Original artwork by Simone Dinnerstein's father, the painter Simon Dinnerstein, appears throughout this site.
American pianist Simone Dinnerstein is a searching and inventive artist who is motivated by a desire to find the musical core of every work she approaches. The Independent praises the "majestic originality of her vision" and NPR reports, "She compels the listener to follow her in a journey of discovery filled with unscheduled detours . . . She's actively listening to every note she plays, and the result is a wonderfully expressive interpretation." The New York-based pianist gained an international following because of the remarkable success of her recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations, which she raised the funds to record. Released in 2007 on Telarc, it ranked No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Classical Chart in its first week of sales and was named to many "Best of 2007" lists including those of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The New Yorker.
The four solo albums Ms. Dinnerstein has released since then — The Berlin Concert (Telarc), Bach: A Strange Beauty (Sony), Something Almost Being Said (Sony), and Bach: Inventions & Sinfonias (Sony) — have also topped the classical charts, with Bach: A Strange Beauty making the Billboard Top 200, which compiles the entire music industry's sales of albums in all genres. Ms. Dinnerstein was the bestselling instrumentalist of 2011 on the U.S. Billboard Classical Chart and was included in NPR's 2011 100 Favorite Songs from all genres. Of her latest recording of Bach's Inventions and Sinfonias, The New York Times raved, "...in these 'Inventions & Sinfonias,' too often relegated to the teaching studio, it is the specific motion she gives each piece — as if every contrapuntal line had a physiognomy of its own — that makes this recording so arresting."
In spring 2013, Simone Dinnerstein and singer-songwriter Tift Merritt released an album together on Sony called Night, a unique collaboration uniting classical, folk, and rock worlds, exploring common terrain and uncovering new musical landscapes. Night features original songs written for the duo by Brad Mehldau and Patty Griffin, as well as classical selections and Merritts own work. The Washington Post wrote of their performance together: "Merritt blew on a pair of harmonicas to add a taste of hickory to Dinnerstein's take on Schubert's Nacht und Träume. During a medley of reworked old-timey folk songs, Dinnerstein got off her stool and under the hood of her pristine Steinway Grand and hammered its strings like a dulcimer to accompany Merritt's strumming of a beat-up acoustic guitar."
Upcoming and recent highlights include Ms. Dinnerstein's debuts in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia; her debuts in Leipzig at the Gewandhaus and in Toulouse as part of the Piano aux Jacobins festival; the world premiere of Nico Muhly's You Can't Get There From Here at Symphony Hall in Boston; her third return engagement at the Berlin Philharmonie; and world premiere performances of Philip Lasser's The Circle and The Child with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Dinnerstein's performance schedule has taken her around the world since her triumphant New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in 2005 to venues including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and London's Wigmore Hall; festivals that include the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival, the Aspen, Verbier, and Ravinia festivals, and the Stuttgart Bach Festival; and performances with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Kristjan Järvi's Absolute Ensemble, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and the Tokyo Symphony.
Ms. Dinnerstein is interested in exploring ways to subtly change the traditional concert experience, and has created a new program with thereminist Pamelia Kurstin and actor Alvin Epstein that combines classical music and avant-garde cabaret, and weaves together poetry, music, improvisation, and narration. The program debuted at New York's popular West Village club, Le Poisson Rouge, in 2012. Committed to bringing music by living composers to today's audiences, Ms. Dinnerstein frequently performs pieces written for her by Philip Lasser and Daniel Felsenfeld. In addition to performing the new work written for her by Nico Muhly and the premiere of Lasser's piano concerto this season, she will be premiering a piano quintet by Grammy-nominated composer Jefferson Friedman in 2014.
Ms. Dinnerstein has played concerts throughout the United States for the Piatigorsky Foundation, an organization dedicated to bringing classical music to non-traditional venues. Notably, she gave the first classical music performance in the Louisiana state prison system when she played at the Avoyelles Correctional Center. She also performed at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women, in a concert organized by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to coincide with her BSO debut.
Dedicated to her community, in 2009 Ms. Dinnerstein founded Neighborhood Classics, a concert series open to the public hosted by New York City public schools. The series features musicians Ms. Dinnerstein has met throughout her career, and raises funds for the schools. The musicians performing donate their time and talent to the program. Neighborhood Classics began at PS 321, the Brooklyn public elementary school that her son attended and where her husband teaches fourth grade. Artists who have performed on the series include Richard Stoltzman, Maya Beiser, Pablo Ziegler, Paul O'Dette and many more. In addition, Ms. Dinnerstein has staged two all-school "happenings" at PS 321 -- a Bach Invasion and a Renaissance Revolution -- which immersed the school in music, with dozens of musicians performing in all of the schools classrooms throughout the day.
Ms. Dinnerstein is a graduate of The Juilliard School where she was a student of Peter Serkin. She was a winner of the Astral Artist National Auditions, and has received the National Museum of Women in the Arts Award and the Classical Recording Foundation Award. She also studied with Solomon Mikowsky at the Manhattan School of Music and in London with Maria Curcio.
Simone Dinnerstein (pronounced See-MOHN-uh DIN-ner-steen) lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and son. She is managed by Tanja Dorn at IMG Artists and is a Sony Classical artist.
"She compels the listener to follow her in a journey of discovery filled with unscheduled detours . . . She's actively listening to every note she plays, and the result is a wonderfully expressive interpretation."
"majestic originality of vision"
- The Independent
"arresting freshness and subtlety"
"lean, knowing, and unpretentious elegance"
- The New Yorker
"personality, verve, and thoughtfulness"
- The Washington Post
"An utterly distinctive voice in the forest of Bach interpretation, Ms. Dinnerstein brings her own pianistic expressivity to the 'Goldberg' Variations, probing each variation as if it were something completely new. She learned them herself and recorded them herself, then Telarc picked up the album and it became one of the success stories of the year."
- The New York Times
"If you only have 1 hour, 18 minutes: Listen to pianist Simone Dinnerstein's recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations (Telarc), a timeless, meditative, utterly audacious solo debut."
- O, The Oprah Magazine
"In a league with any of the great Beethoven pianists of our time."
- Philadelphia Inquirer