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Jeremy Denk Earns Avery Fisher Prize, Orchestra Appointment

March 21, 2014

By Erich Burnett

Jeremy Denk ’90
Photo credit: MICHAEL WILSON

Pianist Jeremy Denk ’90 was named the recipient of the 2014 Avery Fisher Prize on March 17. The $75,000 award recognizes outstanding achievement and excellence in music. Previous honorees have included such classical music legends as Yo-Yo Ma, Garrick Ohlsson, and Midori.

Also on March 17, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra revealed that Denk will serve as its next artistic partner, marking the pianist’s first appointed position with an orchestra.

The accolades are the latest in what has been a remarkable recent run for the Oberlin alumnus. In September, Denk was named a MacArthur Fellow. By November, news broke that he had been named Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year. (Musical America also honored ICE, the creation of fellow Oberlin alumnus Claire Chaise ’01, as its Ensemble of the Year.)

In June, Denk will serve as music director for the 2014 Ojai Music Festival in California. He has conceived and co-written a comic opera, The Classical Style, which will premiere at the festival. He is currently working on a memoir for Random House.

“It’s insane,” Denk told the New York Times' Michael Cooper, in reference to his incredible run of late. “It’s wild, and I’m a little bit in shock, kind of. It’s a great shock.

“My dad wrote me an email after the MacArthur: ‘Keep it up!’” Denk added. “And I thought, ‘I can’t keep this up, this is pretty much as good as it’s going to get.’”

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