Acclaimed for his interpretations of the music of Alexander Scriabin, pianist JOHN BELL YOUNG has performed throughout Europe, America, Asia, South America and the former Soviet Union. He made his American recital debut at Washington's National Gallery of Art in 1976. The following year he performed on the concert series of Christchurch Spitalfields in London, the Koepelzaal in Amsterdam, and in 1983 at the Musée Carnavalet in Paris. In July 2001 he returned to China for the first time in 22 years to perform at the prestigious Great Hall of the Forbidden City in Beijing. His recital there inaugurated the Poly Culture International Piano Festival sponsored by Volkswagen.
Twice endorsed by Scriabin's daughters Marina Scriabine and Yelena Scriabina Sofronitsky (in 1983 and again in 1990), Mr. Young led the American delegation to the 1992 International Scriabin Festival in Moscow, where he gave his third all-Scriabin recital, in as many years, at the Scriabin Museum. His frequent concert tours of Russia have included appearances at the Riga Philharmonic (Latvia); the Small Hall of the Glinka Capella (Osobnyak Bosse); the Bielosielski-Bielozyerski Palace and the Composers Union in St. Petersburg; and at the Sochi Philharmonic. Underwriting his Russian tours, the Rockefeller Trust for Mutual Understanding and the Pew Charitable Trust (the Fund for Artists at Overseas Festivals) each awarded Mr. Young generous grants.
John Bell Young's recordings of the musical compositions of the controversial 19th century philosopher FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, on the Newport Classics label, earned widespread international acclaim. The second of these discs was devoted to Nietzsche's chamber music and lieder; here he is joined by pianist Constance Keene, violinist Nicholas Eanet, and tenor John Aler. In 1992, he introduced the music to Russian audiences, ending the Soviet's 75 year ban on Nietzsche's works. Profiles and feature articles about Mr. Young and these recordings (the first commercially produced discs of this repertoire) have appeared in Time, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, the US News and World Report, Lingua Franca, Hamburger Abendblatt, Bunte (Berlin), Pravda (Moscow), Le Monde de la Musique (Paris), Chaspik (St Petersburg, Russia), Musica Rivista Italiana (Rome) the Christian Science Monitor, Rolling Stone, New York Magazine, the American Record Guide, Clavier, the St. Petersburg Times (Florida), Dagens Nyheter, (Stockholm), NPR's Performance Today, WNYC's New Sounds with John Schaefer, ABC-TVs 20/20, and David Dubal's nationally syndicated radio broadcast (WQXR in New York) Reflections from the Keyboard. Both CDs have been acquired by Sony Classical for re-release, and also form the soundtrack for a recent documentary film, Zarathustra's Drinking Song, narrated by the noted actor, Fritz Weaver.
Winner of the 1985 Chopin Foundation Council Prize, John Bell Young has performed in the major musical capitals of the world, including New York, Rome, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong and Tangiers. He is also the subject of a Dutch television documentary Sweet Summer Concert, where he is featured in recital in Amsterdam's historic Koepelzaal and aboard an open-air tour boat afloat that city's canals. It has been broadcast on the BBC, on ITV-London, on TROS -TV, Holland and on Yugoslavian television. On radio, he has been a guest on National Public Radio's Performance Today and on WQXR's Listening Room with Robert Sherman.
An innovative programmer, Mr. Young's interest in unusual repertoire has led him to the music of several famous or historical figures who are unknown for their musical interests. In addition to Nietzsche, these include the writers Boris Pasternak, Anthony Burgess and Federico Garcia-Lorca, and the actor Lionel Barrymore. In 1996, Mr. Young gave the premiere of piano works by Hugh Downs, the celebrated broadcaster and anchor of the ABC-TV news magazine 20/20. In October 1997, Mr. Young appeared with Hugh Downs on Eckerd College's Distinguished Speaker Series in St. Petersburg, Florida, and again at the Juilliard School in New York, performing Mr. Downs' compositions.
