Born in Romania, brought up in Israel, and now in the US, Miriam Fried came to early prominence when she won the 1968 Paganini Competition. She followed this success in the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in 1971. A violinist in the great tradition—her teachers included Josef Gingold and Ivan Galamian—Fried has been praised in Musical America for her “fiery intensity and emotional depth.” Her recital partner is Jonathan Biss, who studied with Leon Fleisher at the Curtis Institute and is also Fried’s son. Their recital is comprised of three great sonatas: Brahms’s serene Violin Sonata in A Major, Bartók’s dazzling Sonata No. 2, and Beethoven’s C minor Sonata Op. 30, No. 2.
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in A Major (“Thun”), Op. 100
Andante tranquillo - Vivace
Allegretto grazioso (quasi Andante)
BÉLA BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in C Major, Sz. 76, BB. 85
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30, No. 2
Allegro con brio
Miriam Fried has been recognized for many years as one of the world's preeminent violinists. A consummate musician - equally accomplished as recitalist, concerto soloist, or chamber musician - she has been heralded for her "fiery intensity and emotional depth" (Musical America) as well as for her technical mastery. Her supreme blend of artistry and musicianship continues to inspire audiences worldwide.
Fried has played with virtually every major orchestra in the US and Europe and has been a frequent guest with the principal orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, as well as with the Israel Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic and the Vienna Symphony. Recital tours have taken her to all of the major music centers in North America and to Brussels, London, Milan, Munich, Rome, Paris, Salzburg, Stockholm, and Zurich.
In recent seasons, Fried's schedule has included orchestral engagements with such prestigious ensembles as the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the Czech Philharmonic, and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. In 1993 she premiered a violin concerto written for her by Donald Erb with the Grand Rapids Symphony and recorded the work for Koss.
Fried's highly praised New York recitals of the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin were the culmination of three years of international performances. She returned to this music, recording the complete Sonatas and Partitas in France in the spring of 1999 on the Lyrinx label. She has also made a prize-winning recording of the Sibelius Concerto with the Helsinki Philharmonic under the direction of Okko Kamu, available on the Finlandia label, which has become a best-seller.
Chamber music plays an important role in Fried's musical life. She was the first violinist of the Mendelssohn String Quartet for ten years and collaborates regularly with her son, pianist Jonathan Biss.
Fried plays a particularly noteworthy violin, a 1718 Stradivarius that is said to have been the favorite of its 18th-century owner, the composer-conductor Louis Spohr. It was also owned by Regina Strinasacchi who, it is thought, used the instrument to play with Mozart the Sonata in B-flat, K. 454, which had been written for her.
A noted pedagogue, Fried is a professor at New England Conservatory and is invited to give master classes throughout the world.
Since 1994 she has been program Director of the Ravinia Steans Music Institute, one of the country's leading summer programs for young musicians. During this time she performed regularly at the Ravinia Festival as soloist with the Chicago Symphony, in recital and in chamber concerts.
During her sabbatical leave during the 2015/2016 school year, Fried returned again to the Bach solo Sonatas and partitas. She recorded a series of lectures addressing performance questions relating to these works. The lectures are now available on iclassical-academy.com. They will soon be followed by masterclasses focusing entirely on this repertoire. During this year she will perform all of the sonatas and partitas in several venues including the Ravinia Festival, Belgium, Toronto, Vancouver, Baltimore and in Jerusalem. The recordings from the Jerusalem concerts will be released in 2017.
Jonathan Biss is a world-renowned pianist who shares his deep musical curiosity with classical music lovers in the concert hall and beyond. Over nearly two decades on the concert stage, he has forged relationships with the New York Philharmonic; the Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Philharmonia orchestras; the Boston, Chicago, and Swedish Radio symphony orchestras; and the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Budapest Festival, and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras, among many others. In addition to performing a full schedule of concerts, the 36-year-old American has spent ten summers at the Marlboro Music Festival and has written extensively about his relationships with the composers with whom he shares a stage. A member of the faculty of his alma mater the Curtis Institute of Music since 2010, Biss led the first massive open online course (MOOC) offered by a classical music conservatory, Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas, which has reached more than 150,000 people in 185 countries.
This season Biss continues his latest Beethoven project, Beethoven/5, for which the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is co-commissioning five composers to write new piano concertos, each inspired by one of Beethoven's. The five-year plan began last season, with Biss premiering Timo Andres's “The Blind Banister,” which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music, and which Biss plays with the New York Philharmonic in the spring of 2017. This season he premieres Sally Beamish's concerto, paired with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1, with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, before performing it with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. In the next three years Biss will premiere concertos by Salvatore Sciarrino, Caroline Shaw, and Brett Dean.
In addition to his involvement at Marlboro, Biss spent the summer of 2016 as the Artist-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center, where he performed chamber music, a solo recital, and the Andres and Beethoven concerto pair with the Orchestra of St. Luke's. He also gave recitals at the Aspen and Ravinia summer music festivals as part of his ongoing concert cycles of all the Beethoven sonatas.
In 2016/2017 he began examining, both in performance and academically, the concept of a composer's “late style,” and has put together programs of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Britten, Elgar, Gesualdo, Kurtág, Mozart, Schubert, and Schumann's later works, both for solo piano and in collaboration with the Brentano Quartet and Mark Padmore, which he played at Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Performances, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, London's Barbican Centre, and Amsterdam's Concertgebouw. A previous Biss initiative, Schumann: Under the Influence, was a 30-concert exploration of the composer's role in musical history, for which he also recorded Schumann and Dvorák Piano Quintets with the Elias String Quartet and wrote an Amazon Kindle Single on Schumann, A Pianist Under the Influence. This season Biss also gives masterclasses at Carnegie Hall in connection with the idea of late style and publishes a Kindle Single on the topic in January.
Biss has embarked on a nine-year, nine-disc recording cycle of Beethoven’s complete piano sonatas, and in early 2017 he released the sixth volume, which includes the monumental Hammerklavier sonata. Upon the release of the fourth volume, BBC Music Magazine said, “Jonathan Biss will surely take his place among the greats if he continues on this exalted plane.” His bestselling eBook, Beethoven’s Shadow, published by RosettaBooks in 2011, was the first Kindle Single written by a classical musician, and he will continue to add lectures to his extraordinarily popular online course, Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, until he covers all of them.
Throughout his career, Biss has been an advocate for new music. Prior to the Beethoven/5 project, he commissioned the Lunaire Variations by David Ludwig, Interlude II by Leon Kirchner, Wonderer by Lewis Spratlan, and Three Pieces for Piano and a concerto by Bernard Rands, which he premiered with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has also premiered a piano quintet by William Bolcom.
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, Biss began his piano studies at age six, and his first musical collaborations were with his mother and father. He studied at Indiana University with Evelyne Brancart and at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Leon Fleisher. At age 20, Biss made his New York recital debut at the 92nd Street Y’s Tisch Center for the Arts and his New York Philharmonic debut under Kurt Masur.
Biss has been recognized with numerous honors, including the Leonard Bernstein Award presented at the 2005 Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Wolf Trap’s Shouse Debut Artist Award, the Andrew Wolf Memorial Chamber Music Award, 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. His recent recordings for EMI won Diapason d’Or de l’année and Edison awards. He was an artist-in-residence on American Public Media’s Performance Today and was the first American chosen to participate in the BBC’s New Generation Artist program.