Pianist Simone Dinnerstein will be presented by Columbia University’s Miller Theater (2960 Broadway at 116th Street) in concert on Thursday, October 20, 2022 as part of Miller Theater’s 2022-2023 Bach Series, organized by Dinnerstein. Praised for her distinctive musical voice and commitment to sharing classical music with everyone, Dinnerstein leads her string ensemble Ensemble Baroklyn, featuring countertenor Reginald Mobley and oboist Peggy Pearson, in a performance of cantatas and concertos for Bach’s piano: Keyboard Concerto in E major BWV 105; a selection of Choral Preludes (transcribed by Alan Fletcher and Peggy Pearson); Cantata Ich Habe Genug, BWV 82; and Cantata Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54 with continuous production by Philip Lasser.
Over the course of more than a decade, which began with a wide and enthusiastic reception of her 2007 debut album with JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Dinnerstein has grown into an imaginative interpreter of Bach’s music. During this time, Columbia University’s Miller Theater was a welcome and frequent presenter of Bach-centric concert programs organized and performed by Dinnerstein.
Of the vision behind his curation of this concert, Dinnerstein says,
“I thought it would be interesting to create a program centered on the cantata and its influences on Bach’s other compositions. He often recycled his music in different ways. The keyboard concerto in E major is taken from two cantatas already composed, BWV 169 and 49. The chorale preludes were essentially Bach’s organ improvisations on chorales that would also appear in his cantatas.
For Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54, Dinnerstein asked Lasser if he would direct the continuous part of the piece, mentioning Lasser’s special relationship with Bach’s music and how that shapes what Lasser wrote.
“Philip has a unique and special connection to Bach’s music that permeates his own compositions. He has created a truly magnificent continuo part that sounds old and new at the same time, and it is an utterly magnificent work even without all the the other voices. That in itself is very Bachian, for each of the voices in any Bach work is lyrical and expressive on its own.”
Sharing a bond of friendship, Dinnerstein, Pearson and Fletcher will also unite their artistic talent around several transcriptions of Bach chorales:
“Alan Fletcher is a wonderful composer and a friend of both Peggy [Pearson] and myself,” says Dinnerstein. “He created eight sensitive transcriptions of chorales for both of us[.] We will perform three of [Fletcher’s] transcriptions on this program and adding strings to one of them. The other two chorales are transcriptions made by Peggy [Pearson].”
The exemplary musicality of artists like Mobley, Pearson and the Baroklyn Ensemble provides a collaborative experience that Dinnerstein is very happy about.
“I am thrilled to be working with esteemed countertenor, Reggie Mobley,” said Dinnerstein. “I know Reggie’s work through his recordings and seeing him perform with John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir at Bachfest Leipzig. Reggie has a wide range of musical talents from gospel and cabaret to early music and is a extremely open musician. . We look forward to collaborating on this program and exploring the cantatas with fresh eyes.”
“I’ve been a fan of Peggy Pearson ever since I fell in love with her while performing on the remarkable recording of Ich Habe Genug with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Emmanuel Music,” says Dinnerstein. “A few years ago I wrote Peggy a fan letter and she wrote back inviting me to play a chamber music concert with her for Winsor Music, the series she created in Boston. .I’m thrilled that she agreed to participate in this performance at the Miller Theater.”
With each performance, Dinnerstein brings a new zeal to the Baroque composer and a reinvigorated motivation to showcase the beauty of Bach’s work, for listeners today. “I hope hearing these myriad works in one program brings new shades of meaning to listeners as well as performers,” she says.
About Simone Dinnerstein: Simone Dinnerstein is an American pianist. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and dog, less than a mile from the hospital in which she was born.
Simone has a distinctive musical voice. The Washington Post called her “an artist of remarkably original ideas and irrefutable integrity.” She first came to mainstream attention in 2007 with her recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, reflecting an aesthetic that is both deeply rooted in the score and deeply idiosyncratic. She is, writes the New York Times, “a unique voice in the forest of Bach’s interpretation.”
