The best way I could summarize is like this.
She grew up in Brooklyn, to a painter father, and a music lover mother. She heard Glenn Gould while she was a teen, and thought, well, nothing more could be done to Bach’s music. That is a dilemma for any musician.
If there’s nothing more to do? What does one do?
Abandoning the classical route with all its conventions, prejudices, and copy-paste cookbook recipes for success, she dropped out of Juilliard to go to London be with her love: music, and her boyfriend (who became her husband). She returned to the Juilliard and went on to play publicly at small venues while working as a piano teacher.
There was no record label. She scrapped $15,000 together to record Bach’s Goldberg Variations on her own.
There was no Carnegie Hall invitations and no market. She rented out Carnegie Hall on her own. And, she invited a house full of music critics.
But it wasn’t just puffing business bravado. It was accompanied by a strong unwavering faith in her artistic abilities, in that something is still left to be said.
The Carnegie Hall concert turned out to be a smashing success. From there on her recordings shot up to the top of the chart. In 2011, she signed an exclusive agreement with Sony Classical.
Her record, Bach: Strange Beauty, received a 4.5 star rating from over 7000+ reviews on Amazon. The title of the album comes from a quote from an essay (No. 43. Of Beauty) by Sir Francis Bacon – essentially, anything truly beautiful is not perfect.
“There is no excellent beauty, that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.”
Who in the world can make people listen to old German music from the 17 century? Defying the stereotype of a classic musician she dresses in black in non-revealing clothes. When she plays she doesn’t swarm and sway all over the place. When she talks she refrains from hand gestures and body language not aiming to please or tease as an actress might. She is absolutely truthful, honest, almost calmly striving as she tries to explain her musical sensibilities.
The beauty in her music is impossible to describe. She says that when she hears Bach’s music she feels clean. Ms. Dinnerstein’s story makes me feel ‘clean.’
Simone Dinnerstein, piano
Sunday January 29, 2012 at 7PM The Music Center at Strathmore