“One of the most admired pianists of his generation” (New York Times), Inon Barnatan is celebrated for his poetic sensibility, musical intelligence, and consummate artistry. He inaugurates his tenure as Music Director of California’s La Jolla Music Society Summerfest in July 2019. The coming season brings the release of a two-volume set of Beethoven’s complete piano concertos, which he recorded for Pentatone with Alan Gilbert and London’s Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Barnatan’s upcoming concerto collaborations include Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 with Nicholas McGegan and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Ravel’s G-major Concerto with the Chicago Symphony, Rachmaninov’s Third Concerto with Gilbert and the Royal Stockholm Symphony, Clara Schumann’s Concerto with the New Jersey Symphony, and a recreation of Beethoven’s legendary 1808 concert, which featured the world premieres of his Fourth Piano Concerto, Choral Fantasy, and Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, with Louis Langrée and the Cincinnati Symphony. Barnatan also plays Mendelssohn, Gershwin, and Thomas Adès for his solo recital debut at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, returns to Alice Tully Hall with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and reunites with his frequent recital partner, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, for tours on both sides of the Atlantic. The first takes them to London’s Wigmore Hall and other venues in England, the Netherlands and Italy for Brahms and Shostakovich, while the second sees them celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary with performances of his complete cello sonatas in San Francisco and other U.S. cities.
Barnatan’s 2018-19 orchestral highlights included Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto with Gilbert and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, a complete Beethoven concerto cycle with New Jersey’s Princeton Symphony, Rachmaninov with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Israel Philharmonic, Copland with the Oregon Symphony, and Mozart with the Houston Symphony and the Australian Chamber Orchestra at Lincoln Center. Solo recitals took him to Boston’s Celebrity Series, Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, and London’s Southbank Centre, where he made his International Piano Series debut with a program of Ravel and Mussorgsky. In addition to performances with the Dover Quartet and St. Lawrence Quartet at Carnegie Hall, his chamber highlights included national tours with the Calidore Quartet and with Alisa Weilerstein, violinist Sergey Khachatryan, and percussionist Colin Currie. This summer, in his first season as Artistic Director of the La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, Barnatan explores the theme of transformation through programs which explore evolution in music, and collaborates with Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, visionary director and visual artist Doug Fitch, the Mark Morris Dance Group, and other artistic luminaries in a series devoted to cross-disciplinary exploration.
A regular performer with many of the world’s foremost orchestras and conductors, Barnatan served from 2014-17 as the inaugural Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic. In summer 2017, he made his BBC Proms debut with the BBC Symphony at London’s Royal Albert Hall and gave the Aspen world premiere of a new piano concerto by Alan Fletcher, which he went on to reprise with the Atlanta Symphony and in a season-opening concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. Recent orchestral debuts include the Chicago, Baltimore, Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Nashville, San Diego, and Seattle Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the London, Helsinki, Hong Kong, and Royal Stockholm Philharmonics. Other recent highlights include a complete Beethoven concerto cycle in Marseilles; performances of Copland’s Piano Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas in San Francisco and at Carnegie Hall; and a U.S. tour with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, playing and conducting Mozart and Shostakovich from the keyboard and premiering a newly commissioned concerto by Alasdair Nicolson. With the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä, Barnatan played Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto on New Year’s Eve, followed by a Midwest tour that culminated in Chicago, and a return to the BBC Proms in summer 2018.
Barnatan is the recipient of both a prestigious 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant and Lincoln Center’s 2015 Martin E. Segal Award, which recognizes “young artists of exceptional accomplishment.” A sought-after chamber musician, he was a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program from 2006 to 2009, and continues to make regular CMS appearances in New York and on tour. His passion for contemporary music sees him commission and perform many works by living composers, including premieres of pieces by Thomas Adès, Sebastian Currier, Avner Dorman, Alan Fletcher, Joseph Hallman, Alasdair Nicolson, Andrew Norman, Matthias Pintscher, and others. He has given multiple solo recitals at internationally acclaimed venues including New York’s 92nd Street Y, the Celebrity Series of Boston, Chicago’s Harris Theater, the Vancouver Recital Society, and London’s Southbank Centre and Wigmore Hall. Last season, he gave collaborative recitals at Carnegie Hall and Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center with soprano Renée Fleming, and in both 2016 and 2018 he collaborated with the Mark Morris Dance Group at New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival.
Barnatan’s most recent album release is a live recording of Messiaen’s 90-minute masterpiece Des canyons aux étoiles (“From the Canyons to the Stars”), in which he played the exceptionally challenging solo piano part at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. In 2015 he released Rachmaninov & Chopin: Cello Sonatas on Decca Classics with Alisa Weilerstein, earning rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. His most recent solo recording, of Schubert’s late piano sonatas, was released by Avie in September 2013, winning praise from such publications as Gramophone and BBC Music, while his account of the great A-major Sonata (D. 959) was chosen by BBC Radio 3 as one of the all-time best recordings of the piece. His 2012 album, Darknesse Visible, debuted in the Top 25 on the Billboard Traditional Classical chart and received universal critical acclaim, being named BBC Music’s “Instrumentalist CD of the Month” and winning a coveted place on the New York Times’ “Best of 2012” list. He made his solo recording debut with a Schubert album, released by Bridge Records in 2006, that prompted Gramophone to hail him as “a born Schubertian” and London’s Evening Standard to call him “a true poet of the keyboard: refined, searching, unfailingly communicative.”
Born in Tel Aviv in 1979, Inon Barnatan started playing the piano at the age of three, when his parents discovered his perfect pitch, and made his orchestral debut at eleven. His musical education connects him to some of the 20th century’s most illustrious pianists and teachers: he studied first with Professor Victor Derevianko, a student of the Russian master Heinrich Neuhaus, before moving to London in 1997 to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Christopher Elton and Maria Curcio, a student of the legendary Artur Schnabel. Leon Fleisher has also been an influential teacher and mentor. Barnatan currently resides in New York City.