January 20, 2021
Jonathan Biss & Stephen Fry Discuss Anxiety & the Arts—the Central Theme of Mr. Biss’s New Audible Original, "Unquiet"—in Virtual Conversation Presented by 92Y, Jan. 25 at 7pm ET
Benjamin Ealovega (Biss photo); Elliott Spencer (Fry photo)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (January 20, 2021) — In connection with his new, best-selling Audible Original, Unquiet: My Life with Beethoven, pianist and author Jonathan Biss is joined by English actor, comedian, and writer Stephen Fry for a virtual conversation about the recent memoir’s underlying theme—mental health in the context of life as an artist. This streamed event is presented by the 92nd Street Y on Monday, January 25 at 7:00 p.m. ET and will be subsequently available on demand.

Tickets priced $15, or $22 with UNQUIET included, are available from the 92nd Street Y online at 92y.org.

In Unquiet, Mr. Biss (“one of today's foremost Beethoven exponents” —Chicago Tribune) examines the interplay between his lifelong passion for the music of Beethoven and his own personal struggles with anxiety. He and Mr. Fry will engage in a dialogue about their personal experiences as entertainers and the extent to which having mental health issues might have contributed to—and been exacerbated by—their decisions to become performers.

Published by Audible, Inc., the leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling, UNQUIET marked the first release by a classical musician in Audible’s Words + Music programming, which also includes Audible Originals from James Taylor, Patti Smith, Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow, Rufus Wainwright, and more. In addition to Mr. Biss’s narration, this audio memoir includes musical interludes of selections primarily from Beethoven’s piano sonatas, recorded by Mr. Biss specifically for the project. For more information, see the original press release here or visit audible.com/unquiet.

Mr. Biss first encountered Beethoven’s music as a young boy, quickly becoming obsessed. After years of studying and performing the composer’s works for piano, he embarked in 2011 on a nine-year project to record all 32 of Beethoven’s landmark piano sonatas, while also performing and lecturing around the world. He expected this project to be “the most fulfilling experience of [his] life,” but he did not anticipate the latent anxieties that his journey would uncover.

At the time of the COVID-19 outbreak, Mr. Biss was in the midst of multiple recital series of Beethoven’s complete piano sonatas, as well as numerous performances of selections from the sonatas. These concerts included a recital for New York’s 92nd Street Y that became one of the first widely viewed online classical events of the coronavirus era—with more than 280,000 views on Facebook.


Jonathan Biss is a world-renowned pianist who channels his deep musical curiosity into performances and projects in the concert hall and beyond. In addition to performing with today’s leading orchestras, he continues to expand his reputation as a teacher, musical thinker, and one of the great Beethoven interpreters of our time. He recently joined Mitsuko Uchida as Co-Artistic Director of the Marlboro Music Festival, where he has spent thirteen summers. He has written extensively about the music he plays, and has authored three e-books.

Mr. Biss’s projects, including his decade-long Beethoven immersion, represent his complete approach to music-making and connecting his audience to his own passion for the music. Previous projects have included an exploration of composers' “Late Style” in various concert programs at Carnegie Hall, the Barbican Centre, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and San Francisco Performances. He also published the Kindle Single Coda on the topic. His previous Kindle Single, Beethoven’s Shadow, was the first by a classical musician. Schumann: Under the Influence was a 30-concert exploration of the composer's role in musical history, for which Mr. Biss also recorded Schumann and Dvořák piano quintets with the Elias String Quartet and wrote A Pianist Under the Influence.

Mr. Biss represents the third generation in a family of professional musicians that includes his grandmother Raya Garbousova, one of the first well-known female cellists (for whom Samuel Barber composed his Cello Concerto), and his parents, violinist Miriam Fried and violist/violinist Paul Biss. Growing up surrounded by music, Mr. Biss began his piano studies at age six, and his first musical collaborations were with his mother and father. He studied with Evelyne Brancart at Indiana University and with Leon Fleisher at the Curtis Institute of Music. He has since appeared with major orchestras around the world, including in the U.S. with the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics; the Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco Symphonies; and the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras. He has also been recognized with numerous honors, including Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the 2003 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, and the 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award. For more information, visit jonathanbiss.com.

Stephen Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter, film director and all-round national treasure.

Mr. Fry has written and presented several documentary series, contributed columns and articles for newspapers and magazines, appears frequently on radio, reads for voice-overs and has written four novels and three volumes of autobiography, Moab Is My WashpotThe Fry Chronicles and his latest, More Fool Me. 

For the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, during the summer of 2018, Mr. Fry gave 13 presentations of his trilogy of one-man shows (39 performances in all) based on his book Mythos. In the summer of 2019, Mr. Fry toured seven UK theatres with the shows.

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Press contact:
Constance Shuman | Shuman Associates
cshuman@shumanassociates.net | (917) 716-5403

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