Pianist Simone Dinnerstein performs Bach’s Goldberg Variations in Washington

Simone Dinnerstein
Simone Dinnerstein (Picture: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco)

Washington, D.C.­, Jan 17, 2013 (Washington Bangla Radio) Now recording exclusively for Sony Classics, pianist Simone Dinnerstein performs at the Music Center at Strathmore on February 24.  Said the Washington Post of her WPAS recital last January, “Dinnerstein, a deeply musical player, can mesmerize audiences. Her interpretations come from intrinsic communion with the composer, without any pianistic showmanship. At her best, she marries pristine textual reading with a glimpse of the hereafter, and she can make you catch your breath at the beauty of this or that phrase.”Said the New York Times, of a Bach recital Dinnerstein gave at Manhattan’s Trinity Church last June, “The tender Allemande shimmered through the chapel, lingering in its far corners; in the Gavottes, passing dissonances rang out with the puckish wit of Thelonious Monk’s minor-key jabs."

Who: Simone Dinnerstein, piano
Where: The Music Center at Strathmore
When: Sunday, February24, 2013 at 7pm
Program: Bach Goldberg Variations, BMV 988
Tickets, priced $28-85, available at www.wpas.org or (202) 785-9727

Now a well-established performer, Dinnerstein has come a long way from her early performances in nursing homes and prisons. Her first, self-financed–and much praised–recording of Bach’s Goldberg  Variations reached No. 1 on the Billboard classical charts the first week after its release and was named to many ‘Best of 2007’ lists, including those of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, iTunes, Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble. In 2008, she received the Diapason d'Or Award in France.

Describing her unusual approach to a score in a 2010 SFIst interview, Dinnerstein said, “I try to understand …the important aspects of the composition, and that informs how I interpret the music…much more than knowing the tradition of playing at a particular tempo, or that it was stylistically appropriate not to use the pedaling. I think more about what I see in the music itself.” Dinnerstein seems to have followed the same approach with her latest CD, A Strange Beauty, which Mark Estren described in the Washington Post as “poised, elegant, wonderfully played and very, very romantic.”

In the same spirit of independence, Dinnerstein found her own sponsor for her well-received New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in 2005. Since then she has performed at the Vienna Konzerthaus, and the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival; and has made debut performances with the Dresden Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Kristjan Jarvi's Absolute Ensemble, the Tokyo Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, and the Minnesota Orchestra. In New York, she has performed at Town Hall, on Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series, and in three sold-out recitals at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is also a frequent performer at Le Poisson Rouge. She made her debut with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center playing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and made her sold-out Kennedy Center debut on WPAS’s Hayes Piano Series in 2009.

Watch Simone Dinnerstein's Music Video: Something Almost Being Said: The Music of Bach and Schubert (Youtube)

Dinnerstein’s second CD, recorded live at the Berlin Philharmonie, was described in Gramophone as “a stunning recital, engineered with tactile precision,” and also gained the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Chart. Gramophone declared the CD to be “ample evidence of gifts above and beyond the ordinary.” Dinnerstein’s third CD of the complete Beethoven cello sonatas with Zuill Bailey was followed by her first Sony Classical album, an all-Bach disc with Kammerorchester der Staatskapelle Berlin.

Dinnerstein has appeared on CBS’s Sunday Morning and NPR’s All Things Considered, was a cover story in Gramophone and International Piano in 2008, and has also been featured in BBC Music Magazine, Classic FM Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, "O" The Oprah Magazine, Time.com, Slate.com, The Sunday (London) Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, among others. She has appeared on radio programs including BBC Radio 3's In Tune, BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, NPR's Morning Edition, Public Radio International's Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, American Public Media's Performance Today, and numerous other programs here and abroad.

Dinnerstein is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where she was a student of Peter Serkin. Among her many scholarships and awards at Juilliard were the William Petschek Piano Scholarship, the Vladimir Horowitz Scholarship and the Chopin Award. She was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center for two summers. She also studied with Solomon Mikowsky at the Manhattan School of Music and in London with Maria Curcio, the distinguished pupil of Artur Schnabel.

Simone Dinnerstein lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son, where she founded P.S. 321 Neighborhood Concerts, an evening concert series at the Brooklyn public elementary school that her son attends and where her husband teaches fifth grade. The concerts feature musicians she has admired and collaborated with during her career, are open to the public and raise funds for the school’s Parent Teacher Association. Dinnerstein’s father is the artist Simon Dinnerstein.

Funded in part by the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by National Endowment for the Arts.