Pianist Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition for his exceptional artistry, musical integrity and creative insight. His performances of a broad range of repertoire, from Beethoven and Mozart to Schoenberg and Ligeti, as well as music by his contemporaries, communicate his imaginative programming and intellectual curiosity. Mr. Wosner’s virtuosity and perceptiveness have made him a favorite among audiences and critics, who have called him a “highly intelligent player in his prime” (The Washington Post) with a “keen musical mind and deep musical soul” (NPR’s All Things Considered).
Mr. Wosner has been widely praised for his interpretations of Franz Schubert’s solo works, both in concert and on recording. His latest CD, released by Onyx in November 2014, features the Six Moments Musicaux, D. 780 and the Sonata in A Major, D. 959, paired with Brooklyn-based composer Missy Mazzoli’s Isabelle Eberhardt Dreams of Pianos, a 2007 work written for piano and electronics as a meditation on the A-major sonata. Later this season, at the 92nd Street Y in New York, Mr. Wosner curates The Schubert Effect, in which he is joined by the Parker Quartet for a two-part recital series that juxtaposes solo and chamber works by Schubert with those by living composers, namely György Kurtág and Ms. Mazzoli.
Of Mr. Wosner's previous solo Schubert recording on the Onyx label, released in October 2011, Gramophone magazine wrote, “With this recital Shai Wosner declares himself a Schubertian of unfaltering authority and character.” His debut solo recording of works by Brahms and Schoenberg, released in August 2010, was called an “inventively conceived and impressive recording” by The New York Times.
Mr. Wosner’s orchestral concerts in the 2014-15 season include his return to the Hamburg Symphony with Jeffrey Tate to perform Mozart concertos, following his debut with the orchestra last year, and to the Indianapolis Symphony with Krzysztof Urbanski to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, K. 466. He makes his debuts with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, playing Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand led by Fabien Gabel, and with the Iceland Symphony and the Symphony Orchestra of Milan Giuseppe Verdi, performing Mozart concertos.
Other solo appearances this season include recitals across the US at Atlanta’s Spivey Hall and for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, performing works by Schubert, Chopin, Hadyn, Ligeti, Beethoven and Ms. Mazzoli.
In October, he performed as a Chamber Music Society (CMS) of Lincoln Center season artist at Alice Tully Hall in New York and for CMS on Tour in Denver, Iowa City and Sonoma. Joined by fellow CMS season artists, he played in an all-Brahms program featuring solo and chamber works that were composed during the last ten years of the composer’s life.
Abroad, he performs Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano in a duo recital tour of Israel with Ralph Kirschbaum, whom he performed with at Wigmore Hall and the School of Arts Ghent in Belgium last season, and in a program of works that includes war songs by Mahler, solo piano pieces dating from World War I by Debussy and Ullmann’s Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke in a duo recital in Germany with baritone Dietrich Henschel. Also in Germany, Mr. Wosner embarks on another duo recital tour with cellist Danjulo Ishizaka.
In April 2015, Mr. Wosner and violinist Jennifer Koh, frequent recital partners, premiere their four-part Bridge to Beethoven recital series. The project, which will continue in the 2015-16 season, pairs Beethoven’s ten violin sonatas with newly-commissioned pieces by Anthony Cheung, Vijay Iyer and Andrew Norman, as well as Jörg Widmann’s 2010 work, Sommersonate, and explores the significant impact that Beethoven has had on audiences and artists from various cultural backgrounds. The first Bridge to Beethoven recital program juxtaposes Beethoven’s Sonatas No. 1 in D Major, Op. 12, No. 2 in A Major, Op. 12, and No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47, “Kreutzer,” with the world premiere of a new work in conversation with the “Kreutzer” sonata, by jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer. Mr. Wosner and Ms. Koh have been praised by The New York Times for their “impressive partnership” in performances, citing “Mr. Wosner’s singing tone and expressive musicality complementing Ms. Koh’s insightful, richly hued playing.” Their first recording together, Signs, Games + Messages, was released by Cedille Records in October 2013 and included works by Bartók, Janácek and Kurtág, including the latter’s duet piece for which the album was named. In its review of the album, Fanfare called Mr. Wosner “a powerhouse as well as a subtle presence.”
Mr. Wosner is widely sought after by colleagues for his versatility and spirit of partnership. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with numerous esteemed artists including Martin Fröst, Lynn Harrell, Dietrich Henschel, Cho-Liang Lin, Christian Tetzlaff and Pinchas Zukerman. He is a former member of Lincoln Center's Chamber Music Society Two and performs regularly at numerous chamber music festivals, including Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival, the Oregon Bach Festival and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
Recent chamber music engagements include collaborations with the Miró Quartet at Baltimore’s Shriver Hall, Northwestern University and Midwestern State University; a duo recital tour with violinist Veronika Eberle including a performance at Wigmore Hall; a duo recital with cellist Matthew Barley at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam featuring standard repertoire as well as free-form improvisation; performances of works by Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms, Janácek, Kurtág and Widmann with Ms. Koh for the Arizona Musicfest, Chamber Music Cincinnati and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society; and appearances at the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, Brooklyn Chamber Music and the Lake Champlain Music Festival.
In the 2007-09 seasons, Mr. Wosner was a BBC New Generation Artist, and performed and recorded regularly with the various BBC orchestras, including at the BBC Proms with Donald Runnicles. He conducted Mozart concertos from the keyboard with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and appeared in a live broadcast from Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall with the BBC Philharmonic. Mr. Wosner’s performances with the orchestras, as well as in recital and chamber music, continue to be broadcast on Radio 3.
Mr. Wosner made his highly acclaimed subscription debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2010 and was invited to return later that year to perform with the orchestra at the Ravinia Festival. He has appeared with numerous major orchestras in North America including the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Berkeley, Cleveland, Dallas, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco. He performed with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in a concert that was broadcast on American Public Radio. In Europe, he has appeared with the Barcelona Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, LSO St. Luke’s, Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Orchestre National de Belgique and Staatskapelle Berlin, and at Cardiff’s Hoddinott Hall, among others. In 2006, he debuted with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Salzburg, during the 250th anniversary celebrations of Mozart's birth. He has worked with such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Jirí Belohlávek, James Conlon, Alan Gilbert, Gunther Herbig, James Judd, Zubin Mehta, Peter Oundjian, Donald Runnicles, Leonard Slatkin, Jeffrey Tate and Yan Pascal Tortelier, and has performed at summer festivals including the Bowdoin International Music Festival, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, and Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. For several consecutive summers, Mr. Wosner was involved in the West-Eastern Divan Workshop led by Daniel Barenboim and toured as soloist with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
Mr. Wosner is a recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award—a prize he used to commission Michael Hersch’s concerto Along the Ravines, which he then performed with the Seattle Symphony and Deutsche Radio Philharmonie-Saarbrücken in its world and German premieres.
Born in Israel, Mr. Wosner enjoyed a broad musical education from a very early age, studying piano with Emanuel Krasovsky as well as composition, theory and improvisation with André Hajdu. He later studied at The Juilliard School with Emanuel Ax. Mr. Wosner now resides in New York City with his wife and two children.