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 Schubert to Ligeti and the music of today—reflect a degree of virtuosity and intellectual curiosity that has made him a favorite among audiences and critics, who note his “keen musical mind and deep musical soul” (NPR’s All Things Considered).
Committed to innovative programming, his latest project is a collaborative program of new arrangements composed with fellow performers, clarinetist Martin Fröst and violist Antoine Tamestit. Based around Mozart’s Clarinet Trio in E flat 'Kegelstatt,' specifically written for clarinet, viola, and piano, the program rearranges other trios for this rarely heard configuration, including Fauré’s Piano Trio in D minor Op. 120 and Brahms’s Clarinet Trio in A minor Op. 114, both arranged by Wosner, and Brahms’s Two Songs with Viola, Op. 91 co-arranged by all three artists. This season, the trio performs these arrangements at Wigmore Hall in London, Theatre Essen, Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, and Wiener Konzerthaus.
Wosner continues his multi-season Artist Residency with the Peoples’ Symphony Concerts (PSC) in New York performing chamber music, and performs his PSC-commissioned recital program Variations on a Theme of FDR—a suite of five variations by composers Derek Bermel, Anthony Cheung, John Harbison, Vijay Iyer, and Wang Lu—presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. As inspiration for their music, the composers were given a ‘theme’: a quote from a 1938 speech by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt: “Remember, remember always, that all of us… are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” Wosner’s idea of collecting variations on a shared theme from a variety of composers was inspired by the similar initiative undertaken two centuries ago by music publisher Anton Diabelli—an effort that led to the composition of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, with which Variations on a Theme of FDR is paired in recital.
In February 2023, Wosner curates and performs in the second annual Kurtág Festival at Bard Conservatory, exploring the music of Hungarian composer György Kurtág (b. 1926) while also using the composer’s works as a point of departure into musical ideas regardless of century. Highlights of the three-day festival feature Pierre-Laurent Aimard playing solo works by Schubert and Kurtág including U.S. premieres and The Sayings of Péter Bornemisza - Concerto for Soprano and Piano, Op.7; Kurtág’s Játékok (Games) as well as the Bartók pieces that inspired them paired with Bizet’s Jeux d'enfants and music by Chick Corea; Kurtág’s quartet Officium breve in memoriam Andreae Szervánszky with Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 15, interposed with movements from Cristobald O’Marales’ 16th century Officium Defunctorum; and Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -Leben paired with Kurtág’s Messages of the Late Miss R.V. Troussova.
Additional highlights of Wosner’s 2022-23 season include Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Columbus Symphony; Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Israel Chamber Orchestra; Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations presented by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival; three appearances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, including trios by CPE Bach, Debussy, Britten, and Fauré, Brandenburg Concertos; a People’s Symphony Concert; a Focus Residency with Music at Menlo; and a tribute concert honoring Joseph Kalichstein. He also performs as part of the Zukerman trio, with violinist Pinchas Zukerman and cellist Amanda Forsyth.
In November, Wosner’s arrangement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral” for violin, cello and piano, performed by Leonidas Kavakos, Yo-Yo Ma, and Emmanuel Ax, will be released on a new recording from Sony. Wosner discussed choosing the Sixth Symphony in an interview for WQXR, “the Sixth was the first one that came to mind; there’s something introspective about it that I thought would lend itself to chamber music.” The arrangement was premiered by the trio at the Kennedy Center, and received its New York debut at Carnegie Hall in March 2022, and will be released on a recording from Sony in November 2022.
Other recent albums from Wosner include a selection of Schubert piano sonatas continuing his career-long, critically acclaimed engagement with the composer’s music. This double album, released by Onyx in March 2020, completes Wosner’s recorded series of the composer’s last six sonatas, which he has also performed as a recital series in New York at the 92nd Street Y; in Washington, DC at The Phillips Collection; at Duke University in Durham, NC; and at the Konzerthaus Berlin. Additional recordings include Impromptu, comprising improvisationally inspired works by composers from Beethoven and Schubert to Gershwin and Ives; concertos and capriccios by Haydn and Ligeti with the Danish National Symphony conducted by Nicholas Collon; an all-Schubert solo album featuring a selection of the composer’s folk-inspired piano works; solo works by Brahms and Schoenberg; and works by Schubert paired with new works by Missy Mazzoli. As a chamber musician, Wosner has recorded Beethoven’s complete sonatas and variations for cello and piano with Ralph Kirshbaum and—for Cedille Records—works by Bartók, Janáček, and Kurtág with violinist Jennifer Koh.
Wosner is a recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, 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 performed with the Seattle Symphony and Deutsche Radio Philharmonie in its world and European premieres. He was in residence with the BBC as a New Generation Artist, during which he appeared frequently with the BBC orchestras, including conducting Mozart concertos from the keyboard with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He returned to the BBC Scottish Symphony in both subscription concerts and Proms performances with Donald Runnicles and appeared with the BBC Philharmonic in a live broadcast from Manchester's Bridgewater Hall. As a concerto soloist in North America, Wosner has appeared with the major orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Berkeley, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Ottawa, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Toronto, among others. In addition to the BBC orchestras, he has performed abroad with the Aurora Orchestra, Barcelona Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, LSO St. Luke’s, Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Orchestre National de Belgique, Staatskapelle Berlin, and the Vienna Philharmonic, among others. Wosner has also appeared with the Orpheus, St. Paul, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestras, having conducted the latter from the keyboard in a 2010 concert that was broadcast on American Public Radio. Recently, he toured with ECCO to Memphis, Philadelphia, and New York for the world-premiere performances of Christopher Cerrone’s piano concerto The Air Suspended.
Wosner has worked with such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Jiří Bělohlávek, 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, Chautauqua Music Festival, Bravo! Vail festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, and Ravinia Festival. For several consecutive summers, he was involved in the West-Eastern Divan Workshop led by Barenboim and toured as soloist with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
Widely sought after by colleagues for his versatility and spirit of partnership, Wosner has collaborated as a chamber musician with numerous artists, including Martha Argerich, Martin Fröst, Lynn Harrell, Dietrich Henschel, Ralph Kirshbaum, Jennifer Koh, Cho-Liang Lin, Christian Tetzlaff, Orion Weiss, and Pinchas Zukerman. He has also collaborated with leading chamber ensembles, including the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet in The Schubert Effect recital series. Wosner is a past member of Lincoln Center's Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two) and performs regularly at various chamber music festivals, including Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Piano Aux Jacobins festival in France, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
Born in Israel, Wosner enjoyed a broad musical education from a very early age, studying piano with Opher Brayer and Emanuel Krasovsky, as well as composition, theory, and improvisation with André Hajdu. He later studied with Emanuel Ax at The Juilliard School, where Wosner is also now on the piano faculty. He resides in New York with his wife and two children.
For more information on Wosner go to shaiwosner.com.