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Jonathan Biss, pianist

Pianist Jonathan Biss returns to Bloomington for a 2009 Indiana University Summer Music Festival concert in Recital Hall on July 3. On his program are works by Haydn, Beethoven, Kurtag and Schumann.

Biss was looking forward to being back in his home town to share some familiar pieces and some that he’s only lately begun to play in concert.

“We’ll begin with one of the more demanding of Haydn’s sonatas. Haydn is just one of the foundation composers for all of the repertoire. I’ll be playing the number forty-six and they do indeed get harder as the numbers go up.

Then, I’m playing something that’s quite a bit newer. One summer when I was a student at Marlboro, I met the composer Gyorgy Kurtag. It was an amazing experience. I still think about what an incredible complete musician he was and about his grasp of sonorities, rhythms and the whole world of music. I’ll be playing some of the little pieces from his collection Jatekok, games. In these pieces I hear things that I never knew the piano could produce. It’s pretty exciting to hear something new from an instrument that I’ve been playing for twenty years.”

Following the Haydn and the Kurtag. Biss plays Beethoven’s “Les Adieux,” the Sonata in E flat, Op. 81a and then it’s on to a special favorite of Biss’s, Schumann’s Kreisleriana.

“Kreisleriana is just such an incredible piece for me. I’ve been playing it since I was fifteen. I’ve worked on it intensely four different times and even recorded it. Every time I come back to the piece it seems different and new and it makes me feel different and new as well. It’s a piece for a whole life time of musical and personal group. There’s nothing else I can say about it, I adore Kreisleriana.”

Pianist Jonathan Biss performance is a special scholarship benefit concert for the IU Summer Piano Academy. The academy is directed by one of Biss’s early teachers Karen Taylor. He later studied with another IU Faculty member Evelyne Brancart.

View the IU Summer Music Festival lineup

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