“Steinway is the only piano that allows me to project the sound I wish for and beyond - it gives the absolute feeling of security when playing it.”
Engage, inspire, connect. These are the pillars guiding world-renowned pianist and Steinway artist Yaron Kohlberg every day. Kohlberg ignites audiences through traditional and nontraditional performances, develops creative programming, and supports emerging artists, making him a leader and innovator in the world of classical music.
While those crowds are often found in famous venues (Carnegie Hall, the Kremlin, Beijing’s Forbidden City, Kennedy Center, and Mexico City’s Bellas Artes are some of the iconic auditoriums he has performed as soloist), Kohlberg reaches beyond the concert-going public to engage new audiences with classical music in atypical places – a street piano in Singapore, a hotel lobby in Marrakech, a community center in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. It is in these unexpected performances where he crosses cultural divides and awakens listeners to new experiences.
Kohlberg often combines storytelling and transcriptions of popular tunes with traditional classical masterpieces, thrilling audiences and critics with his virtuosity and unique quality of sound. NPR raved, “When the music ends, if you’re not deeply moved by the depth of Kohlberg’s insight, you might want to check your pulse.” Audience favorites include Carmen, the theme songs from the Pulp Fiction and Mission Impossible soundtracks, “Hava Nagila” and the children’s song “The Most Beautiful Girl in Kindergarten.”
Winner of 10 international prizes and the 2007 silver medalist of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, Kohlberg is President of Piano Cleveland, the organizing body of the CIPC. Original programming he has co-created includes the upcoming Artist Development Program, an enrichment and professional development program for top-tier young pianists; The Listening Series, an in-person and virtual event that takes audiences from the couch to the concert hall as musicians take a deep dive into their work; and Virtu(al)oso, a global piano competition that raised more than $75,000 to support pianists during the pandemic. Articles about his creative ideas have been featured in several of the best classical music publications, including Pianist Magazine, Musical America, and The World of Piano Competitions magazine.
Kohlberg and his friend Bishara Haroni comprise the successful Israeli-Palestinian group, Duo Amal. They have performed world-wide, including at Geneva’s UN Hall, a remarkable example of the power of music to overcome cultural differences. The Vatican took notice, and invited them to perform for the Pope in 2020, which has been postponed due to Covid.
Forging connections through collaboration is a hallmark of Kohlberg’s work. He has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestras, the Beijing and Chengdu Symphony Orchestras, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, and the Palermo Teatro Massimo Orchestra in Italy, working with conductors Thomas Sondergard, Jahja Ling, Roman Kofman, En Shao, Steven Byess and Ryan McAdams. He has also collaborated with the Limón Dance company, cellists Toke Møldrup and Nicholas Altstaedt, pianists Yeol Eum Son and Dong Hyek Lim, choreographer and dancer Jin Xing, rock star Shlomi Shaban, composer Alexey Kurbatov and the Ariel String Quartet. He was also artistic director of a cover band concert tour of his beloved alternative rock group, Radiohead.
In addition to co-leading Piano Cleveland, performing, and serving on international competition juries, Kohlberg also lectures and conducts masterclasses at leading institutions around the world. He speaks six languages, including Mandarin Chinese, has lived on three continents, and traveled to 85 countries. Immersing himself in other cultures and forging strong relationships with people from all over the world has inspired Kohlberg to dedicate his life to sharing the beauty of his greatest passion, the piano.