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Finding success through Bach

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Simone Dinnerstein
Pianist Simone Dinnerstein performing Bach's "Goldberg Variations" in MPR's Maude Moon Weyerheauser studio.
MPR Photo/Karl Gehrke

When pianist Simone Dinnerstein was pregnant five years ago, she decided to use those nine months to learn Bach's "Goldberg Variations."  At the time she was mostly unknown, but today she's one of the hottest artists in classical music,  thanks to the recent CD release of her recording of Bach's keyboard masterpiece.

Dinnerstein's recording of the "Goldbergs" immediately hit #1 on the Billboard Classical Chart after its release. Critics have also been acclaiming the CD as one of the most significant classical discs of the year.

It was a bold move for Dinnerstein to record the "Goldberg Variations." Not only is the work physically and mentally demanding, but any recording of it faces the specter of Glenn Gould's famous 1955 version. Dinnerstein knew the Gould recording by heart, but has found her own way interpret Bach's music.

Dinnerstein was in the Twin Cities for a Schubert Club performance at the Landmark Center in St. Paul. She stopped by Minnesota Public Radio's Maude Moon Weyerheauser studio to talk with host Melissa Ousley and play music from Bach's "Goldberg Variations."