Simone Dinnerstein is an American pianist. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, son and dog, less than a mile from the hospital in which she was born.
Simone has a distinctive musical voice. The Washington Post has called her “an artist of strikingly original ideas and irrefutable integrity.” She first came to wider public attention in 2007 through her recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, reflecting an aesthetic that was both deeply rooted in the score and profoundly idiosyncratic. She is, wrote The New York Times, “a unique voice in the forest of Bach interpretation.”
Since that recording, she has had a busy performing career. She has played with orchestras ranging from the New York Philharmonic and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra to the London Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale Rai. She has performed in venues from Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to the Berlin Philharmonie, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Seoul Arts Center and the Sydney Opera House. She has made ten albums, all of which topped the Billboard classical charts, with repertoire ranging from Beethoven to Ravel.
In recent years, Simone has created projects that express her broad musical interests. Following her recording Mozart in Havana, she brought the Havana Lyceum Orchestra from Cuba to the United States for the very first time, raising the funding, booking the concerts, and organizing their housing and transport. Together, Simone and the orchestra played eleven concerts from Miami to Boston. Philip Glass composed his Piano Concerto No. 3 for Simone, co-commissioned by twelve American and Canadian orchestras. She collaborated with choreographer Pam Tanowitz to create New Work for Goldberg Variations, which was met with widespread critical acclaim. Working with Renée Fleming and the Emerson String Quartet, she premiered André Previn and Tom Stoppard’s Penelope at the Tanglewood, Ravinia and Aspen music festivals. Most recently, she created her own string ensemble, Baroklyn, which she directs from the keyboard. Their performance of Bach’s cantata Ich Habe Genug in March 2020 was the last concert she gave before New York City shut down.
Simone is committed to giving concerts in non-traditional venues and to audiences who don’t often hear classical music. For the last three decades, she has played concerts throughout the United States for the Piatigorsky Foundation, an organization dedicated to the widespread dissemination of classical music. It was for the Piatigorsky Foundation that she gave the first piano recital in the Louisiana state prison system at the Avoyelles Correctional Center. She has also performed at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in a concert organized by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Simone founded Neighborhood Classics in 2009, a concert series open to the public and hosted by New York City Public Schools to raise funds for their music education programs. She also created a program called Bachpacking during which she takes a digital keyboard to elementary school classrooms, helping young children get close to the music she loves. She is a committed supporter and proud alumna of Philadelphia’s Astral Artists, which supports young performers.
Simone counts herself fortunate to have studied with three unique artists: Solomon Mikowsky, Maria Curcio and Peter Serkin, very different musicians who shared the belief that playing the piano is a means to something greater. The Washington Post comments that “ultimately, it is Dinnerstein’s unreserved identification with every note she plays that makes her performance so spellbinding.” In a world where music is everywhere, she hopes that it can still be transformative.
A Character of Quiet
Artist: Simone Dinnerstein
Release Date: September 18, 2020
Label: Orange Mountain Music
Etude No 16
Etude No 6
Etude No 2
Sonata in B-flat Major, D 960
In order to keep close contact to a minimum CDs will not be on sale Saturday. However you can get Simone’s latest CD, A Character of Quiet, from which her October 10 program is taken, on her website, https://www.simonedinnerstein.com/store/a-character-of-quiet-autographed-cd. Simone will personalize and sign each CD, and send you a selfie of her with your CD.
I recorded A Character of Quiet in June of 2020 in my home in Brooklyn, New York. My dear friend and producer, Adam Abeshouse, drove down from Westchester with a van full of equipment, and we made the album over the course of two evenings.
My experience of the pandemic was hardly unique in that it dramatically restricted my world. My son came back from London. My husband started working from home. All of my travel and concerts were cancelled. Time seemed to stop.
I felt very lucky to be able to stay in one place with my family but, candidly, lockdown did not make me feel creative or productive. It made me anxious and enervated. Indeed, for two months I think I barely touched the piano. Music did not seem like an adequate response to everything that was happening in the world. Instead I read Wordsworth and Melville and went for walks in Green-wood, the historic cemetery on my doorstep.
It was Adam who talked me back into music. He wondered whether my retreat from music might have led to new places artistically, and he pointed out that I had always wanted to record on my own piano, my favorite instrument. Recording in a concert hall was clearly out of the question in this new normal, but Adam was confident he could create an acoustic space in my room that would have its own integrity.
Once I’d warmed up to the idea of playing again there was the question of what to record. The three Glass etudes and the Schubert B-flat Sonata immediately came to mind. Glass and Schubert are very different composers but they share some unexpected similarities. I love their pared down quality, their economy, their ability to change everything by changing just one note in a chord. Their asceticism suited the moment. But there is a sensual element in both, too, because the human voice is central to Glass and Schubert’s sound worlds. They both create a feeling of a solitary journey, a sense of time being trapped through repeated vision and revision as the music tries to work itself to a conclusion. This all spoke to the way I was feeling.
Though I had performed this music many times, at the point when I began to practice again I had not played any of it for over a year. As the pieces began to take shape for me once more, I found that this period of solitude had, in fact, had an effect. Perhaps I had been parted too long from my better self by the hurrying world, as Wordsworth puts it. The qualities that I now found most essential to the music were the most quiet, the most nuanced, the most private. Those were the qualities that seemed important as I played for myself in my own room while Adam recorded downstairs. I hope that the listener will feel them too.
