Great Artists Series: Jonathan Biss, piano

Jonathan Biss, piano  

February 9, 2017 at 7:30 P.M.

Edison Box Office: 314-935-6543

Tickets for Jonathan Biss


"Late Style"

Schumann - Gesänge der Frühe, Op. 133
Kurtág Játékok - Selections from Volume VII
Chopin - Polonaise-Fantasie, Op. 61
Brahms - Sonata in F minor, Op. 5, second movement
                        Klavierstücke, Op. 119
                       Klavierstücke, Op. 118

About the Program:

Following on the immeasurable success of his immersive series Schumann: Under the Influence, Biss delves into a composer’s final years in a series of concerts, authoritative writing, and exploratory panels. From Jonathan Biss: “The question of “late style” has long been of interest to writers and philosophers, from Adorno to Said. What effect do years of accumulated knowledge and experience, combined with, perhaps, the realization that death is near, have on artistic creation? The question is particularly fascinating with music, first of all because it is abstract, and therefore its “subject matter” is more difficult to discern than is the case with literature, but mostly because a remarkable number of composers moved in surprising directions in their last years. Over five centuries, composers whose late periods came as early as their 30s or as late as their 80s have found new forms of expression as they approached the ends of their lives. Still more interesting, the change is not consistent from composer to composer: some become more concise, others more expansive. Some become fixated on death, others find an almost child-like innocence. Some composers wrote their most adventurous music in their late periods, and others pursued an extreme simplicity. These new directions are the subject of the four concerts that make up this project.”


Jonathan Biss is a world-renowned pianist who shares his deep musical and intellectual curiosity with classical music lovers in the concert hall and beyond. He performs a diverse repertoire ranging from Mozart and Beethoven, through the Romantics to Janáček and Schoenberg, as well as works by contemporary composer Gyorgy Kurtág and commissions from 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 Diapason d’Or de l’année and Edison awards, and in 2016 he releases the fifth volume of his nine-year, nine-disc recording cycle of Beethoven’s complete piano sonatas.

Biss studied at Indiana University and at 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 people 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. This season Biss launches his latest Beethoven project, Beethoven/5, for which the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) is commissioning five composers to write new piano concertos, each inspired by one of Beethoven's five piano concertos. 

-Program subject to change.