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New Season Sees Jeremy Denk Issue “Goldbergs” on CD/DVD; Return to Carnegie Hall with San Francisco Symphony & MTT; Curate Ojai Music Festival; and More

Pianist Jeremy Denk – “one of his generation’s most eloquent and thoughtful interpreters” (New York Times) – launches the new season with the release of Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations on Nonesuch CD and DVD, accompanied by performances in Boston, Chicago, and Washington DC. Orchestral collaborations take him to three continents, in performances of concertos by Bach, Beethoven, Liszt, Ravel, Ligeti, and Mozart – whose Concerto No. 25 is the vehicle for a U.S. tour with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony. Crowning a full season of recitals, orchestral concerts, and masterclasses, the pianist will serve as Music Director of the 68th annual Ojai Music Festival, for which, besides performing and curating, he is composing the libretto for a semi-satirical opera by Steven Stucky.

Denk’s debut album for Nonesuch, Ligeti/Beethoven, was named one of the best recordings of 2012 by the New Yorker, Washington Post, NPR Music, and others. On his second recording for the label, due for release on September 30, Denk performs Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations. A companion DVD offers video “liner notes” in which he explicates features of the iconic work from the keyboard (see an excerpt here). Bach’s masterpiece has long been a staple of the pianist’s repertoire; the New York Times notes his “profound affinity with Bach,” while the Philadelphia Inquirer calls his “Goldbergs” interpretation “mesmerizing.” The new CD/DVD set is available directly from Nonesuch here.

Audiences at three of the nation’s foremost recital venues will also have the opportunity to hear Denk render the “Goldbergs” in live performance, at Boston’s Gardner Museum (Sep 15) and Washington’s Kennedy Center (Oct 12) – both of which events have already sold out – and Chicago’s Symphony Center (Oct 13). Over the coming season, Denk will appear in recital throughout the U.S., including a second recital in Boston and others in New York and Philadelphia.

When Denk last teamed up with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony to play Mozart, the San Jose Mercury News pronounced the pianist “a sensational musician,” adding: “He played with such love of the music; he isn’t afraid to emote his Mozart.” He reunites with Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25, first at the orchestra’s home in San Francisco’s Davies Hall (Nov 7-10), and then on tour in Urbana-Champaign (Nov 15) and at New York’s Carnegie Hall (Nov 13). The New York performance will be broadcast and streamed live as part of WQXR and Carnegie Hall’s national “Carnegie Hall Live” series.   Denk reprises the concerto for his Tucson Symphony debut (April 4 & 6) and with the Baltimore Symphony and Nicholas McGegan (Jan 16-18), the Cincinnati Symphony under Robert Spano (Dec 6 & 7), the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (Nov 29–Dec 1), and the Westchester Philharmonic, which he directs from the keyboard (Nov 24).

With Brazil’s São Paulo Symphony, Denk undertakes Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, in which the New York Times has admired the way “his joyous and beautifully colored playing resulted in an interpretation notable for its warmth, passion, and fleet-fingered passagework” (May 1-3). And the composer’s Concerto No. 10 for two pianos is one of two four-hand concertos that Denk performs with pianist/conductor Jeffrey Kahane and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, juxtaposed with his own rendition of the Ligeti concerto (May 17 & 18).

For his first orchestral engagements of the season, Denk plays Liszt’s First Piano Concerto with the Milwaukee Symphony (Sep 20-22) and the Colorado University Symphony (Sep 27). It’s a work that showcases his trademark combination of pianistic technique and intelligent musicianship; the New York Times, while praising his “sparkling, powerhouse sound,” found that Denk also “made Liszt seem, at least in passing, as if he were as deep and revolutionary a thinker as Beethoven.”

Beethoven’s own Third Piano Concerto is the vehicle for the pianist’s return to the Nashville Symphony with Giancarlo Guerrero (April 18 & 19), while with the Spokane Symphony (Feb 22 & 23) and the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España under Joana Carneiro (Feb 28), he plays Ravel’s jazz-inflected Piano Concerto in G.

Denk looks forward to serving as Music Director of the 68th annual Ojai Music Festival. A key component of the 2014 festival is the world premiere of a new opera – co-commissioned by Ojai with Cal Performances at Berkeley, Carnegie Hall, and the Aspen Music Festival – with music by Steven Stucky and a libretto by Denk himself, who describes it as “a love letter to Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. … A satire of classical pomp.” Under Denk’s curatorship, Ojai’s featured artists include violinist Stefan Jackiw, jazz pianist/composer Uri Caine, conductor Robert Spano, and composer Andrew Norman (June 12-15). Denk is also Music Director of the fourth Ojai North! festival that follows (June 16-21).

The pianist’s 2012-13 season included a 13-city U.S. tour; a performance of Bach’s complete set of six keyboard concertos in a single evening with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; and a six-city tour marking his Australian debut with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Just days after his solo recital on the main stage of Carnegie Hall, where Denk’s “colossal interpretations conveyed the sense of composers grappling with the ineffable, inventing new vocabulary to express the inexpressible” (New York Times), the New Yorker published his personal history, entitled Every Good Boy Does Fine: A life in piano lessons – the second feature by Denk that has been published by the magazine.  Denk’s full-length article will form the basis of his forthcoming memoir, also to be called Every Good Boy Does Fine, which is due for publication by Random House in the 2015-16 season.

