This season pianist Jonathan Biss continues his latest Beethoven project, Beethoven/5, for which the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra has co-commissioned five composers to write new piano concertos, each inspired by one of Beethoven’s. The five-year plan began last season, with Mr. Biss premiering Timo Andres’s Piano Concerto No. 3, The Blind Banister, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
In 2016–17 Mr. Biss begins examining, both in performance and academically, the concept of a composer’s “late style,” and has put together programs of J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Britten, Elgar, Gesualdo, György Kurtág, Mozart, Schubert, and Schumann’s later works, both for solo piano and in collaboration with the Brentano Quartet and Mark Padmore. He also gives master classes at Carnegie Hall in connection with the idea of late style, and published a Kindle Single on the topic in March 2017.
Mr. Biss performs a diverse repertoire ranging from Mozart and Beethoven through the Romantics to Janáček and Schoenberg, as well as works by Kurtág and commissions from David Ludwig, Leon Kirchner, Lewis Spratlan, and Bernard Rands. In 2017 he releases the sixth volume of his nine-year, nine-disc recording cycle of Beethoven’s complete piano sonatas.
Jonathan Biss studied at Indiana University and at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he joined the piano faculty in 2010. He led the first massive open online course (MOOC) offered by a classical music conservatory, Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, which has reached more than 150,000 people in 185 countries, and he will continue to add lectures until he covers all the sonatas. His bestselling eBook Beethoven’s Shadow, published by RosettaBooks in 2011, was the first Kindle Single written by a classical musician.