At 29, American pianist Jonathan Biss has already proved himself an accomplished and exceptional musician with a flourishing international reputation through his orchestral, recital, and chamber music performances in North America and Europe and through his award-winning recordings. Noted for his prodigious technique, intriguing programs, and artistic maturity, Mr. Biss performs a diverse repertoire ranging from Mozart and Beethoven, through the Romantics to Janáček and Schoenberg as well as works by contemporary composers, including commissions from Leon Kirchner and Lewis Spratlan.
Since he made his New York Philharmonic debut in 2001, Jonathan Biss has appeared with the foremost orchestras of the United States and Europe. He is a frequent performer at leading international music festivals and gives recitals in major music capitals both here and abroad.
This past summer he traveled to Korea and Japan for recitals and remained in Japan for debut concerts in his NHK Orchestra debut. Afterwards he gave his first performances in Australia, in concerts with the Melbourne Symphony and recitals in both Melbourne and Sydney. In between he returned to North America for summer festival performances at Caramoor, Ravinia, and Le Festival de Lanaudiere in Quebec.
Highlights of Mr. Biss’s 2009-10 concert season include debuts with several major European orchestras, including the Royal Concertgebouw, where he joins the orchestra in three Mozart performances and a chamber music concert; the BBC Symphony; and the Orchestra National de Lyon. He also debuts with the DSO Berlin, Oslo Philharmonic, the Kremerata Baltica at the Salzburg Mozartwoche, and returns for concerts with the City of Birmingham Orchestra. In North America, his orchestral engagements include performances with The Cleveland Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and Utah Symphony, among others.
An enthusiastic chamber musician and a frequent participant at the Marlboro Music Festival, Mr. Biss returns to The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in November for an all-Schubert program—Piano Sonata in A Major, D. 959 and Schwanengesang with baritone Randall Scarlata— to conclude Inon Barnatan’s three-concert “Schubert Ascending” series at Alice Tully Hall. In February he reunites with pianist Richard Goode for a program of works for two pianos and piano four-hands in Philadelphia at the Perelman Theater, Boston at Jordan Hall, and in New York at the 92nd Street Y. He also gives chamber concerts with violinist Miriam Fried, the Brentano Quartet in a concert presented by the Chicago Symphony, and in May tours Europe with the Elias Quartet.
Mr. Biss’s 2009 recitals take him across Europe from London at Wigmore Hall, Salzburg at the Mozarteum and Brussels at the Conservatoire to Paris at Théâtre du Châtelet and to St. Petersburg. In the U.S., recital highlights include performances in New York at the 92nd Street Y and at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, where he was named a Gilmore Young Artist in 2002.
Jonathan Biss’s newest recording is an album of Schubert Sonatas—A Major, D. 959 and C Major, D. 840—and two short Kurtág pieces from Játékok—“Birthday elegy for Judit, for the second finger of her left hand” and “Hommage à Schubert.” It was released in October on the Wigmore Hall Live label. This album follows four acclaimed recordings he made for EMI Classics. They are an all-Schumann recital comprising Fantasie in C, Op. 17, Arabeske in C, Op. 18 and Kreisleriana, Op. 16, which won a Diapason d’Or de l’année award, an Edison Award-winning recital of Beethoven Piano Sonatas, Opp. 13, 28, 90, and 109, and most recently, Mozart Piano Concertos 21 and 22 with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra recorded in a live performance at Queens College in New York. His first recording for EMI Classics was a 2004 recording on EMI’s Debut series of works by Beethoven and Schumann.
Mr. Biss made his New York recital debut at the 92nd Street Y’s Tisch Center for the Arts in 2000 and his New York Philharmonic debut under Kurt Masur that same season. Among the many conductors with whom he has worked are Marin Alsop, Daniel Barenboim, Herbert Blomstedt, James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Sir Neville Marriner, Michael Tilson Thomas, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Pinchas Zukerman.
Jonathan Biss represents the third generation in a family of professional musicians that includes his grandmother Raya Garbousova, one of the first well-known female cellists (for whom Samuel Barber composed his Cello Concerto), and his parents, violinist Miriam Fried and violist/violinist Paul Biss. Growing up surrounded by music, Mr. Biss began his piano studies at age six, and his first musical collaborations were with his mother and father. He studied at Indiana University with Evelyne Brancart and at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Leon Fleisher.
Mr. Biss has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Leonard Bernstein Award at the 2005 Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Wolf Trap’s Shouse Debut Artist Award, the Andrew Wolf Memorial Chamber Music Award, Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the 2003 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. He was an artist-in-residence on American Public Media’s Performance Today and was the first American chosen to participate in the BBC’s New Generation Artist program.