Jeremy Denk: engagements, 2013-14

Sep 15
Boston, MA
Gardner Museum, Calderwood Hall
BACH: Goldberg Variations

Sep 20-22
Milwaukee, WI
Uilhein Hall, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra / Andreas Delfs
LISZT: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat, S. 124

Sep 27
Boulder, CO
Macky Auditorium Concert Hall
Colorado University Symphony
LISZT: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat, S. 124

Oct 4
Schenectady, NY
Memorial Chapel
Recital: MOZART; BACH

Oct 5
Sleepy Hollow, NY
Sleepy Hollow High School
Recital

Oct 6
Bethel, NY
Museum at Bethel Woods
“Sundays with Friends”
Recital

Oct 12
Washington, DC
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
BACH: Goldberg Variations

Oct 13
Chicago, IL
Symphony Center
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Presents
BACH: Goldberg Variations

Nov 7–10
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 25 in C, K. 503

Nov 13
New York, NY
Carnegie Hall
San Francisco Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 25 in C, K. 503

Nov 15
Urbana-Champaign, IL
Krannert Center
San Francisco Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 25 in C, K. 503

Nov 20
Kennesaw, GA
Kennesaw State University, Bailey Center

Nov 24
White Plains, NY
Westchester Philharmonic / Jeremy Denk, soloist-leader
BEETHOVEN: Quintet for Piano and Winds in E-flat
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 25 in C, K. 503
HAYDN: Symphony No. 2: Presto

Nov 29–Dec 1
Saint Paul, MN
Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
BRAHMS: Piano Quintet in F minor
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 25 in C, K. 503

Dec 6 & 7
Cincinnati, OH
Music Hall
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra / Robert Spano
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 25 in C, K. 503

Jan 12
Boston, MA
Gardner Museum, Calderwood Hall
Recital

Jan 16
North Bethesda, MD
Music Center at Strathmore
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra / Nicholas McGegan
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 25 in C, K. 503

Jan 17 & 18
Baltimore, MD
Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra / Nicholas McGegan
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 25 in C, K. 503

Jan 19
Beacon, NY
Howland Cultural Center

Jan 22
Tallahassee, FL
Florida State University

Jan 26
Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia Chamber Music Society
Recital

Jan 29
University Park, PA
Pennsylvania State University, Schwab Auditorium
Recital

Feb 4
Akron, OH
Tuesday Musical, EJ Thomas Hall
Recital

Feb 9
Winchester, VA
Shenandoah University
Recital: BEETHOVEN; LIGETI: selected Etudes

Feb 15
Bowling Green, OH
Bowling Green State University, Kobacker Hall
Masterclass

Feb 21
Spokane, WA
Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox
Masterclass

Feb 22 & 23
Spokane, WA
Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox
Spokane Symphony Orchestra / Eckart Preu
RAVEL: Piano Concerto in G

Feb 28
Madrid, Spain
Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España / Joana Carneiro
RAVEL: Piano Concerto in G

March 30
Santa Monica, CA
Maestro Foundation
Mendelssohn Hall
13th Annual Robert E. Turner Piano Recital

April 4 & 6
Tucson, AZ
Tucson Music Hall
Tucson Symphony Orchestra / George Hanson
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 25 in C, K. 503

April 12
New York, NY
Peoples’ Symphony Concerts
Washington Irving High School
Recital

April 15
Sewanee, TN
Sewanee: The University of the South

April 18 & 19
Nashville, TN
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Nashville Symphony Orchestra / Giancarlo Guerrero
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 3

April 26
New York, NY
Tisch Center/92nd St Y
With Steven Isserlis, cello
HAHN: Variations chantantes for cello and piano
CHOPIN: Sonata for cello and piano in G minor, Op. 65
MARTINU: Sonata No. 1 for cello and piano
LISZT: Romance oubliée for cello and piano
FRANCK: Sonata for cello and piano in A

April 30
São Paulo, Brazil
Sala São Paulo
Recital

May 1-3
São Paulo, Brazil
São Paulo Symphony
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, K. 467

May 17
Glendale, CA
Alex Theater
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra / Jeffrey Kahane, conductor and piano
BACH: Concerto for Two Keyboards in C, BWV 1061
LIGETI: Piano Concerto
MOZART: Concerto No. 10 in E-flat for two pianos, K. 365

May 18
Los Angeles, CA
Royce Hall
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra / Jeffrey Kahane, conductor and piano
BACH: Concerto for Two Keyboards in C, BWV 1061
LIGETI: Piano Concerto
MOZART: Concerto No. 10 in E-flat for two pianos, K.365

June 12-15
Ojai, CA
68th Ojai Music Festival
As Music Director

June 16-21
Berkeley, CA
Cal Performances
4th Ojai North!
As Music Director