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Bach’s Strange Beauty

A conversation with pianist Simone Dinnerstein on the occasion of her return to Bach on her third solo release.

simone at the piano

Photo: Telarc

Simone Dinnerstein at the piano

Event Information

Bach; Strange Beauty

new CD from Simone Dinnerstein Sony Classical 88697 81742 2


Artist And Entrepreneur

Simone Dinnerstein is a young pianist and entrepreneur. Her first release was a very successful, self-produced recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Her latest album, Bach: A Strange Beauty, sees her return to the music of Bach for her first album on Sony Classical.

Title From A Philosopher

The title comes from a quote from Francis Bacon about beauty:

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in proportion.

Dinnerstein say this resonates with her. “Some people think of Bach as kind of mathematical, but for me Bach is full of surprises.”

Inspiration From An Artist

Dinnerstein’s father is a painter. During her childhood, the two of them spent many hours looking at and talking about paintings. Between visual art and music, Dinnerstein admits, “I do see some parallels. One my favorite artists is the Dutch painter Jan van Eyck. To me his works, like Bach’s, have both order and surprises. As a pianist I’ve always been interested in the variety of hands in his works.”

For this CD, Dinnerstein draws on a wide variety of Bach’s music, including solo pieces and two concertos with the Kammerorchester Staatskapelle of Berlin. “Even within the solo pieces there’s variety,” she says, “because some came from other instruments. In some pieces I have to think about organ sounds and effects, and of course with the orchestra I’m always reminded of the expressive qualities of bowing.”

A Postcard Postscript

Here’s a postscript to our interview. The CD booklet does have a couple of works by the inspiring van Eyck, but it also has a family portrait and a still life by Simone’s father, Simon Dinnerstein.

George Walker

After completing an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University, George Walker began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists and reviews plays and operas.

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