BENJAMIN HOCHMAN, PIANO
Pianist Benjamin Hochman’s eloquent and virtuosic performances blend artistic bravura with poetic interpretation exciting audiences and critics alike. He performs in major cities around the world as a respected orchestral soloist, recitalist and chamber musician, working with a celebrated array of renowned conductors and colleagues. Described by The New York Times as a “gifted, fast-rising artist,” Mr. Hochman is an impassioned and intelligent exponent of diverse composers, from Bach and Mozart to Kurtág and Lieberson. He strives to express the essence of each composer’s works, resulting in interpretations that the Vancouver Sun described as“stylish and lucid, with patrician authority and touches of elegant wit where context allows.” Possessed of an intellectual and heartfelt musical inquisitiveness, Mr. Hochman frequently juxtaposes familiar works with the unfamiliar in his concert programs to help illuminate each work for the listener, a talent further illustrated by his thoughtful recorded repertoire.
Winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2011, Mr. Hochman previously made his New York recital debut in 2006 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He subsequently established a vibrant and venerated musical presence in New York City through concerts with the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra, his Carnegie Hall debut with the Israel Philharmonic and a succession of prominent recital and chamber performances at 92nd Street Y. Following his debut with the Chicago Symphony in a Mozart Piano Concerto project with Pinchas Zukerman and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, he returned at the invitation of Emanuel Ax to participate in the 2012 “Keys to the City” Festival. In September 2012 he made his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut at the Hollywood Bowl. January 2013 saw his third subscription series appearance with the Pittsburgh Symphony in performances of Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, of which the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette remarked “He unfurled the music so gently, lending a grace to it I had not heard before.”
In March 2014 Mr. Hochman performed a program of Variations by contemporary composers Luciano Berio, Oliver Knussen, Frederic Rzewski and the world premiere of Tamar Muskal’s Frédéric Variations presented by 92nd Street Y at SubCulture. Of this performance, Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times observed “… as I listened to the pianist Benjamin Hochman’s sensitive, exciting renditions of four contemporary works that explore the form of theme and variation (including one premiere), I kept thinking that classical music doesn’t get better than this.” This performance was also recognized by Mr. Tommasini as one of his top ten classical music events of that year. For his Kennedy Center recital debut in February 2014, this Variations program was equally well-received by Anne Midgette of The Washington Post, who commented “Hochman led the audience through this rugged, majestic landscape with such rhetorical authority that there was no hint of movement among his listeners when he paused between sections. The minute he was done, the audience launched immediately into ovations…”
Highlights from Mr. Hochman’s 2015-2016 season include recitals at the Kennedy Center as part of their Fortas Series and with the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, performing the complete works of Beethoven for cello and piano with Sharon Robinson, and a new work for violin and piano by Frederic Rzewski with Jennifer Koh at the Library of Congress. As a chamber musician, Mr. Hochman will appear with the Boston Chamber Music Society in September and October 2015, and March 2016, performing works of Haydn, Strauss, Beethoven, and Schubert. Under his trademark vein of compositional variations, he performs a program juxtaposing late Chopin works with works in similar genres by Adès, Saariaho, and Muskal for the Brattleboro Music Center and Detroit Chamber Music Society. In Detroit he will also play the Brahms Quintet with the Ariel String Quartet. Orchestral engagements include performances of De Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain with Kansas City Symphony, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major with Omaha Symphony, Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety with Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, and Mozart’s Concerto No. 27 with Greenwich Symphony in Connecticut.
In February 2015 on the Avie Record label, Mr. Hochman released Variations based on his recital of the same title. In 2013 Avie Records released Mr. Hochman’s second solo album entitled Homage to Schubert featuring Schubert’s Sonata in A, D. 664, and Sonata in D, D. 850, alongside contemporary tributes to Schubert: Jörg Widmann’s Idyll und Abgrund: Six Schubert Reminiscences and Kurtág’s Homage to Schubert. This recording serves as an expression of Mr. Hochman’s deeply-felt passion and respect for Schubert’s subtle, intimate and mesmerizing music, which he says reveals a striking dichotomy between lyricism and drama. The album received praise for both its programming choices and virtuosic performances. His debut solo recording of works by Bach, Berg and Webern was released by Artek in 2009 and he recorded Insects and Paper Airplanes: The Chamber Music of Lawrence Dillon in 2010 for Bridge Records in collaboration with the Daedalus Quartet.
Mr. Hochman has performed with the Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco, Vancouver, New Jersey and Portland Symphonies, the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, the New York String Orchestra, Prague Philharmonia, Istanbul State Orchestra, IRIS Orchestra in Memphis, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Canada under eminent conductors such as David Robertson, Gianandrea Noseda, John Storgårds, Pinchas Zukerman, Jun Märkl, Leon Botstein, Bramwell Tovey, Jahja Ling, Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Kaspar Zehnder, Michael Stern, Jaime Laredo and Joshua Weilerstein. He has appeared in his native Israel with several orchestras including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony and the Tel Aviv Soloists.
Past festival highlights include Marlboro, Ravinia, Caramoor, Santa Fe, Bard, Gilmore and Vail in North America, as well as international festivals such as Lucerne, Spoleto, Verbier, Ruhr, Israel Festival and Prussia Cove. Mr. Hochman has performed internationally at such major halls as the Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Konzerthaus, Concertgebouw, the Louvre, Liszt Academy in Budapest, Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Tivoli Theatre in Copenhagen, l'Auditori de Barcelona, Suntory Hall in Tokyo and Kumho Art Hall in Seoul. A masterful collaborator, Benjamin Hochman has worked with the Tokyo, Shanghai, Mendelssohn, Casals, Prazak and Daedalus Quartets, Variation Trio, Zukerman Chamber Players, members of the Guarneri, Juilliard and Orion String Quartets, Jonathan Biss, Cho-Liang Lin and Ani Kavafian, Miklós Perényi and Ralph Kirshbaum. A dedicated advocate for contemporary music, he has worked closely with composers Kaija Saariaho, Krzysztof Penderecki, Philippe Hurel, Brett Dean, Tamar Muskal, David Ludwig and Menachem Wiesenberg, among others.
Benjamin Hochman has previously been selected to participate in prestigious residencies around the world such as CMS Two at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Isaac Stern's International Chamber Music Encounters in Israel and Carnegie Hall's Professional Training Workshops with Osvaldo Golijov and Dawn Upshaw. Mr. Hochman received the "Outstanding Pianist" citation at the Verbier Academy, the Festorazzi Award from the Curtis Institute of Music, second prize at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, the "Partosh Prize" awarded by the Israeli Minister of Culture for best performance of an Israeli work and first prize at the National Piano Competition of the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem. His performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio's Young Artist Showcase and Performance Today, WNET’s Sunday Arts, WQXR, CBC (Canada), ABC (Australia), Radio France and Israel's Voice of Music radio station, as well as on the European television network Mezzo.
Born in Jerusalem, Benjamin Hochman began his studies with Esther Narkiss at the Conservatory of the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem and Emanuel Krasovsky in Tel Aviv. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Mannes College of Music where his principal teachers were Claude Frank and Richard Goode. His studies were supported by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. He is currently on the piano faculty of Bard College and the Longy School of Music. Benjamin Hochman is a Steinway Artist and lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Jennifer Koh.