Chart topping pianist to perform in Los Alamos

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By Special to the Monitor

On April 25, the Los Alamos Concert Association presents the final concert of the 2009-2010 season, featuring the American pianist Simone Dinnerstein. The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Duane Smith Auditorium.  

Dinnerstein is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where she was a student of Peter Serkin. She studied with Solomon Mikowsky at the Manhattan School of Music and in London with Maria Curcio, a pupil of Artur Schnabel.  She spent two summers as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center.

In 2005, while pregnant with her son Adrian, Dinnerstein was determined to master the Bach Goldberg Variations. She performed the work at her New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in 2005 and in addition produced a self-financed recording of the work. In August 2007, Telarc released the recording and it soared to the number one spot on the Billboard Classical Chart during its first week of sales. The disc appeared on “Best of 2007” lists including those of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, iTunes’ “Editor’s Choice Best Classical,” Amazon.com’s Best CDs of 2007 and Barnes & Noble’s Top Five Debut CDs of 2007.  In September 2008, the recording received the prestigious Diapason d’Or Award in France.

In November 2007, Dinnerstein made her recital debut at the Berlin Philharmonic, a concert, which was recorded live and released by Telarc in August 2008. This disc also ranked No. 1 on the Billboard Chart during its first week of sales.

Recent and upcoming performances include Dinnerstein’s recital debuts at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival, the Aspen and Ravinia festivals, in Cologne, Paris, London, Copenhagen, Vilnius, Bremen, Rome and Lisbon, and at the Stuttgart Bach Festival; as well as debut performances with the Dresden Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Kristjan Järvi’s Absolute Ensemble, the Tokyo Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Atlanta Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra.

Last year, she performed on the People’s Symphony series at Town Hall and on Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series in New York. This year she performed her third sold-out recital at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In July 2009, she made her debut with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, playing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

Dinnerstein has been featured on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” Public Radio International’s Studio 360, Performance Today, Minnesota Public Radio, XM Radio’s Classical Confidential and on national television in Germany.

She received the Classical Recording Foundation Award for 2006 and 2007 for her recording of Beethoven’s complete works for piano and cello with Zuill Bailey.  As a winner of the Astral Artistic Services National Auditions, Dinnerstein appeared as both concerto soloist and in recital at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.  

Since 1996 Dinnerstein has played concerts throughout the United States for the Piatigorsky Foundation, an organization dedicated to bringing classical music to non-traditional venues.  Among the places she has played are nursing homes, schools and community centers, as well as the first classical music performance in the Louisiana state prison system at the Avoyelles Correctional Center.

Closer to home, she has founded P.S. 321 Neighborhood Concerts, an evening concert series at the Brooklyn public elementary school that her son attends and where her husband teaches fifth grade. The concerts, which feature musicians who Dinnerstein has admired and collaborated with during her career, are open to the public, and raise funds for the school’s Parent Teacher Association.

The performing musicians donate their time and talent to the program.

Sunday’s concert will open with the Piano Variations of Aaron Copland, and continue with Anton Webern’s Variations for Piano, op. 27, followed by Four Impromptus, op. 90, by Franz Schubert.  Following intermission, Dinnerstein will perform Twelve Variations on a Chorale by J.S. Bach, and the concert will conclude with Bach’s French Suite No. 5 in G-major, BWV 816.

The Los Alamos Concert Association has dedicated the concert to Rosalie Heller, artistic director emeritus, in recognition of her many years of service to the concert association, the last 16 of them as artistic director.

Del Norte Credit Union has generously provided sponsorship for the concert.

Individual concert tickets are $35 for adults and $30 for seniors, with a second ticket costing $25.  

Youth ages 5-18 may attend at no charge, but must have a ticket.  

Children must be at least 5 years old to attend concerts and those younger than age 12 must be accompanied by an adult.  

Tickets may be obtained at CB Fox, Otowi Station Bookstore, Smith’s in White Rock and Nicholas Potter Bookseller in Santa Fe.  For additional information, telephone the Los Alamos Concert Association at 662-9000 or visit the LACA Web site at www.losalamosconcert.org/.