Swiss-born American pianist Gilles Vonsattel is an artist of extraordinary versatility and originality. He’s the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award, and he’s the winner of the Naumburg and Geneva competitions. He’s made debuts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (at Tanglewood), Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony, and he’s appeared in recital and chamber music concerts at the Ravinia, Lucerne, Gilmore International Keyboard, and Bravo! Vail Music festivals; Music@Menlo; and Tokyo’s Musashino Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, and Munich’s Gasteig. In 2014, The New York Times called his recital at Bargemusic (a floating concert hall in New York City) “tightly conceived and passionately performed” and “a study in seriousness and intensity.”
Highlights of Mr. Vonsattel’s 2018–19 season include a performance on the Tannery Pond Concerts series in the Berkshires; appearances at Penn State University, on Wolf Trap’s Chamber Music at The Barns series, and with Camerata Pacifica; and performances of Gershwin’s Piano Concert in F with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the South Carolina Philharmonic, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in C Major with the Santa Barbara Symphony, Dvořák’s Piano Quintet with the Jasper String Quartet for the Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem, and Chausson’s Concerto for Violin, Piano & String Quartet with violinist Paul Huang and the Emerson String Quartet for the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach.
Mr. Vonsattel’s 2017–18 season engagements included Camerata Pacifica and the Spoleto Festival USA, Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, Cooperstown Summer Music Festival, La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, Swiss Chamber Concerts series, Zeughauskonzerte, SWR Schwetzinger Festspiele, North Carolina Symphony, String Orchestra of the Rockies, and Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden as well as his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In collaborative recitals, Mr. Vonsattel performed with cellist Adolfo Gutiérrez Arenas at the Teatro Liceo in Salamanca, cellist Paul Watkins for the Maestro Foundation in Santa Monica, and clarinetist Jörg Widmann for San Francisco Performances and the Peoples’ Symphony Concerts series in New York City. He also toured extensively with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, appearing internationally in venues such as Alice Tully Hall in New York City and Wigmore Hall in London.
Recent engagements also include performing Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety, with the Munich Philharmonic, conducted by Kent Nagano, and Berg’s Kammerkonzert with the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana; a tour with Mr. Widmann and the Irish Chamber Orchestra; Mozart concertos with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and The Florida Orchestra; and performances at Seoul’s LG Arts Center and the Beijing Modern Music Festival.
Mr. Vonsattel’s 2015 release, Shadowlines—which takes its name from a composition by the English composer George Benjamin that’s included on the CD—received great acclaim; The New York Times called the album, which also features works by Scarlatti, Webern, Messiaen, and Debussy, “mesmerizing” and said that Mr. Vonsattel traced an “intelligent and imaginative path” throughout the recording. His 2011 CD for the Honens/Naxos label, which features music by Debussy, Honegger, Heinz Holliger, and Ravel, was named one of Time Out New York’s classical albums of the year. A 2014 release with cellist Daniel Haefliger called Heinz Holliger: Romancendres…for Genuin/Artist Consort received a five-star review from the magazine Fono Forum and international critical praise.
Additional highlights include guest appearances with the Warsaw and Calgary philharmonic orchestras; Edmonton, Nashville, and Quebec symphony orchestras; Boston Pops; Geneva Chamber Orchestra; Musikkollegium Winterthur; and Staatskapelle Halle as well as a reengagement with the San Francisco Symphony. Mr. Vonsattel’s chamber music partners include such luminaries as violinists James Ehnes, Frank Huang, Stefan Jackiw, Anthony Marwood, Philip Setzer, Karen Gomyo, and Ida Kavafian; cellists Nicolas Altstaedt, David Finckel, Gary Hoffman, Carter Brey, and Paul Watkins; clarinetists David Shifrin and Jörg Widmann; violist Paul Neubauer; flutist Emmanuel Pahud; hornist David Jolley; and the Swiss Chamber Soloists. He’s also appeared in concert with the Pacifica, Orion, Ébène, Danish, Daedalus, Escher, and Borromeo string quartets. Committed to contemporary works, Mr. Vonsattel has given numerous premieres in the United States and Europe and has worked closely with notable composers such as Jörg Widmann, Heinz Holliger, and George Benjamin.
Mr. Vonsattel is a former member of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two (now called The Bowers Program), which is “dedicated to developing the next generation of outstanding young musicians.” He received his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Columbia University and a master’s degree from The Juilliard School. Mr. Vonsattel is on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and he’s a Steinway Artist.