This season, Jonathan Biss engages with Beethoven as a concert pianist, a teacher, and a recording artist. His exceptional online Coursera course, Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, will relaunch in January 2015 on Coursera in a new format, allowing students to watch all the video lessons at once or progress at their own pace. Online discussions, quizzes, and other parts of the massive open online course experience will also be improved and relaunched. And for the 55,000 students who already learned from the first installment of Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, the second part of the course, on additional sonatas, will launch in Spring 2015. Filmed at the Curtis Institute of Music, where Biss is a member of the piano faculty, the online lectures will eventually include all of the sonatas and are designed to help both musical novices and experts understand Beethoven’s piano music.
Biss has also undertaken a nine-year, nine-disc recording project of the entire Beethoven sonata cycle. The relaunch of the Coursera lessons in January 2015 will be accompanied by the fourth volume of sonatas, including Op. 2, no. 1, the first Beethoven sonata; Op. 10, no. 2; Op. 49, no. 1; and Op. 57, the “Appassionata.” Four sonatas, including the first sonata and the “Appassionata,” will feature on his recital programs across the United States and Europe. As part of his exploration of Beethoven, he also published Beethoven’s Shadow on Amazon Kindle, which was the first-ever Single written by a classical musician and spent many weeks on the Kindle Singles bestseller lists.
Biss’s Beethovenian journey this season also includes performances of Piano Concerto No. 3 with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra on tour in Indiana, Biss’s home state, on October 18 and 19 and at Carnegie Hall on October 23, 2014. Biss first appeared with Orpheus nearly a decade ago and has toured internationally and recorded with them ever since. In addition to the concerto, Orpheus will perform Rossini’s La cambiale di matrimonio Overture, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Prologue and Variations (celebrating the composer’s 75th birthday season), and Poulenc’s Sinfonietta.