Washington University announces Great Artist Series

Jonathan Biss, Yefim Bronfman and Nathan Gunn to present recitals in the Delmar Loop in 2017

Jonathan Biss. (Photo: Benjamin Ealovega)
Pianist Jonathan Biss will launch the new Washington University Great Artist Series Feb. 9, 2017.  (Photo: Benjamin Ealovega)


Yefim Bronfman is “a fearless pianist for whom no score is too demanding” (Wall Street Journal). Nathan Gunn is a baritone “with unmistakable star power” (Opera News). Pianist Jonathan Biss “radiates a confidence solidly based on prodigious technique” (Washington Post).

Next year, Washington University in St. Louis will welcome three of the brightest stars in the classical firmament to the 560 Music Center as part of its new Great Artist Series.

Presented by the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences, the Great Artist Series aims to fill a gap in St. Louis’ otherwise exceptional classical programming.

“No other venue or group regularly hosts high profile solo recitals,” said Todd Decker, chair of music. “An entire repertory of classical music is simply missing from the live music scene. We want our students, especially those studying piano, to have access to recitals at the same high level they do for symphonic, chamber and choral music.

“The Great Artist Series will offer something unique to the university and to the larger community,” Decker added. “Our goal is for live classical music to be an integral — indeed essential — part of student life, as well as a lifelong habit that continues beyond the college years.”


Pianist Yefim Bronfman performs April 23, 2017. (Photo: Dario Acosta)
Pianist Yefim Bronfman performs April 23, 2017. (Photo: Dario Acosta)

The Washington University Great Artist Series will begin Feb. 9, 2017, with Jonathan Biss performing music of Robert Schumann, György Kurtág, Frédéric Chopin and Johannes Brahms.

The series will continue April 23 with Yefim Bronfman performing music of Béla Bartók, Schumann, Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky.

Nathan Gunn will conclude the series May 5 with music of Schumann, Samuel Barber, Franz Schubert, Hugo Wolf and Charles Ives.

Jonathan Biss

Known for virtuosic energy and control, Biss has drawn worldwide praise for the “balance between clarity and wildness” (Kansas City Star) that he brings to both classic and contemporary works. His numerous albums include several recordings of Schumann as well as two short Kurtág pieces, included on “Piano Sonatas” (2009), which NPR Music named one of its best albums of the year.

A prolific writer, Biss is author of the best-selling ebook “Beethoven’s Shadow” (2011) and “A Pianist Under the Influence” (2012), a tribute to Schumann. His online course “Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas” has reached more than 100,000 people in more than 160 countries.

Yefim Bronfman

One of today’s most “incisive and exhilarating” (Chicago Tribune) pianists, Bronfman is renowned for his commanding technique and exceptional lyrical gifts. He has appeared with leading orchestras and given solo recitals in major halls around the world, including his acclaimed debuts at Carnegie Hall in 1989 and Avery Fisher Hall in 1993.

Widely praised for his solo, chamber and orchestral recordings, Bronfman is a three-time Grammy nominee and winner, in 1997, for his recording of the three Bartók Piano Concerti, with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Other honors include the 1991 Avery Fisher Prize, one of the highest honors given to an American instrumentalist.

Nathan Gunn

Baritone Nathan Gunn performs May 5, 2017. (Photo: M. Sharkey)
Baritone Nathan Gunn performs May 5, 2017. (Photo: M. Sharkey)

Following his breakout performance in Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ 2002 production of Ambroise Thomas’ “Hamlet,” Gunn has emerged as a much sought-after baritone, praised by Opera News for his impressive arsenal of “robust legato climaxes, snarly macho lower notes and beautiful, floating upper tones.”

A frequent recitalist and distinguished concert performer, Gunn has appeared at major opera houses around the world. His recordings include the title role in the Grammy-winning “Billy Budd” (2008) with Daniel Harding and the London Symphony Orchestra; the first complete recording of Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Allegro” (2009); and the Grammy-nominated “Peter Grimes” (2004) with Sir Colin Davis and London Symphony Orchestra.


Subscriptions to all three recitals are $90 and include premier reserved seating, post-concert receptions with the artists (when available), and all ticketing fees. Subscriptions go on sale at 11a.m. Sunday, June 5.

Single tickets are $35, or $32 for seniors and Washington University faculty and staff, and $15 for students and children. Single tickets go on sale Sept. 1.

All three performances take place in the E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall of the 560 Music Center, located at 560 Trinity Ave., at the intersection with Delmar Boulevard. Tickets are available through the Edison Theater Box Office, 314-935-6543, or at edison.wustl.edu.

For more information, call 314-935-5566 or email daniels@wustl.edu.

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