Jonathan Biss, piano

World-renowned pianist

Pianist Jonathan Biss is also a world-renowned educator and critically acclaimed author, who channels his deep musical curiosity into expansive performances and projects in the concert hall and beyond.

Praised as “a superb pianist and also an eloquent and insightful music writer” (The Boston Globe) with “impeccable taste and a formidable technique” (The New Yorker), Biss has appeared internationally as a soloist with the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics; the Boston, Chicago and San Francisco Symphonies; and the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras as well as the London Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw, the Philharmonia, and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, among many other ensembles. Biss is a teacher, musical thinker and a performer, whose repertoire ranges from the core canon to contemporary commissions. He is co-artistic director, alongside Mitsuko Uchida, at the Marlboro Music Festival where he has spent fifteen summers.

In the 2023–24 season, Biss, who has been heralded as “one of today’s foremost Beethoven exponents” (Chicago Tribune), returned to perform his music with the Saint Louis Symphony and Stéphane Dénève, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Ramón Tebar, and the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Seguin at Carnegie Hall in a concert celebrating the late Rafael Viñoly. Throughout the season, he presented a new project that pairs solo piano works by Schubert with new compositions by Alvin Singleton, Tyson Gholston Davis and Tyshawn Sorey at San Francisco Performances, Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Scottsdale Center for The Performing Arts, among many others. Biss continued his long-standing collaboration with Mitsuko Uchida with concerts featuring Schubert’s music for piano four-hands at Carnegie Hall, Princeton University Concerts and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. He also appeared with the Brentano Quartet at Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City, Chamber Music Detroit, Club Musical de Québec, the Royal Conservatory of Toronto and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.

European engagements included a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with London Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Karina Canellakis, and a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the BBC National Orchestra and conductor Ryan Bancroft. Biss also reunited with the Elias String Quartet for performances at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Cockermouth Music Society and Wigmore Hall. In the new year, he performed works by György Kurtág and Schubert at the Sala Verdi in Milan. He concluded his European season with the Orchestre de chambre de Paris and conductor Pekka Kuusisto with a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Timo Andres’s The Blind Banister, part of his ongoing Beethoven/5 commissioning project, in association with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, which paired each Beethoven concerto with a new concerto composed in response. The project has commissioned a number of today’s leading composers, including Brett Dean, Caroline Shaw, Timo Andres, Sally Beamish and Salvatore Sciarrino’s Il Sogno di Stradella paired with the fourth. Prior to the Beethoven/5 project, Biss commissioned works by David Ludwig, Leon Kirchner, Lewis Spratlan and Bernard Rands.

Coinciding with the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth in 2020, Biss recorded the composer’s complete piano sonatas, and he offered insights to all 32-landmark works via his free online Coursera lecture series, Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas. In March 2020, he gave a virtual recital presented by 92NY, wherein he performed Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas for an online audience of more than 280,000 people. That year, Biss released his fourth book, UNQUIET: My Life with Beethoven (2020), the first Audible Original by a classical musician and one of Audible’s top audiobooks of 2020.

Biss is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Leonard Bernstein Award, the Andrew Wolf Memorial Chamber Music Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award and a Gilmore Young Artist Award. His albums for EMI won the Diapason d’Or de l’Année and Edison Awards. He was an artist-in-residence on American Public Media’s Performance Today and was the first American chosen to participate in the BBC’s New Generation Artist Program. He is also on the piano faculty of the New England Conservatory.

Biss is a third-generation professional musician—his grandmother is Raya Garbousova, one of the first famous female cellists (for whom Samuel Barber composed his Cello Concerto), and his parents are violinist Miriam Fried and violist/violinist Paul Biss. Growing up surrounded by music, Biss began his piano studies at age six, with his first musical collaborations alongside his mother and father. He studied with Evelyne Brancart at Indiana University and Leon Fleisher at the Curtis Institute of Music.



Schubert Impromptu in F Minor, D. 935, No. 1

Schubert Impromptu in B Flat, D. 935, No. 3

Tyson Gholston Davis: …Expansions of Light, for piano (2023)

Schubert Sonata in B Flat, D. 960

Program subject to change

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Artist Link

Jonathan Biss website

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