The American pianist, Jeremy Denk, received a double degree in Chemistry and Piano Performance from the Oberlin College and Conservatory, often infuriating his teacher Joseph Schwartz. He earned a master's degree in music from Indiana University as a pupil of György Sebök, and a doctorate in piano performance from the Juilliard School, where he worked with Herbert Stessin. In 1998 Denk won both the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and received a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.
Jeremy Denk made his New York recital debut at Alice Tully Hall in April 1997 as the winner of the Juilliard Piano Debut Award. Writing of the performance, The New York Times described him as "a pianist with a searching mind." Recent solo appearances include all-Beethoven and all-Bach recitals in Philadelphia, two programs at the Mostly Mozart Festival at New York's Lincoln Center, as well as recitals in Boston and Washington DC.
Over the past decade the Jeremy Denk's career has flourished. He has steadily built a reputation as one of today’s most compelling and persuasive artists with an unusually broad repertoire. The New York Times described his playing as "bracing, effortlessly virtuosic and utterly joyous," and he has garnered comparable critical acclaim for his engagements with leading orchestras and presenters nationwide. Denk has appeared as soloist with many major orchestras, including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Philadelphia Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, London Philharmonia Orchestra and many others. Last season (2009-2010) he played concertos by L.v. Beethoven, Copland, Mozart, Schumann, and Igor Stravinsky, whose Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments he performed under the direction of John Adams, first with the London Symphony Orchestra in London and Paris, and then as part of Carnegie Hall’s City Noir. He appears often in recital in New York, Washington, Boston, and Philadelphia.
The versatile American pianist's repertoire ranges from the standard works of the 18th and 19th centuries to 20th-century masters such as Charles Ives, Ligeti, Lutoslawski and Messiaen, and further to new works by leading composers of today. Jeremy Denk has participated in many world premieres, including Leon Kirchner's Duo No. 2 (with violinist Ida Levin) at the Marlboro Music School and Festival in the summer of 2002; Ned Rorem's The Unquestioned Answer in the summer of 2003; Jake Heggie's Cut Time in 2001 with the Eos Orchestra; Alternating Current, a work written for him by Kevin Puts, on a Kennedy Center recital program; Libby Larsen’s Collage: Boogie; Mark O'Connor's Fiddle Sonata (with the composer on fiddle) at the Library of Congress; and also Edgar Meyer's Sonata for Violin and Piano with Joshua Bell.
An avid chamber musician, Jeremy Denk has collaborated with with many of the world’s finest string quartets, including the Borromeo, Brentano, Mirò, St. Lawrence, Shanghai and Vermeer string quartets. Denk first performed with violinist Joshua Bell at the 2004 Spoleto Festival. Since then, they have toured throughout the USA in and Europe with almost eighty performances to date. The Philadelphia reviewer noted their "equal partnership, with no upstaging." He has appeared with the Detroit Chamber Music Society, at the Seattle and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festivals, the Spoleto Festivals in Italy and Charleston, the Verbier and Mostly Mozart Festivals, and the Bravo!-Vail Valley and Bard Music Festivals. The pianist spent several summers at Marlboro in Vermont and has been part of "Musicians from Marlboro" national tours. He also attended the Ravinia Festival's prestigious Steans Institute. He regularly collaborates with cellist Steven Isserlis at New York’s 92nd Street Y, and gives numerous lectures and master-classes.
Jeremy Denk has an extensive discography which includes the Tobias Picker Second Piano Concerto with the Moscow Philarmonic (recorded in 2002); works of Schubert, Béla Bartók, and Strauss with violinist Soovin Kim; the Kirchner Duo with violinist Ida Levin (commemorating Marlboro's 50th anniversary); and many others. Additionally, Joshua Bell and he recorded the Corigliano Violin Sonata in June 2007.
During the 2010-2011 season Jeremy Denk releases his first solo recording, “Jeremy Denk Plays Ives”, on which he plays Charles Ives’s Piano Sonatas 1 & 2 (“Concord”), He looks forward to the release of his first solo disc featuring Bach Partitas. He also returns to Carnegie Hall for his second solo recital, in works by Ligeti and J.S. Bach, and a concerto appearance, featuring Franz Liszt’s First Piano Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Charles Dutoit, after performances together in Philadelphia. Further concerto engagements include a USA tour with the Moscow State Symphony under Pavel Kogan, and Mozart’s “Elvira Madigan” concerto with Peter Oundjian and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Jeremy Denk’s widely-read blog, “Think Denk”, is highly praised and frequently referenced by many in the music press and industry. It is a mixture of musical and extramusical observations, often pertaining to nothing in particular. There Denk writes about some of his touring, practicing, and otherwise unrelated experiences, as well as delving into fairly detailed musical analyses and essays. Alex Ross, the music critic of the New Yorker, described the pianist as “a superb musician who writes with arresting sensitivity and wit. … This is a voice that, effectively, could never have been heard before the advent of the Internet: sophisticated on the one hand, informal on the other, immediate in impact. Blogs such as this put a human face on an alien culture.”
Jeremy Denk is a member of the faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music. He makes his home in New York City.