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 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. 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. 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. Dinnerstein was among the top ten bestselling artists of 2014 on the Billboard Classical Chart.
In February 2015, Sony Classical released Dinnerstein’s newest album Broadway-Lafayette, which celebrates the time-honored transatlantic link between France and America and includes Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Philip Lasser’s The Circle and the Child: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, written for Dinnerstein. The album was recorded with conductor Kristjan Järvi and the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra by Grammy-winning producer Adam Abeshouse.
Upcoming and recent highlights include Dinnerstein’s Italy debut with RAI Turin under Jeffrey Tate; a recital in Seattle for the UW World Series; her return to Istanbul; the New York premiere of Philip Lasser’s The Circle and The Child with Face the Music; a tour of Germany performing Bach concertos with Bach Collegium Musicum; performances with the Colorado and Fort Worth Symphonies; recitals at The Barns at Wolf Trap and New York’s Metropolitan Museum; and a performance of The Circle and The Child with MDR Leipzig at Germany’s Gewandhaus.
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.
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, Dinnerstein frequently performs pieces written for her by Philip Lasser and Daniel Felsenfeld. In addition to performing the new works written for her by Nico Muhly and Philip Lasser this season, she premiered a piano quintet by Grammy-nominated composer Jefferson Friedman with the Chiara String Quartet at the Library of Congress in December 2014.
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 Dinnerstein founded Neighborhood Classics, a concert series open to the public hosted by New York City public schools. The series features musicians 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, Dinnerstein has staged three all-school “happenings” at PS 321 – a Bach Invasion, a Renaissance Revolution, and a Violin Invasion – which immersed the school in music, with dozens of musicians performing in all of the school’s classrooms throughout the day. In early 2014, she launched her Bachpacking initiative, bringing a digital piano provided by Yamaha from classroom to classroom in public schools, presenting interactive performances and encouraging musical discussion among the students.
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