Christopher MillardDaniel PhillipsElizabeth Joy RoeGreg AndersonJonathan BissJoseph JohnsonOwen DalbyRachel Barton PineTara Helen OConnorWilhelmina Smith

Jonathan Biss, piano


Jonathan BissPianist Jonathan Biss shares his talent, passion, and intellectual curiosity with classical music lovers in the concert hall and beyond. Over nearly two decades on the concert stage, he has forged relationships with the New York Philharmonic; the Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Philharmonia orchestras; the Boston, Chicago, and Swedish Radio symphony orchestras; and the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Budapest Festival, and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras, among many others.

This season Biss continues his latest Beethoven project, Beethoven/5, for which the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra has co-commissioned five composers to write new piano concertos, each inspired by one of Beethoven’s. The five-year plan began last season with Biss premiering Timo Andres’s The Blind Bannister, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in music and which Biss played with the New York Philharmonic in the spring of 2017. This season he premieres Sally Beamish’s concerto, paired with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra before performing it with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. In the next three years Biss will premier concertos by Salvatore Sciarrino, Caroline Shaw, and Brett Dean.

In 2016-17 Biss begins examining, both in performance and academically, the concept of a composer’s “late style” and has put together programs of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Britten, Elgar, Gesualdo, Kurtág, Mozart, Schubert, and Schumann’s later works, both for solo piano and in collaboration with the Brentano Quartet and Mark Padmore, which he will play at Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Performances, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, London’s Barbican Centre, and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. He will also give master classes at Carnegie Hall in connection with the idea of late style and will publish a Kindle single on the topic.

Biss performs a diverse repertoire ranging from Mozart and Beethoven, through the Romantics, to Janácek and Schoenberg, as well as works by contemporary composer György Kurtág and commissions from David Ludwig, Leon Kirchner, Lewis Spratlan, and Bernard Rands. Biss has a noted recording career, including an album of Schubert sonatas and two short Kurtág pieces that NPR Music named as one of the best albums of the year. His recent albums for EMI won the Diapason d’Or de l’année and Edison awards. In 2017 he releases the sixth volume of his nine-year, nine-disc recording cycle of Beethoven’s complete piano sonatas.

Biss studied at Indiana University and the Curtis Institute of Music, where he joined the piano faculty in 2010. He led the first massive open online course (MOOC) offered by a classical music conservatory, Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, which has reached more than 100,000 in more than 160 countries, and he will continue to add lectures until he covers all the sonatas. His bestselling eBook, Beethoven’s Shadow, published by RosettaBooks in 2011, was the first Kindle single written by a classical musician.


Be sure to hear Jonathan’s 2017 Festival performances listed below

Thursday, August 10, noon
Jonathan Biss Piano Recital

Sunday, August 13, 6pm
Brahms Piano Quintet