Simone Dinnerstein July, 2020
From The Prelude
by William Wordsworth
When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude;
How potent a mere image of her sway;
Most potent when impressed upon the mind
With an appropriate human centre—hermit,
Deep in the bosom of the wilderness;
Votary (in vast cathedral, where no foot
Is treading, where no other face is seen)
Kneeling at prayers; or watchman on the top
Of lighthouse, beaten by Atlantic waves;
Or as the soul of that great Power is met
Sometimes embodied on a public road,
When, for the night deserted, it assumes
A character of quiet more profound
Than pathless wastes.
Terms of Attendance
WHEN YOU PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS, PLEASE CLICK ON BOX THAT YOU HAVE READ AND AGREE TO THESE TERMS:
Terms of Attendance for October 10, 3 pm Performance in Mt. Gretna Playhouse
- This event is in the Mt. Gretna Playhouse rain or shine. The performance will be approximately 75 minutes with no intermission. Please review the weather report and dress accordingly. The Playhouse is an outdoor venue where the three sides of the hall are open and the seating and stage are covered.
- My party and I will be in designated seats and socially distanced from all other parties. We understand we must stay in our assigned seats.
- Departure at the end of the performance will be staggered at the direction of event staff personnel to maintain safe distancing.
- My party and I will maintain six-foot social distancing from all those not in my party at all times while on the premises of the Mt. Gretna Playhouse and Pennsylvania Chautauqua for this event, including standing in line while entering the hall.
- Each member of my party above age six will always wear a mask covering nose and mouth while on the premises for this event.
- Temperature checks will be given before entering the Mt. Gretna Playhouse.
- No alcohol is permitted at the venue. There will be no concessions available.
- Each adult member of my party will self-evaluate on the day of the event, and an adult will evaluate each youth in my party. No individuals will attend if they have any of the following symptoms consistent with COVID-19:
- Fever exceeding 100.1
- Sore throat
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden inability to taste or smell
- Body aches
- Unusual fatigue
- Abdominal pain
If I or any member of my party has been knowingly exposed to anyone with COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to this event, that individual(s) will not attend.
I agree that each member of my party is subject to the terms above, and the conditions set forth below, and that failure to abide by such rules, instructions, or directions may result in dismissal from the event or venue.
COVID-19 WARNING: I understand that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and attendees with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable. Medical and epidemiological evidence shows that transmission is possible even when carefully performing protective measures. There may be additional risks that are unknown.
ASSUMPTION OF RISK: I have read and understood the above warning concerning COVID-19. I hereby voluntarily choose to accept all risk, for myself and any accompanying minor(s), of being exposed to, contracting, and/or spreading COVID-19, as well as all risks of property loss, personal injury, and all other hazards related to the event or presence at the venue, whether occurring prior to, during or after the event, so that I may be able to attend the event in person.
WAIVER AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY; INDEMNIFICATION: In exchange for admission to the event premises, I, on behalf of myself and any accompanying minor(s), hereby release, discharge, and agree to hold harmless (a) Music at Gretna, Inc., d/b/a Gretna Music, the PA Chautauqua and the Mt. Gretna Arts Council/Playhouse Operating Committee, and their respective directors, officers, volunteers, employees, agents, contractors, artists, and representatives; and (b) all event attendees, and release each of the foregoing (each considered one of the “releasees” herein), to the fullest extent permitted by law, from any and all liability, claims, demands, losses, and damages, which I and/or any minor(s) accompanying me has or may have for any claims or causes of action arising out of or relating in any manner to (i) my and/or any accompanying minor(s)’s presence on the Mt. Gretna Playhouse premises for this event; (ii) attendance at, observation of and/or participation in any Gretna Music, event on said premises; (iii) any other related activities; or (iv) exposure to or contracting of COVID-19 or any other disease or illness, regardless of the releasee’s preparation, or the public health measures put in place (or lack thereof) by any releasee.
In further exchange for admission to this event at the Mt. Gretna Playhouse, I agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless any and all releasees from and against any and all demands, suits, claims, damages, losses, liabilities, costs and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses), including but not limited to, any claims by or on behalf of myself or any accompanying minor(s), arising out of or relating in any manner to (i) my and/or any accompanying minor(s)’s presence on said premises; (ii) attendance at, observation of, and/or participation in this event at said premises; or any related activities, (iii) my and/or any accompanying minor(s)’s acts or omissions; or (iv) exposure to or contracting of COVID-19 or any other disease or illness, regardless of the releasee’s preparation, or the public health measures put in place (or lack thereof) by the releasee. In exchange for admission to this Gretna Music event at the Mt. Gretna Playhouse, I covenant not to sue (or assist any person in suing) any releasee for any matter related to the above assumptions, releases, indemnifications or agreements.
MINOR ATTENDEES: If I am accompanied by any minor(s) to this event at the Mt. Gretna Playhouse, by allowing the minor(s) to accompany me, I make and agree to all the foregoing assumptions, releases, indemnifications and agreements on behalf of such minor(s), and affirm that I am legally entitled or authorized to do so on said minor(s) behalf.
WHEN YOU PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS, PLEASE CLICK ON BOX THAT YOU HAVE READ AND AGREE TO THESE TERMS