Paul Barnes, pianist
The eclectic interests of pianist Paul Barnes have taken him from monasteries in the Judean desert to the Liszt Academy in Budapest. Exploring both minimalism and religious symbolism in music, Barnes has been featured three times on NPR's Performance Today and has recently performed in Jerusalem, Moscow, Greece, Seoul, Vienna, Budapest and in major cities throughout the US.
Deeply inspired by the aesthetic challenge of minimalism, Barnes has given several world premier performances of works by Philip Glass and has published a collection of his own transcriptions from Glass's operas with Chester Music of London. Barnes will give the world premier performance of Glass's Second Piano Concerto based on the Lewis and Clark expedition on September 18, 2004 with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra under the director of Victor Yampolsky. Glass's record label Orange Mountain Music has just released Barnes' recording of his complete set of transcriptions from Glass's operas featuring both the Trilogy Sonata and the Orphee Suite for Piano.
A champion of many of today's important composers, his electrifying performances of David Ott's Second Piano Concerto have brought audiences to their feet both in the U.S. and in Europe. After a recent performance the Czech paper Lidove noviny proclaimed "American pianist breaks distrust of modern music!"
Highlights of the 2002-2003 season include the world premier performance of Ancient Keys, a piano concerto by Victoria Bond based on a Greek Orthodox communion hymn. Barnes will perform with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Kirk Trevor on Nov 4. Later that month, Barnes will also perform Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue at an all-American music concert sponsored by the American Embassy in Bratislava with the Slovak Radio Orchestra.
Barnes recently gave the world premier performance of Concerto for Amplified Piano and Wind Ensemble by Jeffrey Hass at Indiana University with conductor Ray Kramer on Feb 6, 2001. Barnes has also recorded a CD series entitled American Piano Concertos on Koch International. The first volume includes the concertos of Joan Tower, David Ott, and Victoria Bond.
With performances throughout Europe, the Near East, the Far East, and the U.S., Barnes' unique lecture/recitals have received international acclaim. Liszt and the Cross: Music as Sacrament in the B Minor Sonata explores the fascinating relationship between music, theology, and the Orthodox icon and has been recently featured at the MTNA National Convention and the American Liszt Society Festival. Recently elected to the national board of the ALS, Barnes performed this year in Washington DC at the 2002 ALS Festival. Barnes' latest lecture/recital entitled Minimalism, Mysticism and Monasticism: Music as Contemplation delves into the contemplative aspects of music featuring ancient Byzantine chant and the piano works of Arvo Part and Philip Glass. Reflecting his passionate interest in ancient chant and liturgy, Barnes also serves as head chanter at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Lincoln, Nebraska. Barnes is co-chair of piano at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music. He teaches at the Bösendorfer International Piano Academy in Vienna and teaches the students of Menahem Pressler, Barnes' own teacher, at Indiana University. His students have distinguished themselves in many ways including placing in national and international competitions and performing for NPR's From the Top.