Hailed as one of the most admired pianists of his generation, Inon Barnatan is celebrated for his poetic sensibility, musical intelligence and consummate artistry. He began his tenure as music director of California’s La Jolla Music Society Summerfest in July 2019. He recently released 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 2019-2020 concerto collaborations included 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 Orchestra, Rachmaninov’s Third Concerto with Gilbert and the Royal Stockholm Symphony, Clara Schumann’s Concerto with the New Jersey Symphony and with Louis Langrée and the Cincinnati Symphony, a re-creation of Beethoven’s legendary 1808 concert, which featured the world premieres of his Fourth Piano Concerto, Choral Fantasy and Fifth and Sixth symphonies.
Barnatan also played Mendelssohn, Gershwin and Thomas Adès for his solo recital debut at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall and reunited with his frequent recital partner, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, for tours to London’s Wigmore Hall and other venues in England, and to the Netherlands and Italy for Brahms and Shostakovich. In May 2020, Barnatan was presented in a virtual recital, streamed worldwide, by Shriver Hall Concert Series.
In his first season as artistic director of the La Jolla Music Society SummerFest in 2019, Barnatan explored the theme of transformation and collaborated 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 cross-disciplinary series.
A regular performer with many of the world’s foremost orchestras and conductors, Barnatan served from 2014 to 2017 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 in Aspen, he gave the 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.
Barnatan is the recipient of the 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.
Barnatan’s most recent album release is a two-volume set of Beethoven’s complete piano concertos, recorded with Alan Gilbert and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields on Pentatone. He also released 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.
Born in Tel Aviv in 1979, Barnatan started playing the piano at the age of 3, when his parents discovered he had perfect pitch, and made his orchestral debut at 11. His musical education connects him to some of the 20th century’s most illustrious pianists and teachers; he studied first with 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 also was an influential teacher and mentor. Barnatan currently resides in New York City.