Venue Details

Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Segerstrom Hall
600 Town Center Drive Costa Mesa, CA 92626
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Pacific Symphony

Carl St. Clair, conductor

Jonathan Biss, piano

BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 4

BRAHMS: Symphony NO. 4

Beethoven’s serene, introspective Piano Concerto No. 4 was one of the first to break with tradition by beginning with an understated piano solo rather than a substantial orchestral introduction. It will be performed by rising star Jonathan Biss, who at just 23 years old has already proved himself an accomplished and exceptional musician.

October 19 & 20 features the return of Jonathan Biss performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Carl St.Clair and the Pacific Symphony. Also on the program: Brahms’ Symphony No. 4, and the West Coast Premiere of Pacific Symphony co-commisioned work entitled Fortunes by composer Harold Meltzer.

About Jonathan Biss

25-year-old American pianist Jonathan Biss, a 2002 Gilmore Young Artist, has already proven himself an accomplished and exceptional musician with a flourishing international reputation through his orchestral and recital performances in North America and Europe. Noted for his intriguing programs, artistic maturity and versatility, Biss performs a diverse repertoire ranging from Mozart and Beethoven, through the Romantics to Janacek and Schoenberg as well as works by contemporary composers.

Biss has performed with most major North American orchestras, including the Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Chicago, Dallas, National, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco Symphonies; the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, and the Metropolitan Opera, Minnesota, National Arts Centre, and Philadelphia orchestras. Abroad, he has performed with the BBC Symphony; Gulbenkian Orchestra; the BBC; Essen, Israel, Munich, and Rotterdam Philharmonics; and Staatskapelle Berlin.

This past summer, in addition to a return engagement at the Ravinia Festival, Biss made his debut at seven international music festivals – Aspen, the Hollywood Bowl, New York’s Mostly Mozart, Tanglewood, the Risor Festival in Norway, London’s Mostly Mozart Festival, and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany. In past seasons he performed at Caramoor, Bad Kissingen, the Spoleto Festival in Italy, Klavier-Festival Ruhr in Germany, and at Verbier.

In September Biss performs with the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas and New York Philharmonic conducted by Lorin Maazel. Among his other return engagements during 2005-06 are appearances with the Atlanta, Boston, and New Jersey Symphonies and debuts with the Houston, Nashville, Saint Louis, and Seattle Symphonies.

Next season he will give recitals in numerous cities in the U.S. and Europe, including Berkeley, Chicago, and Philadelphia, Amsterdam, Milan, Brussels, Toulouse, and Paris. His recital repertoire will include a new work-Wonderer-by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlan, which was commissioned for Biss by the Borletti-Buitoni Trust.

An enthusiastic chamber musician, Biss has been a member of Chamber Music Society Two at Lincoln Center, a frequent participant at the Marlboro Music Festival, and has toured with “Musicians from Marlboro” on several occasions. He has appeared at the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival and frequently collaborates with such chamber ensembles as the Borromeo, Mendelssohn and Vermeer quartets. Next season he will perform with Miriam Fried and the Mendelssohn String Quartet and with the Borromeo Quartet will give performances in New York for The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, in Ft. Collins, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Kansas City.

Mr. Biss’s first commercial recording – a CD on the EMI label comprising Schumann’s Davidsbundlertanze, Op. 6, Beethoven’s Fantasy in G minor, Op. 77 and Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 (Appassionata) – has won wide acclaim. The Los Angeles Times called Biss “a serious, accomplished artist who puts the composer before the player,” the San Francisco Chronicle called this a “brilliant debut release,” and the Cleveland Plain Dealer remarked that this “recording is a clear signal that a master is emerging.”

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, James Levine, Neville Marriner, and Pinchas Zukerman.

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), as well as his parents, violinist Miriam Fried and violist/violinist Paull Biss. Growing up surrounded by music, Biss began his piano studies at age six and his first musical collaborations were with his mother and father. Biss studied at Indiana University with Evelyne Brancart and at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Leon Fleisher.

Biss was an artist-in-residence on NPR’s Performance Today and has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award, 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 the first American chosen to participate in the BBC’s New Generation Artist program. Most recently, Jonathan Biss was named the winner of the 2005 Leonard Bernstein Award, which he received at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival.

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