An exceptional soloist has many options for live performances. Classical pianist, Simone Dinnerstein enjoys them all, whether it be working with a full orchestra, playing with a chamber ensemble, or even playing duets. In truth, the classical repertoire bursts at the seams with myriad piano compositions of every musical style and era.
Yet, it is the live solo recital that captivates Dinnerstein most, as she reveals Sunday evening at Strathmore where she plays Bach's "Goldberg Variations" in a performance presented by the Washington Performing Arts Society.
"The 'Goldberg Variations' is unique in that it is perhaps one of the longest continuous pieces of music written for keyboard," she noted. "[There] are lots of patterns in the music, lots of ways of thinking about the architecture of the piece."
|Washington Performing Arts Society presents Pianist Simone Dinnerstein|
|» Where: The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda|
|» When: 7 p.m. Sunday|
|» Info: $28 to $85; 202-785-9727; wpas.org|
While many pianists would find it daunting to present Bach's 30 individual variations in one sitting, Dinnerstein welcomes the challenge of a 90-minute run with only one short orange juice break midway for the energy she needs to keep going. In many ways solo recital nurtures her need to develop ideas about the music and to interpret it in her individual way.
"I try to understand ... the important aspects of the composition, and that informs how I interpret the music. I think more about what I see in the music itself," she told a critic in 2010.
'Goldbergs Variations,' in fact, was Dinnerstein's first, self-financed and much praised recording. The CD reached No. 1 on the Billboard classical charts the first week after its release. Her second CD, recorded live at the Berlin Philharmonic, was praised by Gramophone as showing "ample evidence of gifts above and beyond the ordinary." Her third release of the complete Cello Sonatas of Beethoven was recorded with acclaimed cellist Zuill Bailey.
Dinnerstein has performed in the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival, as well as making appearances regionally with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony. In her Kennedy Center debut on WPAS's Hayes Piano Series in 2009, she played to a sold-out house.
Even as she prepares for her next concerto, it is in solo work where Dinnerstein finds her greatest satisfaction.
"Every time you do a recital, it can really reflect all the thought you put into it," she said.