March 18, 2020
Jonathan Biss Brings Beethoven's Piano Sonatas to Home Audiences via Free, Live-Streamed Recital, New Recording Cycle, Free Coursera Web Course, and Amazon Kindle Single
  • Release of Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas on Orchid Classics,
    March 20
  • Free recital webcast of Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas, presented by the 92nd Street Y, March 26
  • Open registration for free online course, Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, via Coursera
  • Kindle Single e-book Beethoven’s Shadow,available from Amazon

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (March 18, 2020) — As more and more of this year’s highly anticipated Beethoven celebrations are being curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic, renowned Beethoven interpreter Jonathan Biss brings the composer’s piano sonatas to listeners in their homes through a free, live-streamed recital (planned for Thursday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m. EDT), a newly released set of recordings, an Amazon Kindle Single e-book, and an expansive series of online talks—recently completed and currently available for free via Coursera. Through such projects, which are part of Mr. Biss’s decade-long immersion in the composer’s music, especially the piano sonatas, audiences around the world may continue celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday this year in a variety of ways outside of the concert hall.

As of January 2020—seven years after its launch—Mr. Biss’s Coursera course Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas offers lectures on all 32 works, and these lessons serve to complement his complete, nine-disc, nine-year recording cycle of this repertoire, to be released by Orchid Classics this Friday, March 20 (pre-orders available via Amazon). Each of the nine volumes is accompanied by liner notes from Mr. Biss, which offer commentary on the featured sonatas. In his 2011 e-book, Beethoven’s Shadow—the first Amazon Kindle Single to be written by a classical musician—Mr. Biss offers further insight into his lifelong relationship with the Beethoven sonatas and his motivations for recording them in full.

In addition to these on-demand options for engaging with Beethoven’s piano sonatas, a free, live video stream of Mr. Biss performing the last three sonatas—Op. 109 in E major, Op. 110 in A-flat major, and Op. 111 in C minor—is currently planned for the anniversary of the composer’s death next Thursday, March 26. Originally scheduled as a live, ticketed event at the 92nd Street Y’s Kaufmann Concert Hall, the recital will no longer accommodate a live audience, in accordance with public health directives. Inquiries from ticketholders should be directed to the 92nd Street Y (92Y.org). The planned live stream will be hosted here at 7:30 p.m. EDT the night of the performance.

Mr. Biss said:

“Music has played such a vital role in my life for so long, I cannot claim to be surprised at what a lifeline it—and Beethoven’s music, with its relentless idealism, in particular—has been for me these last few surreal, distressing weeks.

“What I was less prepared for was the extent to which suddenly being unable to share music with people—at least not in the traditional ways—would contribute to my sense of loneliness and isolation. That is why I’ve never been so grateful to live in the internet age—to know that even in a time of crisis, just about anyone can still access those recordings, lectures, and writings, and most of all, that next week I will have the chance to play 65 minutes of the profoundest music ever written for music lovers everywhere.”


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. 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 Dvoƙák 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.

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For press copies of the box set or for other inquiries, contact:

John Hamby | Shuman Associates
jhamby@shumanassociates.net | (212) 315-1300

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