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Guest DJ: Simone Dinnerstein

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Guest DJ: Simone Dinnerstein

Music Articles

Guest DJ: Simone Dinnerstein

Guest DJ: Simone Dinnerstein

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Pianist Simone Dinnerstein has a passion for rhythmically free musical lines.

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein has a passion for rhythmically free musical lines. Lisa Marie Mazzucco/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Lisa Marie Mazzucco/Courtesy of the artist

Simone Dinnerstein is an introvert, an extrovert and a risk taker all rolled up into one pretty amazing pianist.

"My husband thinks I'm a gambler," she admits to me in the studio, as we get ready to spin some of her favorite records. "If there's an option that's a little crazy but could work incredibly well, I will take that option."

Dinnerstein's biggest gamble came a few years back when she decided to self-finance and produce her own recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Few, even in the classical world, knew her name at the time, but the Goldbergs changed all that. The recording became a popular and critical success and suddenly a major career was launched at the remarkably advanced age of 35.

"It was very unexpected and I still haven't quite gotten over it and still don't understand exactly what has happened," Dinnerstein says, in a soft, thoughtful voice.

Since then she's a pianist in demand. She signed a handsome record deal with Sony Classical and her concerts are routinely praised in terms of intellect and technique. Here's Washington Post critic Robert Battey, reviewing her Washington recital last week: "Her sound, while varied and colorful, has a trancelike quality. The imagination, particularly in slow music, is extraordinary. The Lisztian anguish in the Sarabande of Bach's English Suite No. 3 seemed to invoke all human experience."

Dinnerstein admits to playing Bach close to her own personality: "inward-looking, meditative and rhythmically free." She says the way people play music is a lot like they are themselves as people.

"I tend to be introspective," she says. "I tend to like music that is sensitive, slow and I like stuff that's kind of dreamy."

Dinnerstein's also drawn to musicians who pursue her own aesthetic, especially those rhythmically free ones who are not afraid to tug on the musical line — expanding or contracting it — as a means of expression. You'll hear this in the broad range of recordings she chooses in this guest DJ session, from conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler to mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson to singer-songwriter Tift Merritt.

Feel free to leave your thoughts about Dinnerstein and her favorite music in the comments section.

Guest DJ: Simone Dinnerstein

Cover for Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Dido and Aeneas, opera, Z. 626 [Dido's Lament: When I am laid in earth]

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'Dido's Lament' (Kirsten Flagstad, soprano)

  • from Purcell: Dido and Aeneas
  • by Geraint Jones

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Dido and Aeneas
Album
Dido and Aeneas
Artist
Kirsten Flagstad
Released
1987

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Cover for Bach: Cantatas BWV 82 and 199

Cantata No. 82, "Ich habe genug," BWV 82 (BC A169) [Aria. Ich habe genug]

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'Ich Habe Genug'

  • from Bach: Cantatas BWV 82 and 199
  • by Lorraine Hunt Lieberson

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Bach: Cantatas BWV 82 and 199
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Bach: Cantatas BWV 82 and 199
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Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
Label
Nonesuch

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Cover for The Schubert Album

Nacht und Träume (Heil'ge Nacht, du sinkest nieder!"), song for voice & piano, D. 827 (Op. 43/2)

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'Nacht und Traume'

  • from The Schubert Album
  • by Renée Fleming

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The Schubert Album
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The Schubert Album
Artist
Renée Fleming
Label
London
Released
1997

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Cover art for Yehudi Menuhin plays Beethoven.
EMI Classics

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 [Allegro ma non troppo]

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Beethoven: Violin Concerto - 'Allegro,' (excerpt)

  • from Beethoven/Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos
  • by Sir Yehudi Menuhin

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Beethoven/Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos
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Beethoven/Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos
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Sir Yehudi Menuhin
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Nonesuch records

Calliope Dances: A Renaissance Revel

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Bransle Simple (16th C. French dance)

  • from Calliope Dances: A Renaissance Revel
  • by Calliope

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Bransle Simple
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Bransle Simple
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Calliope
Released
2011

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Cover art for Judy Collins' album In My Life.
Elektra Records

Suzanne

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'Suzanne'

  • from In My Life
  • by Judy Collins

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In My Life
Album
In My Life
Artist
Judy Collins
Label
Asylum
Released
1966

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Fantasy Records

Feel of the World

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'Feel of the World'

  • from See You On The Moon
  • by Tift Merritt

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See You On The Moon
Album
See You On The Moon
Artist
Tift Merritt
Label
Fantasy
Released
2010

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Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

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Purcell: Dido and Aeneas
Artist
Geraint Jones
Label
EMI Classics
Released
2008

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Bach: Cantatas BWV 82 and 199

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Bach: Cantatas BWV 82 and 199
Artist
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
Label
Nonesuch

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The Schubert Album

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The Schubert Album
Artist
Renée Fleming
Label
London
Released
1997

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Beethoven/Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos

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Beethoven/Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos
Artist
Sir Yehudi Menuhin
Label
EMI

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In My Life

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In My Life
Artist
Judy Collins
Label
Asylum
Released
1966

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See You On The Moon

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See You On The Moon
Artist
Tift Merritt
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Fantasy
Released
2010

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