Jeremy Denk, guest host
Jeremy Denk is one of America’s foremost pianists. Winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, and the Avery Fisher Prize, Denk was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Denk returns frequently to Carnegie Hall and in recent seasons has appeared with the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Cleveland Orchestra, as well as on tour with Academy St. Martin in the Fields, and at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms.
In 18-19, Denk embarks on a three-week recital tour of the US, including appearances in Washington, D.C., Seattle, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, and culminating in his return to Carnegie Hall. His orchestral highlights include play-directing Mozart with the Toronto Symphony, and on tour throughout the US with Academy St. Martin in the Fields. He also returns to the Atlanta and Colorado Symphonies, and continues his work with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, where he is a former Artistic Partner, opening the season directing Beethoven 5 from the keyboard.
In the same season, Denk re-unites with his long time collaborators, Joshua Bell and Steven Isserlis, on an eleven-city tour of the US, including appearances in New York, Boston, Washington, and San Francisco. He also performs and curates a series of Mozart Violin Sonatas (‘Denk & Friends’) at Carnegie Hall. Further collaborations include performing Winterreise with Matthias Goerne, and the Ives violin sonatas at Tanglewood with Stefan Jackiw. Abroad, he returns to the Barbican in London to reunite with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, makes his debut with the City of Birmingham Symphony, and returns to the Helsinki Philharmonic. He also appears in recital in Europe, including his return to the Wigmore Hall as part of a three-year residency. His recording c.1200-c.2000 will be released by Nonesuch Records with music ranging from Guillaume de Machaut, Gilles Binchois and Carlo Gesualdo, to Stockhausen, Ligeti and Glass.
In 17-18, Denk reunited with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony to perform Bartok 2, following a performance of the same concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms. He also returned to Carnegie Hall, both to perform Beethoven 5 with Orchestra St. Luke’s, and alongside Joshua Bell. With his return in subscription to the Seattle Symphony, Denk toured with the orchestra performing Beethoven 5, and was featured as Artistic Partner of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra with multiple performances throughout the season, including the premiere of a new piano concerto written for him by Hannah Lash. He also appeared in recital throughout the US, with his performances in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Princeton. His collaborations in 17-18 included a US tour of the complete Ives Violin Sonatas with Stefan Jackiw in a special project in which Denk presented the sonatas with a vocal ensemble performing hymns embedded in the compositions. A recording of the Sonatas with Jackiw is forthcoming from Nonesuch Records. Abroad, Denk was presented by the Barbican in multiple performances as artist-in-residence at Milton Hall. He also returned to play-direct the Britten Sinfonia in London, and on tour in the UK. In Asia, Denk made his debut in recital in Hong Kong, Seoul, and Singapore.
In 2014, Denk served as Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival, for which, besides performing and curating, he wrote the libretto for a comic opera. The opera was later presented by Carnegie Hall, Cal Performances, and the Aspen Festival. Denk is known for his original and insightful writing on music, which Alex Ross praises for its “arresting sensitivity and wit.” The pianist’s writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New Republic, The Guardian, and on the front page of the New York Times Book Review. One of his New Yorker contributions, “Every Good Boy Does Fine,” forms the basis of a book for future publication by Random House in the US, and Macmillan in the UK. Recounting his experiences of touring, performing, and practicing, his blog, Think Denk, was recently selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress web archives.
In 2012, Denk made his Nonesuch debut with a pairing of masterpieces old and new: Beethoven’s final Piano Sonata, Op. 111, and Ligeti’s Études. The album was named one of the best of 2012 by the New Yorker, NPR, and the Washington Post, and Denk’s account of the Beethoven sonata was selected by BBC Radio 3’s Building a Library as the best available version recorded on modern piano. Denk has a long-standing attachment to the music of American visionary Charles Ives, and his recording of Ives’s two piano sonatas featured in many “best of the year” lists.
Jeremy Denk graduated from Oberlin College, Indiana University, and the Juilliard School. He lives in New York City, and his website and blog are at jeremydenk.net.