Pianist Simone Dinnerstein is, if you will, the anti-Lang-Lang. When at age five, he was giving his first public recitals, she would not approach the piano for another couple years. When he fast became a global celebrity, she toiled in relative obscurity for a while, paying her dues in smaller concert halls. Yet, both of them will play around civic center within this week: Lang-Lang just performed his concerto for iPad this past Monday at Davies Symphony hall, and Simone will return for a piano recital at Herbst Theater on Saturday at 8pm. She also rejoined Lang-Lang at the Sony label (her first release with Sony is an all-Bach recording due this fall), even though we can't confirm she received the same $3 million he did.
What happened? She just recorded in her thirties a self-produced interpretation of Bach's Goldberg Variations (it's not her playing, but that's the music you've heard when Hannibal Lecter brutally murders two police officers), which got so celebrated it ended up distributed by the Telarc label and recommended by, among others, New-Yorker music critic and McArthur genius Alex Ross. That propelled her in the stratosphere. In a freaky confluence, Alex Ross will be reading from his book The Rest Is Noise tomorrow on the same stage, but at 10am, with pianist Ethan Iverson from the jazz trio the Bad Plus providing the musical illustration.
Simone kindly took our phone call to describe her meteoric rise to the forefront of the classical scene, her recital program and the delivery of her son.