Pianist, composer, and event organizer Michael Arnowitt is one of the most creative musicians of today. His imaginative musical landscapes, extraordinary sense of touch at the piano, and warm onstage personality have delighted audiences in concert halls around the world. He lives in the USA and Canada and has given piano performances in France, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Russia, and Korea. His life and music is the subject of a documentary film, “Beyond 88 Keys” (2004). The documentary, filmed in both the USA and Europe, contains footage of concert performances, educational talks, and interviews. The film has been broadcast on public television and shown at a variety of film festivals and venues including the Rode Pomp, an arts center in Gent, Belgium and the Anthology, a theater in New York City’s East Village. Once international touring resumes, he will be performing an 8 concert tour of China with the guitarist Steve Blair where the duo will perform in Beijing and other Chinese cities.
His past creative projects have included “If Music Be the Food of Love,” a performance of classical and jazz music about food with the simultaneous serving to the audience of the food tastes that inspired the composers, and a collaboration combining his piano improvisations with the live creation of paintings on stage by visual artists. In 2013, his composition “Haiku Textures” for three cello soloists and orchestra was premiered, the three cellos symbolizing the three lines of a Japanese haiku poem. He has also performed with the photographer Marjorie Ryerson a special multi-media program “Water Music” where piano music about water is combined with the projection of water photographs and readings on the subject of water written by leading musicians of today.
In 1989 Michael Arnowitt began his novel, 26-year long presentation of the complete 32 Beethoven piano sonatas, matching up his age as he performed the various sonatas with Beethoven’s age as Beethoven composed them. The eight concerts in the project, spaced out over 26 years, thereby became a study in the psychology of aging and development. Audiences have seen how Beethoven developed as a composer, how Arnowitt developed as a pianist, and the intersection of the two processes. He has performed these “Beethoven & Arnowitt” concerts throughout the United States and in Canada, Korea, and Germany.
Michael Arnowitt has appeared as piano concerto soloist with many orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Kiev Chamber Orchestra under Roman Kofman. He has performed in concert with the Ying Quartet, and has toured Canada and the United States giving duo performances with Beverley Johnston of Toronto, one of the world’s leading classical percussionists. The Washington Post said of a concert Michael Arnowitt performed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., “he played with an exquisite sense of touch, color and musical imagination.” The Rheinische Post said of a Michael Arnowitt performance in Düsseldorf, Germany, “he played with a striking virtuosity and deeply felt passion.”
Michael Arnowitt has also been the principal organizer of a number of large-scale fundraisers for humanitarian aid, among them an April 1999 benefit concert for Balkan war refugees that raised over US $10,000 and collected clothing and 300 emergency first aid kits for the refugee camps. In 2016 he organized a benefit concert for Syrian refugees, creating a special program surveying Syria’s diverse cultures, with thirty performers presenting Syrian secular and sacred music, poetry, short stories, and drama.
His current projects include working on a new composition, Sound Essence, for jazz quartet and Indonesian gamelan orchestra. He is also developing a new concept of a multi-sensory performance event where he will be collaborating with a fabric artist, chef, botanist, and technologists to create a novel concert where the audience will be presented music paired with related simultaneous experiences in all the senses – touch, smell, sight, and taste.
In 2021 he began working on writing a book of essays about music which will be published later this year by Fomite Press. These essays offer Michael Arnowitt’s insights about moments in his favorite pieces of piano and orchestral music along with anecdotes from his life as a touring concert pianist.
The internationally-known flutist and composer Louis Moyse said while in his 90’s:
“During my long musical career, I have met few really great artists in the various disciplines of the field and I am very pleased to name Michael Arnowitt, pianist and musician as one of them. He expresses his art on the highest level. I have great respect for his interpretations and his way to communicate to any audience his feelings through his love for music.”
Since 1997, Michael Arnowitt has maintained a website at www.MAPiano.com which contains a number of his writings on musical topics. He can be found on Facebook under his name and on Mastodon at @MAPiano.