SPCO names pianist Jeremy Denk an artistic partner

The SPCO today named pianist Jeremy Denk as its latest Artistic Partner.  SPCO President Bruce Coppock calls signing Denk as a coup.

"Unbelievable musician,  enormous wit, imagination, intellect, fantastic writer, blogger" was just the start of Coppock's list of Denk's qualities. "A true renaissance man, fascinating character, with endless imagination. We are really excited."

The SPCO was scrambling a little because an article published online this afternoon, in the New York Times let slip the hometown news that was embargoed until tomorrow afternoon.

Jeremy Denk (Photo courtesy the artist)

While reporting on pianist Jeremy Denk's recent string of successes, most recently including being awarded the acclaimed Avery Fisher Prize, the Times also mentioned the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra appointment.

MPR News is Member Supported

What does that mean? The news, analysis and community conversation found here is funded by donations from individuals. Make a gift of any amount today to support this resource for everyone.

The SPCO confirmed it this afternoon. His tenure will begin in the 2014-15 season.

Denk is the recipient of a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship and is Musical America's 2014 Instrumentalist of the Year.

Coppock says it was Denk's manager who approached the SPCO about an artistic partnership. Coppock admits he hadn't thought about the possibility before but it seemed like an excellent idea.

"And Jeremy brings this kind of fun, braniac, approach to music-making," Coppock said. "He is enormously gifted pianistically but he has an imagination that just won't quit."

"And it's that imagination that sparks a kind of interactivity with the orchestra when he and the orchestra work together, that allows him through both words and his playing to draw the audience into his own world, his own fantasy world, about what the music is about."

Denk will be involved in many projects during his three seasons at the SPCO, including commissioning of new work, recording, and a tour with the SPCO.

In 2004, the SPCO changed its leadership structure to give broad artistic responsibilities from a music director to the musicians, in collaboration with a series of artistic partners. Past partners include Roberto Abbado, Dawn Upshaw, Douglas Boyd, and Joshua Bell.