward an obsessive, full-immersion approach to any project that commands his attention” (SF Classical Voice).
SCHUBERT: Sonata in C minor, D. 958
JANÁČEK: Selections from On an Overgrown Path
KURTAG: Selections from Játékok
SCHUMANN: Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6
James and Kathleen Leak, Individual Sponsors
Jonathan Biss is a world-renowned pianist who channels his deep musical curiosity into performances and projects in the concert hall and beyond. In addition to performing with today’s leading orchestras, he continues to expand his reputation as a teacher, musical thinker, and one of the great Beethoven interpreters of our time. He is Co-Artistic Director alongside Mitsuko Uchida at the Marlboro Music Festival, where he has spent 14 summers. He has written extensively about the music he plays and has authored four audio- and e-books, including UNQUIET: My Life with Beethoven (2020), the first Audible Original by a classical musician.
Mr. Biss’s projects, including his decade-long Beethoven immersion, represent his complete approach to music-making and connecting his audience to his own passion for the music. Previous projects have included an exploration of composers’ “Late Style” in various concert programs at Carnegie Hall, the Barbican Centre, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and San Francisco Performances. He also published the Kindle Single Coda on the topic. His previous Kindle Single, Beethoven’s Shadow, was the first by a classical musician. Schumann: Under the Influence was a 30-concert exploration of the composer's role in musical history, for which Mr. Biss also recorded Schumann and Dvořák piano quintets with the Elias String Quartet and wrote A Pianist Under the Influence.
Mr. Biss represents the third generation in a family of professional musicians that includes his grandmother Raya Garbousova, one of the first well-known female cellists (for whom Samuel Barber composed his Cello Concerto), and his parents, violinist Miriam Fried and violist/violinist Paul Biss. Growing up surrounded by music, Mr. Biss began his piano studies at age six, and his first musical collaborations were with his mother and father. He studied with Evelyne Brancart at Indiana University and with Leon Fleisher at the Curtis Institute of Music. He has since appeared with major orchestras around the world, including in the U.S. with the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics; the Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco Symphonies; and the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras. He has also been recognized with numerous honors, including Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the 2003 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, and the 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award.