Thursday, March 20, 2014

Denk ascends

Jeremy Denk, the cerebrally quirky pianist who is almost as well-known for his “Think Denk” blog ( and other writings as for his music-making, is on a recognition roll.

He has just received the Avery Fisher Prize (several years after scoring a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, aka “genius grant”). His recording of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” seems destined to be the year’s biggest classical hit. He is the newly named “artistic partner” of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. And, as the new artistic director of the prestigious Ojai (CA) Music Festival, he will introduce with co-creator Steven Stucky “The Classical Style,” a comic opera (very) loosely based on Charles Rosen’s classic music-theory text.

Denk, who has performed in Richmond five times in the past decade (twice with the Richmond Symphony, once with the Shanghai Quartet and twice in solo recitals), followed up a 2007 appearance with “Liason,” a blog post – – celebrating his artist-liason person/driver-confessor, the now-legendary Prabir, and the city’s bar scene, anticipating by five or six years Richmond’s ascent on assorted hipster indices.

The New York Times’ Michael Cooper chronicles Denk’s recent coups: