Press Quotes

May 2, 2024
The quicksilver changes of mood and direction are mostly prompted by the extrovert piano writing, projected with real wit by Denk, and allusions abound...
March 29, 2024
Denk was always at the center of the music, whether working in conjunction with the orchestra or being accompanied by it. His articulation perfectly captured the appropriate spirit of the music in the moment, whether alluding to salon music or to bebop.
March 27, 2024
The real inspiration was Jeremy Denk, who is an incredible musician, a virtuoso and a wonderful collaborator. His repertoire ranges from very early music to very contemporary music, so I was able to explore a lot of different styles through that process and write a piece tailored to him.
April 1, 2024
The second time pianist Jeremy Denk plays the Bach tune, he jazzifies it—and then all the other ideas start crowding in, one after the other, in more and more rapid succession.
December 15, 2023
Denk’s artistry rests in how he explores emotional variance by leaning into the extremes. Embracing contradictions, and letting them linger, brings a freshness to his performances. He remains the thinker’s pianist: bold, sensitive, and cleverly adept at maneuvering between poles — even gendered ones.
December 11, 2023
Denk has obviously lived with this music, thought about it, engaged with it. The setup of the program was novel, but nothing felt like novelty... Denk’s program created conversations across time between these trailblazers and their modern counterparts.
December 10, 2023
His playing was incisive and propulsive when needed (especially in the León and Seeger), but it was his understanding of musical character and exceptional ear for balances that brought this fare fully to life... there was nothing gimmicky either about Denk’s choices or his performances. Rather, there was a sort of poetic logic to the pianist’s pairings of nine female composers and ten of their works.
December 2, 2024
Denk has a gift for devising innovative and thought-provoking programs, almost like concocting a particularly iridescent solution in a chemistry lab... This is repertoire Denk clearly believes in, and he proved to be a keen advocate and guide through the unfamiliar.
November 15, 2023
…Jeremy Denk sportingly opened with his six Ligeti Études – a performance showing off not only his way with complex scores but also his ability to draw profound beauty from the piano.
October 4, 2023
Denk has an unassuming stage presence; he is like a young kid who bounds onto the stage full of energy... There is the pure enjoyment of playing a concert. But there is also a serious side... All that he does is in the service to the music.
September 12, 2023
American Jeremy Denk was just the right man for the job with his large-scale playing, where the sound was never distorted or harsh and with exemplary clarity in the thematic lines. You get a sense of this already in the introduction, which is almost an entire solo cadenza.
August 12, 2023
His ability to reveal the variety, the impish wit, the creativity in each of these dance-based works made them pass all too quickly. The majesty and grandeur of No 6, which Denk played with utmost control but also the freedom of an improvisation, was a spellbinding climax.
June 9, 2023
Seeing him in concert for the first time since reading the book, I appreciated all the more how he captures an audience... through his simple – if highly refined – and very visible love for the music...
February 16, 2023
Pianist Jeremy Denk... and violinist Stefan Jackiw performed select compositions for the students, leaving many in awe.
December 2, 2022
In May, Jeremy Denk played Book 1 of Bach’s monumental Well-Tempered Clavier with no music, no ceremony, no shy reverence. It was exhilarating, even transformative.
November 22, 2022
Denk transformed into a silky dialogue between hands, a conversation to savor.
September 19, 2022
Denk was absolutely mesmerising in his playing here, some of the finest technical pianism I have heard, infused also with a great sense of humour.
September 13, 2022
Denk is a unique character in the pianistic universe: his playing of Brahms’ piano part was impetuous, forward-thrusting and exciting, full of a refusal to be bound by anything so quotidian as a tempo marking or a bar line.
July 23, 2022
Denk took on an even bigger challenge — Bach’s The Well-Tempered Klavier Book 1. His atmospheric playing, humor, and a distinctly high level of musicianship shaped this monumental work into something even more special.
July 4, 2022
Jeremy Denk’s performance of Bach’s Well- Tempered Clavier, Book 1 at Hahn Hall last week verged on the stuff of epiphany. If not the greatest Music Academy moment this season, it will rank very near the top.
May 25, 2022
The Well-Tempered Clavier is a monument: still tackled by student pianists, but performed live in its entirety only by those with nerves of steel and a penchant for musical marathons. American pianist Jeremy Denk has both – not to mention the fiendish technique and expressive iconoclasm you’d expect from one of today’s classical superstars... familiar phrases were subtly reshaped in Denk’s hands and illuminated afresh.
April 4, 2022
These 24 preludes and fugues can be imagined as Denk’s metaphor for a musical Noah’s Ark, with denizens warm, welcoming, feisty, and unpredictable. With two of a kind for each musical creature, we could conceivably begin music again from such elemental works of harmonic and contrapuntal prowess.
April 4, 2022
Denk’s pearly tone and crisp articulation conveyed rich contrasts between introspection and exuberance.... he struck a perfect balance between sensitivity and dramatic flair.
February 6, 2022
"One of the most thoughtful and reliably interesting artists of our time."
December 17, 2021
"When the superb pianist Jeremy Denk did the first book [of The Well-Tempered Clavier] from memory at the 92nd Street Y this month, his performance was a reminder of how audaciously inventive and awesomely intricate, how fresh and startling, Bach’s music is."
