Skip to main content
Latest SFCM News
News Story

Inon Barnatan Inspires SFCM Students with Masterclass and Performance

The multifaceted pianist visited SFCM for an artist residency including a masterclass and side-by-side performance with students.

November 13, 2023 by Mark Taylor

Known as “one of the most admired pianists of his generation” by The New York Times, Inon Barnatan visited SFCM in October as an artist-in-residence and performed with students for SFCM's annual Chamber Music Tuesday concert series. 

"At SFCM I was able to understand and experience what it's like for younger people to have access to such a holistic approach in their music education, leading them to create more meaningful artistic experiences—something I wish I had more of when I was their age," Barnatan said of his time at the Conservatory.

Inon Barnatan

Inon Barnatan in the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall.

Barnatan is on the rosters of Opus 3 Artists and Askonas Holt, the two leading artist management companies acquired by SFCM in 2020 and 2022 respectively. He is also a Pentatone recording artist, the label recently acquired by SFCM. All three are part of the alliance formed by SFCM to advance music education. 

In addition to performing as a guest artist in the opening concert of the Chamber Music Tuesday series Barnatan also worked one-on-one with students during his week-long residency. 

"Performing for Inon Barnatan was a tremendous honor and highlight from my time here as a student at SFCM. His insight and wisdom he shared was inspiring and illuminating," said SFCM student Lior David. "I learned a lot in his masterclass and am deeply grateful for this opportunity." David is a piano student studying with Jon Nakamatsu.

Inon Barnatan

As a soloist, Barnatan is a regular performer with many of the world’s foremost orchestras and conductors, and he was the inaugural Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic. While at SFCM, he took note of the skills and passion SFCM students had for music. "It's always great to be working with students that have such a high level of enthusiasm, along with the high level of musicianship they possess. Even after we would finish rehearsing, it was so gratifying to see students staying late by choice to make the pieces they were studying extra-special," Barnatan said. 

For students, playing for and alongside Barnatan was a great learning experience, especially for Yi-Chen Feng, a piano student studying with Yoshikazu Nagai."The biggest takeaway would be whenever I learn a piece from a composer, it is always beneficial to look over the composer’s whole works, especially the composer’s specialty," Feng continued, "Because the more I understand this composer’s musical style is, the easier it is for me to approach the music in the right direction."

Inon Barnatan

As far as advice for young musicians, Barnatan wants students to be focused not necessarily on career status, but finding their own path in music. "The most important things are spending time with your craft and establishing a voice that's singularly 'you'—then you can truly own the career label as something that is totally yours with conviction," he added.

Learn more about studying piano at SFCM.