Since this recording, she has had a busy performing career. She has performed with orchestras ranging from the New York Philharmonic and Orchester symphonique de Montréal to the London Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale Rai. She has performed in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Konzerthaus, Seoul Arts Center and Sydney Opera House. She has released thirteen albums, all topping the Billboard classic charts, with a repertoire ranging from Couperin to Glass.
Recent projects have seen Simone take on a number of new artistic challenges. She gave the world premiere of The Eye Is the First Circle at Montclair State University, the first multimedia production she conceived, created and directed, which uses her father Simon Dinnerstein’s painting, The Fulbright Triptych, as source materials. and Charles Ives’ Piano Sonata. No. 2 (Concorde). Additionally, she premiered Richard Danielpour’s An American Mosaic, a tribute to those affected by the pandemic, in a performance on multiple pianos placed in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery. She also joined Renée Fleming, the Emerson String Quartet and Uma Thurman for performances of André Previn and Tom Stoppard’s Penelope at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
From 2020 to 2022, Simone released a trilogy of albums recorded at her home in Brooklyn during the pandemic. A Character of Quiet (Orange Mountain Music, 2020), featuring music by Philip Glass and Schubert, has been described by NPR as “music that speaks to a sense of the world slowing down” and by The New Yorker as ” a reminder that calm can contain multitudes.” An American Mosaic by Richard Danielpour (Supertrain Records, 2021), surpassed two million streams on Apple Music and was nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo. The final installment in the trilogy, Undersong, was released in January 2022 on Orange Mountain Music.
Over the past few years, Simone has created projects that express her broad musical interests. After her recording of Mozart in Havana, she brought the Havana Lyceum Orchestra from Cuba to the United States for the first time, raising the funds, booking the concerts and arranging their accommodation and transportation. Together, Simone and the orchestra gave eleven concerts from Miami to Boston. Philip Glass composed his Piano Concerto No. 3 for Simone, co-commissioned by twelve American and Canadian orchestras. She collaborated with choreographer Pam Tanowitz to create New Work for Goldberg Variations, which received widespread critical acclaim. Working with Renée Fleming and the Emerson String Quartet, she premiered Penelope by André Previn and Tom Stoppard at the Tanglewood, Ravinia and Aspen music festivals. More recently, she created her own string ensemble, Baroklyn, which she leads from the keyboard. Their performance of Bach’s cantata Ich Habe Genug in March 2020 was the last concert she performed before New York closed.
Simone is committed to giving concerts in non-traditional venues and to audiences who don’t often hear classical music. For the past three decades, she has given concerts across the United States for the Piatigorsky Foundation, an organization dedicated to the widespread dissemination of classical music. It was for the Piatigorsky Foundation that she gave the first piano recital in the Louisiana State prison system at the Avoyelles Correctional Center. She also performed at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in a concert organized by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Simone founded Neighborhood Classics in 2009, a series of concerts open to the public and organized by New York public schools to raise funds for their music education programs. She also created a program called Bachpacking in which she brings a digital keyboard into elementary classrooms, helping young children get closer to the music she loves. She is a strong supporter and proud alumnus of the Astral Artists of Philadelphia, which supports young performers.
Simone considers herself lucky to have studied with three unique artists: Solomon Mikowsky, Maria Curcio and Peter Serkin, very different musicians who shared the belief that playing the piano is a way to achieve something greater. The Washington Post comments that “ultimately, it is Dinnerstein’s unreserved identification with every note she plays that makes her performance so spellbinding”. In a world where music is everywhere, she hopes it can still be transformative.
About the Miller Theater: The Miller Theater at Columbia University is one of New York’s leading promoters of new music and a lifeblood for innovative programming. In partnership with Columbia University School of the Arts, Miller is dedicated to producing and presenting unique events, with an emphasis on contemporary and early music, jazz, opera, and multimedia performance. Founded in 1988, the Miller Theater has helped launch the careers of myriad composers and ensembles over the years, serving as an incubator for emerging artists and a champion for those not yet well known in the States. -United. A four-time recipient of the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming, the Miller Theater continues to meet the high expectations of its founders – to present innovative programming, support the development of new work, and connect creative artists with adventurous audiences. . .