October 29, 2021
"Denk is among the most entertaining of concert pianists... insightful in his interpretations, entertaining to watch, and engaging in his stage banter."
October 19, 2021
"Jeremy Denk dived into the piano’s difficult chords and bold gestures with virtuosity and high spirits, trading big musical gestures with pods of various instruments arrayed around him. The effect was endlessly startling, clangorous, a dawn chorus multiplied exponentially until the final series of spicy, staccato chords brought things to a close."
October 18, 2021
"The invaluable pianist Jeremy Denk shouldered a big portion of the responsibilities, firing off finger-bending riffs or startling thick chords, his head darting this way and that."
October 16, 2021
"Jeremy Denk strode through the solo part with thrilling assurance"
October 7, 2021
"The first thing you notice at the outset is the exquisite shaping of the orchestral introduction. The rapport with Denk’s accomplices in the St Paul Chamber Orchestra is accordingly a close one, and their sterling support frees Denk to embellish his lines with sometimes startling freedom. Denk’s identification with this music is evident throughout. Perhaps the palate-cleansing A minor Rondo best encapsulates the finest points of these performances: a reading of conspicuous inwardness and intensity that distils an almost Schubertian poignancy. His cadenzas, too, reflect his deeply personal response to each work. Denk is clearly a pianist with much to say in Mozart."
September 3, 2021
"Even before Jeremy Denk plays a single note in this twin Mozart piano concerto release, he makes his presence forcefully felt. As both soloist and director with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra... Denk strikes a compelling Mozartian balance between lyrical perfection and effervescent spirit" ★★★★★
August 19, 2021
"A remarkable figure, as much a thinker as a player...and as much admired for his pioneering, sometimes challenging programming as he is for his brilliantly perceptive playing."
May 14, 2021
"The musical rewards from Denk and a complement of the orchestra’s string players helped fill the hall with high spirits. Bach’s Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, BWV 1052, got a fiercely propulsive rendition, in which Denk made full use of the sonic weight provided by a concert grand piano."
April 29, 2021
"Brilliant and deeply resourceful"
April 19, 2021
"Denk’s fluid playing uses the modern piano’s dynamics and flexibility in touch to shape a style that one could imagine even Bach appreciating"
March 30, 2021
"One of the most cogent and thoughtful contemporary Bach interpreters"
March 25, 2013
"Listening to the pianist Jeremy Denk play, you never doubt that he is someone who thinks about music deeply and rather a lot"
January 18, 2021
"Some of the best Beethoven I've experienced recently — a commanding performance of the concerto, with Denk offering an emotionally penetrating interpretation full of technical skill and deeply involving twists and turns. And the engaging cinematography makes him an even more entertaining player to watch, one sometimes seemingly swept away by the music. You may be, too."
November 23, 2020
"Denk played in his typical probing but firmly directed manner, equal parts scientist and poet."
September 2, 2020
"Consider the festival's final program of two Beethoven sonatas played by the superb duo of violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Jeremy Denk. Performance doesn't get any better than this."
July 26, 2020
"Denk’s brief description of [Beethoven's last piano sonata] is a must-listen."
July 2, 2020
"Meanwhile, for his 'How to Think Like Bach' program, pianist Jeremy Denk invited neuroscientist Daniel Levitin to discuss how Bach’s ingenious resolution of dissonance might be something that can help the brain build neural bridges toward the optimism we desperately need to get through the day."
April 17, 2020
"The pianist shares his spoken observations and insights with natural charm and humility"
March 9, 2020
"The American Jeremy Denk was soloist in a fresh, inventive and engrossing performance with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Osmo Vänskä.... Denk gave the left hand its own emphasis and vitality, helping us hear the structure, as well as the humour in Beethoven’s familiar but never knowable work."
"Denk’s razor-sharp responses to his fellow players had plenty of humour to them, laugh-out-loud funny in sudden flashes throughout the finale."
"Denk’s playing was particularly seductive ... he added elements of both delicacy and wit to the mix."
"One of America’s foremost pianists, Mr. Denk was dazzling at the Steinway, his magical fingers a total blur and his reward was much cheering, whooping and foot-stomping from a most appreciative audience."
“In Bach’s English Suite No. 3, his jazzy ­tempos and crisp articulation brought fresh ­perspectives to the Prelude, Courante and ­Gavotte.”
“What caught the ear most was the sensitive, spontaneous phrasing and the pearly quality of his tone when spinning out melodic lines.”
"As the antihero keyboard soloist, Denk’s poised luminous touch in the spare solo part was an ideal partner for the scrupulously detailed and laser-like orchestral playing led by Tilson Thomas."
"An unerring sense of the music’s dramatic ­structure and a great actor’s intuition for ­timing, Denk was the provocateur who urged his ­colleagues to dare all, to unleash every calorie of emotional heat."
"With impish charm, he performed this ­grandest of Mozart concertos with light-hearted ­irreverence. Each note sounded fresh and alive, as if thought through anew…"
"One measure of how fully he is able to draw the listener into his own ­feeling of ­renewed discovery when playing the “Goldbergs” was how quietly and ­attentively the audience took in all 70 minutes of this opening recital of the Symphony ­Center Presents Piano Series, ­before breaking into sustained applause."
"The most viscerally ­exciting, ­emotionally ­absorbing and ­intellectually rich ­account of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto that I have ever heard in ­concert."
"An artist you want to hear no matter what he performs."