As a teacher, Mr. Young regularly gives master classes and lectures at leading institutions. In Russia these include the St. Petersburg and Moscow Conservatories; Rimsky-Korsakoff College of Music; the Musorgsky College of Music; the Glinka Choir College; and the Sochi College of Music. In America they include the Juilliard School (class of David Dubal); the University of South Florida; the Boston Conservatory of Music; the Putney School; and Brown University. In October 1998 Mr. Young delivered a lecture entitled Intonatsiia and the Politics of Expression: Towards an Understanding of Russian Intonation in Theory and Practice at the World Piano Pedagogy Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. He is an Internet pioneer as well; his hugely successful sites at MP3.com were the subject of feature articles in the US News and World Report and several other publications.
John Bell Young is a prominent critic for several major publications including the American Record Guide, Opera News, Classical DisCDigest, Piano Life and Clavier. He is also a contributing essayist for the St. Petersburg Times (Florida). His annotations for Sony Classical records include essays for recordings of pianist Emanuel Ax, baritone Bo Skovus and conductor Sir Charles Mackerras. Fluent in Russian, his monograph Scriabin Defended Against His Devotees, a Critical Evaluation of the Composer in the Context of Russian History, Religion and Culture was published in the fall of 1998 by Sovietskii Kompozitor in cooperation with the Scriabin Museum. His performance edition of the four-hand piano music of Nietzsche is published by HLH Music Publications in New York.
John Bell Young has studied with a number of distinguished artists. His principal teachers were Margarita Fyodorova (Moscow); Ernst Levy (Switzerland); Benjamin Kaplan (London); Constance Keene, Olga Barabini, and Bruce Hungerford (New York). He also worked extensively with Irwin Freundlich, Karl Ulrich Schnabel, and Kyriena Siloti (New York). He has coached with Shura Cherkassky, John Browning, Abram Chasins, Vladimir Feltsman, Igor Zhukov (New York); Nikita Magaloff (Switzerland); Claudio Arrau (Vermont) and with Jean-Michel Damase (Paris).
Mr Young served on the advisory board of the 1995 Scriabin International Competition in Moscow, where a special prize for the best performance of an early Scriabin Sonata was established in his name. In addition, Mr. Young is a frequent adjudicator at international piano competitions, including the European International Piano Competition (Sweden), the Greta Erikson Nordic at Kil (Sweden), the RAMA (Boston), the Young Prince (Russia), the Boston Outstanding Amateur (Boston); the International Russian Music Piano Competition (San Jose); and the Premio Jaen (Spain).
His recording of music by Scriabin, Mahler, Leo Tolstoi, Hugh Downs and Michel Block, entitled "PRISMS" was released on the Americus Records label in 2000. In the fall of 2002, Americus also released Mr.Young's recording of Richard Strauss's rarely performed melodrama for narrator and piano, Enoch Arden in which he collaborates with the celebrated British actor, Michael York. Monsieurs York and Young have since toured the USA and Europe, performing Enoch Arden at such prestigous venues as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach; the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC; the Royal Palace in Stockholm; and at Farringford, Alfred, Lord Tennyson's estate on the Isle of Wight.
Mr.Young is a recordings producer for several labels (Angelok, Newport Classics, Americus Records, etc.), and also the founder and Executive Director of Identity Marketing for Concert Artists, Inc, a career consultant to classical musicians. John Bell Young has written five critically acclaimed books on music, published by Amadeus Press on Brahms, Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt and Puccini. His sixth book, entitled Understanding Scriabin, will be published by Rowman Littlefield and released in the fall of 2015.
In 2013, John Bell Young founded the Music Masterclasses Video Archive (MMVA), a vast archive of audio and video masterclasses which will be made available on line and on disc. Thes archive will feature dozens, and eventually hundreds of renowned concert artists and teacher offering myriad points of view on musical interpretation and technique.The MMVA will also spearhead a substantial interactive dimension, wherein students can study with MMVA artist-teachers through video conferencing at little if any cost. In the fall of 2013, a series of some two dozen video masster classes will be filmed and released on a multi-DVD set by Sheva Collection Records. For more information and your support, please visit. www.masterclassesarchives.com
Identity Marketing for Concert Artists, Inc. (IMCA)
Sony Classical Records