NM native is featured artist

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Concert > Jeremy Denk will perform Saturday

By Special to the Monitor


New Mexico native Jeremy Denk will be the featured artist as the Los Alamos Concert Association continues its 2012-2013 season with a performance at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Duane Smith Auditorium.  

Denk has appeared as soloist with many major orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and London. 

He regularly gives recitals in New York, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia and around the United States. Denk is known for his music writing, which has appeared in the New Yorker, the front page of the New York Times Book Review, Newsweek and on the NPR Music website. 

The New York Times writes, “Mr. Denk, clearly, is a pianist you want to hear no matter what he performs, in whatever combination — both for his penetrating intellectual engagement with the music and for the generosity of his playing.”

In 2012, Denk made his debut as a Nonesuch recording artist with a pairing of masterpieces old and new: Ligeti’s highly complex Études and Beethoven’s final Piano Sonata. This album was featured on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, while BBC Music’s review concluded: “All in all, it’s a marvel.” 

The pianist also plans to record Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” over the winter, for release on the label. Besides his enduring devotion to the Baroque master’s work, Denk has a long-standing attachment to the music of American visionary Charles Ives, and his recording of Ives’s two Piano Sonatas was selected for many “best of the year” lists. 

Last season, he was invited by Michael Tilson Thomas to appear as a soloist in the San Francisco Symphony’s “American Mavericks” festival and he recorded Henry Cowell’s Piano Concerto with the orchestra. Denk has cultivated relationships with many living composers and has several commissioning projects currently in progress.

The Los Alamos concert will feature two works, “Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6“ by Schumann and Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” reprising a concert Denk gave in Philadelphia last December. Writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, music critic Peter Dobrin said, “Denk is particularly well suited to both works. His Bach is expressive, but not fussy or overthought. Technically unbothered by the work’s more explosive spots and remarkably fluid in its scurrying passage work, he was able to make connections between and among bits of material that sometimes occur many seconds apart … The Bach was mesmerizing, but the qualities Denk brought to Schumann were rarer. He changed tone with the mood — jumpy, lighthearted, glossy-smooth. In one movement, he wondrously evoked a harp; in another he highlighted the idea that the more you hear Schumann and Schubert, the more you understand Liszt’s origins. The conversational ‘Mit Gutem Humor,’ in which male and female voices seem to argue, was admirable for its fully developed character sketches. But I doubt there’s a pianist alive who, in the last dance, ‘Nicht Schnell,’ could more convincingly make the case that sweetness and profundity are so closely related.”

Tickets are $30 and available at CB Fox, Smiths in White Rock and Los Alamos and in Santa Fe at Nicholas Potter and the Lensic Box Office. They can also be purchased at the door for $35. Youth, ages 6-18 are admitted free.

For more information, visit losalamosconcert.org or jeremydenk.net.