Inon Barnatan


Inon Barnatan

Celebrated for his poetic sensibility, probing intellect, and consummate artistry, Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan (“ee-NON BAR-na-tan”) currently serves as the first Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic. This unprecedented three-season appointment sees him appear as soloist in subscription concerts, take part in regular chamber performances, and act as ambassador for the orchestra. In 2015-16, he embarks on his second season with the Philharmonic, playing Mozart with Jaap van Zweden, Beethoven under Music Director Alan Gilbert, and Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals on New Year’s Eve, besides joining members of the orchestra for Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Other highlights of Barnatan’s 2015-16 season include his Walt Disney Hall debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel, and a U.S. tour with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas that includes dates at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. Barnatan also performs in Paris, Brussels, Bonn, Copenhagen, Istanbul, St. Louis, and Toronto, as well as at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, London’s Wigmore Hall, and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. In the fall, Barnatan teams up with frequent recital partner, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, on a new Decca Classics recording of Chopin and Rachmaninoff Sonatas.

During his 2014-15 season Barnatan returned to the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, made his debut with the New York Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and the Louisville, New Jersey, Ulster, Vancouver and Quebec Symphony Orchestras, and performed with the Atlanta, Eugene, Milwaukee and National Arts Centre Orchestras. He also made his solo recital debuts at the Celebrity Series of Boston and at the Harris Theater in Chicago, as well as at prestigious European festivals such as the Chopin festival in Warsaw and the Jacobins festival in Toulouse.  He was awarded a 2015 Martin E. Segal Award by Lincoln Center, a distinction that recognizes “young artists of exceptional accomplishment.” Barnatan’s full summer festival lineup includes dates at Aspen and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, where he performs Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles ... with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic.

Barnatan has performed with many of the most esteemed ensembles in the U.S., including the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Dallas, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Houston and Philadelphia, and he has worked with eminent conductors including Roberto Abbado, Lawrence Foster, James Gaffigan, Alan Gilbert, Jahja Ling, Nicholas McGegan, Matthias Pintscher, David Robertson, Robert Spano, Bramwell Tovey, Juraj Valcua, Edo De Waart, Pinchas Zukerman, and Jaap van Zweden, among others. He has toured twice with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields as a conductor and soloist, and has performed in New York at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y and Lincoln Center, as well as at San Francisco’s Herbst Theater, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, Washington's Kennedy Center and Boston’s Jordan Hall, among many other important venues. He moved to the United States in 2006, and in 2009 he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, an honor reflecting the strong impression he has made on the American music scene in such a short period of time.

In addition to his U.S. appearances, Barnatan has appeared as soloist with the Aachen Symphony, the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Deutsche Symphonie Orchester Berlin, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of New Europe, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. He is a frequent performer at Wigmore Hall and the Concertgebouw, and has appeared in some of Europe’s most illustrious venues, including the Louvre in Paris, Berlin's Philharmonie, London’s Southbank Centre, and Frankfurt’s Alte Oper. In 2012, he gave multiple orchestral and recital appearances on a solo tour of South Africa.

Also a sought-after chamber musician, Barnatan was a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program from 2006 to 2009, and is still a regular performer on CMS programs at home in New York and on tour. In 2009 he curated a festival of Schubert’s late solo piano, vocal and chamber music works for the Society, the first musician other than the Society’s Artistic Directors to be invited to program concerts. “The Schubert Project” program has also been performed at the Concertgebouw, the Festival de México, and the Library of Congress. With cellist Alisa Weilerstein, he has given duo recitals at venues including Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Toronto’s Royal Conservatory, and London’s Wigmore Hall.

His rigorous festival schedule has included a broad range of concerts at the Spoleto Festival USA, the Aspen and La Jolla Music Festivals, the Ravinia Festival, the Santa Fe and Seattle Chamber Music Festivals, and abroad at the Verbier, Delft, Bergen, Mumbai and Heidelberg festivals. He has played with some of the most notable instrumentalists worldwide. In 2008 he received the Andrew Wolf Memorial Award in Rockport, Maine, awarded every two years to an exceptional pianist for his/her contribution to chamber music.

Passionate about contemporary music, Barnatan regularly commissions and performs music by living composers, including works by Thomas Adès, George Benjamin, George Crumb, Avner Dorman, James MacMillan, Kaija Saariaho and others. In the 14/15 season he premiered new pieces written for him by Matthias Pintscher and Sebastian Currier, and commissioned jointly by Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw and the Aspen Music Festival.

His most recent album, celebrating Schubert's late works, was released by Avie in September 2013 and garnered rave reviews from such publications as Gramophone and BBC Music. Barnatan’s 2012 album, Darknesse Visible, debuted in the Top 25 of the Billboard Traditional Classical chart in its first week of release and received universal critical acclaim, being named BBC Music’s “Instrumentalist CD of the Month” and winning a coveted place on the New York Times’ “Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012” list. Released by Bridge Records in 2006, Barnatan’s debut solo recording of Schubert piano works prompted Gramophone to hail him as “a born Schubertian” and London’s Evening Standard to call him “a true poet of the keyboard: refined, searching, unfailingly communicative.” Barnatan’s recording of Beethoven and Schubert with violinist Liza Ferschtman was described by All Music Guide as “a magical listening experience.”

Born in Tel Aviv in 1979, Inon Barnatan started playing the piano at the age of three after his parents discovered he had perfect pitch, and he made his orchestral debut at eleven. His studies connect him to some of the 20th century’s most illustrious pianists and teachers: he studied with Professor Victor Derevianko, who himself studied with the Russian master Heinrich Neuhaus, and in 1997 he moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Maria Curcio – a student of the legendary Artur Schnabel – and with Christopher Elton. Leon Fleisher has also been an influential teacher and mentor. In 2006 Barnatan moved to New York City, where he currently resides in a converted warehouse in Harlem.