“Mr. Denk, clearly, is a pianist you want to hear no matter what he performs, in whatever combination – both for his penetrating intellectual engagement with the music and for the generosity of his playing.“ – The New York Times
One of America’s most thought-provoking, multi-faceted, and compelling artists, pianist Jeremy Denk is the recipient of a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship and was named Musical America’s 2014 Instrumentalist of the Year. He has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and London, and regularly gives recitals in New York, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, and throughout the United States. Last season he returned to Carnegie Hall as part of a 13-city recital tour, in addition to performing at London’s Wigmore Hall. He also toured with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and played Bach’s set of six keyboard concertos in a single evening with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He will reprise Bach’s concertos on tour with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields next season.
To coincide with the release of his second Nonesuch Records album, Bach: Goldberg Variations, Denk launched the 2013-14 season with performances of the “Goldbergs” in Boston, Chicago, and Washington; the album reached number one of Billboard’s Classical Chart and was featured in “Best of 2013” lists by the New Yorker and the New York Times. Other season highlights include his return to Carnegie Hall to play Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 on tour with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas. He reprises the concerto with the symphony orchestras of Cincinnati and Baltimore, as well as with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, which he will lead from the keyboard. As Music Director of the 2014 Ojai Music Festival, Denk looks forward to performing and curating, and has written the libretto to a comic opera, The Classical Style, by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky. Inspired by Charles Rosen’s eponymous seminal text, the opera—a co-commission of the Ojai Music Festival, Carnegie Hall, Cal Performances, and the Aspen Music Festival—features the characters of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.
Denk is known for his original and insightful writing on music, which Alex Ross praises for its “arresting sensitivity and wit.” The pianist’s writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New Republic, The Guardian, and on the front page of the New York Times Book Review. One of his New Yorker contributions, “Every Good Boy Does Fine,” forms the basis of a memoir he is writing for future publication by Random House. Recounting his experiences of touring, performing, and practicing, his blog, Think Denk, was recently selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress web archives. For his work as a writer and pianist, Out magazine included Denk on its “Out 100” list celebrating the most compelling people of 2013.
In 2012, Denk made his Nonesuch debut with a pairing of masterpieces old and new: Beethoven’s final Piano Sonata No. 32, Op. 111, and György Ligeti’s Études. The album was named one of the best of 2012 by the New Yorker, NPR, and the Washington Post, and Denk’s account of the Beethoven sonata was selected by BBC Radio 3’s Building a Library as the best available version recorded on modern piano. Denk has a long-standing attachment to the music of American visionary Charles Ives, and his recording of Ives’s two piano sonatas featured in many “best of the year” lists. Last season, the pianist was invited by Michael Tilson Thomas to appear as soloist in the San Francisco Symphony’s American Mavericks festival, and he recorded Henry Cowell’s Piano Concerto with the orchestra. Having cultivated relationships with many living composers, he currently has several commissioning projects in progress.
Denk has toured frequently with violinist Joshua Bell, and their recently released Sony Classical album, French Impressions, won the 2012 Echo Klassik award. He also collaborates regularly with cellist Steven Isserlis, and has appeared at numerous festivals, including the Italian and American Spoleto Festivals, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music, Verbier, Ravinia, Tanglewood, Aspen Music, and Mostly Mozart Festivals.
Jeremy Denk has earned degrees from Oberlin College, Indiana University, and the Juilliard School. He lives in New York City, and his web site and blog are at jeremydenk.net.
© 21C Media Group, January 2014