Pianist Inon Barnatan has rapidly gained international recognition for engaging and communicative performances that pair insightful interpretation with impeccable technique. Described by London’s Evening Standard as “a true poet of the keyboard”, Mr. Barnatan performs a diverse range of repertoire, encompassing both classical and contemporary composers, with the variety of the pieces he performs reflected in his being equally valued as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician.
Since moving to the United States in 2006, Mr. Barnatan has made his orchestral debuts with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Houston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, and has performed in New York at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, the Metropolitan Museum and Alice Tully Hall. In 2009 he was awarded a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, an honor reflecting the strong impression he has made on the American music scene in such a short period of time.
In addition to his American appearances, Mr. Barnatan has appeared as a soloist with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of New Europe, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and a tour with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields as a conductor and soloist.
An avid chamber musician, Mr. Barnatan recently completed three seasons as a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program. In 2009 he curated a festival of Schubert’s late solo piano, songs and chamber music works for the Society, the first musician other than the Society’s Artistic Directors to be invited to program concerts. ‘The Schubert Project’ program has also been performed at the Concertgebouw, the Festival de México, and at the Library of Congress.
Other chamber music performances include the complete Beethoven piano and violin sonatas at the Concertgebouw, the Bergen International Festival in Norway, the Vancouver Chamber Music Festival, the Delft and the Verbier Festivals and the Lyon Musicades. His rigorous U.S. festival schedule has included a broad range of concerts at the Spoleto Festival USA, the Aspen and Bridgehampton Music Festivals, and the Santa Fe and Seattle Chamber Music Festivals. He has collaborated with musicians such as Liza Ferschtman, Miriam Fried, Martin Fröst, Gary Hoffman, Janine Jansen, the Jerusalem String Quartet, Ralph Kirshbaum, Cho-Liang Lin, Paul Neubauer and Alisa Weilerstein. In 2008 he received the Andrew Wolf Memorial Award in Rockport, awarded every two years to an exceptional chamber music pianist.
Mr. Barnatan’s 2011-12 season appearances include a solo performance as part of the Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series, chamber music appearances in New York and a U.S. tour with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and West Coast recitals including opening the Music@Menlo Winter Series and performances at the Portland Piano International. He will make orchestral appearances with the Billings, Chattanooga, Eugene, Jacksonville and Oregon Symphony Orchestras and the Nordwestdeutschen Philharmonie with repertoire spanning a wide range of composers, including Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Ravel, Saint-Saëns and Tchaikovsky. In February 2012 he will embark on an eight-city European tour with cellist Alisa Weilerstein, preceded by concerto and chamber performances in Israel, and he will also undertake a three-week concerto and recital tour of South Africa in November.
In 2012, Mr. Barnatan will release his second solo recording, Darkness Visible featuring wide-ranging but thematically-related works: Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit, Thomas Adés’s Darknesse Visible, Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque, Ronald Stevenson’s Peter Grimes Fantasy and Ravel’s La Valse. Intrigued by the fact that all of these works were inspired by other works of art (Ravel’s Gaspard is based on three poems by Aloysius Bertrand; Darknesse Visible is based on a John Dowland song; Debussy was inspired by a Verlaine poem; Stevenson’s Peter Grimes Fantasy is based on the Benjamin Britten opera; and La Valse is inspired by a story by Edgar Allen Poe), Mr. Barnatan examines how different characteristics of darkness are represented in music. These works will be performed by Mr. Barnatan at his solo recitals this season.
Passionate about contemporary music, Mr. Barnatan regularly commissions and performs music by living composers, including works by Thomas Adès, George Benjamin, George Crumb, Avner Dorman, Kaija Saariaho and Judith Weir among others. Last season, he participated in Carnegie Hall’s “Making Music: James MacMillan” series, performing the composer’s Piano Sonata and chamber piece Raising Sparks.
Mr. Barnatan’s debut CD of Schubert piano works was released on Bridge Records in 2006. London’s Evening Standard wrote: “The young, Israeli born pianist Inon Barnatan is a true poet of the keyboard: refined, searching, unfailingly communicative… This is musicianship of the highest caliber.” Gramophone recommended the recording in its November 2006 award issue, calling Barnatan “a born Schubertian” and praising the CD’s “sensitivity, poise and focus.” His second CD of works for piano and violin by Beethoven and Schubert with violinist Liza Ferschtman was described by All Music Guide as “a magical listening experience.”
Born in Tel Aviv in 1979, Inon Barnatan started playing the piano at the age of three after his parents discovered he had perfect pitch, and he made his orchestral debut at eleven. His studies connect him to some of the 20th century’s most illustrious pianists and teachers: he studied with Professor Victor Derevianko, who himself studied with the Russian master Heinrich Neuhaus, and in 1997 he moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Maria Curcio – who was a student of the legendary Artur Schnabel – and with Christopher Elton. Leon Fleisher has also been an influential teacher and mentor and in 2004 he invited Mr. Barnatan to study and perform Schubert sonatas as part of a Carnegie Hall workshop, an experience that has had a lasting resonance for Mr. Barnatan. In 2006 Mr. Barnatan moved to New York City, where he currently resides in a converted warehouse in Harlem. For more information about Mr. Barnatan visit www.inonbarnatan.com or visit his page on Facebook.