Praised by the New York Times for his “Lisztian thunder and deft fluidity," and the San Francisco Chronicle as “ferociously virtuosic,” pianist Paul Barnes has electrified audiences with his intensely expressive playing and cutting-edge programming. He has been featured seven times on APM’s Performance Today and on the cover of Clavier Magazine with his recordings streamed worldwide.
Celebrating his twenty-five-year collaboration with Philip Glass, Barnes commissioned and gave the world premiere of Glass's Piano Quintet "Annunciation." The work is Glass's first piano quintet and first work based on Greek Orthodox chant. Barnes recording of the quintet with string quartet superstars Brooklyn Rider was released in October of 2019 to critical acclaim. ResMusica in Paris wrote: "Paul Barnes, whose pianistic lines are always clear, is a marvel of dialogue with Brooklyn Rider." <
Barnes twelfth CD New Generations: The New Etudes of Philip Glass and Music of the Next Generation has also received rave reviews. Gramophone Magazine wrote, "Pianists of Barnes's great technique and musicality are a boon to new music." And American Record Guide commented, "This disc provides further proof of Barnes's ability to communicate new music with flair and passion." Produced by Orange Mountain Music, the recording features the world-premiere recording of Dreaming Awake, a selection of Glass’s etudes and works by N. Lincoln Hanks, Lucas Floyd, Jason Bahr, Zack Stanton, Ivan Moody, and Jonah Gallagher.
Barnes is Marguerite Scribante Professor of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Glenn Korff School of Music. He was recently appointed Artistic Director of the Lied Center Piano Academy which welcomes several high-school pianists to Lincoln each summer for an intensive week of piano, composition, improvisation and collaboration. He will also be teaching this summer in Greece at the Piano Plus Summer Institute. In great demand as a pedagogue and clinician, Barnes has served as convention artist at several state MTNA conventions, most recently at Virginia and was recently named "Teacher of the Year" by the Nebraska Music Teachers Association.
Barnes latest recital Illumination features a contemplative and cathartic program of piano works inspired by the mystical world of chant. Barnes, also a Greek Orthodox chanter, has collaborated most recently with Philip Glass and Victoria Bond to create piano works based on ancient byzantine and Jewish chant. New chant-based works by Native flutist Ron Warren and David von Kampen were also given their premiere performances. Barnes gave the world premiere of Victoria Bond’s Illumination on Byzantine Chant at New York’s Symphony Space in April of 2021. Barnes released his fourteenth recording last fall on Albany Records entitled Illumination: The Piano Works of Victoria Bond including the world-premiere recording of Illuminations on Byzantine Chant. American Record Guide wrote "he sings with haunting musicality...and plays with fervid virtuosity...the music is calm and meditative, perfect for these troubled times."
Barnes recently gave the world premiere performance of "The Way of Mountains and Desert" by Native composer Ron Warren. The work explores Native themes of creation and beauty. Barnes is currently collaborating with Hollywood film composer JAC Redford on a new work inspired by the incarnational writing of Plato to be premiered at the St. Constantine School in Houston in July of 2023.
Barnes' recordings are available on Spotify, Pandora, ITunes, Apple Music, YouTube, and Amazon.
"a majestic and reverential performance"
"atmospheric and elegant"
Time Out New York
"a riveting and sensitive player"
"a sizzling performance"
San Francisco Examiner
"A muscular,involving performance"
Omaha World Herald
San Francisco Chronicle
"A shining soloist"
"an amazing pianist"
American Record Guide
"visceral yet loving"
Anchorage Daily News
"seething with pathos"
Lincoln Journal Star
"An impressive feat"