Recognized as one of the outstanding harpsichordists of his generation, Jory Vinikour has cultivated a highly-diversified career that takes him to the world’s most important festivals, concert halls, and opera houses as recitalist and concerto soloist, partner to many of today’s finest instrumental and vocal artists, coach, and conductor.
Born in Chicago, Jory journeyed to Paris to study with Huguette Dreyfus and Kenneth Gilbert, facilitated by a Fulbright scholarship. First Prizes in the International Harpsichord Competitions of Warsaw (1993) and the Prague Spring Festival (1994) brought him to the public’s attention, and he has since appeared in festivals and concert series throughout much of the world.
A concerto soloist with a repertoire ranging from Bach to Poulenc to Nyman, he has performed with leading orchestras including Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonic of Radio France, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, MDR Symphony Orchestra, Cape Town Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, with conductors such as Stéphane Denève, Martin Haselböck, Marek Janowski, Armin Jordan, Benjamin Levy, Fabio Luisi, Marc Minkowski, John Nelson, Gordan Nikolic, Constantine Orbelian, Victor Yampolsky, et al. He participated in a recording of Frank Martin’s Petite Symphonie Concertante with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Armin Jordan (Suisse Romande, 2005).
Widely acclaimed as an accompanist, he has worked extensively with artists such as Hélène Delavault, Vivica Genaux, Magdalena Kožená, Annick Massis, Marijana Mijanovic, Dorothea Röschmann, and Rolando Villazón. He has accompanied legendary Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter in recitals in Sweden, Norway, Spain, and Paris, as well as at Milan’s storied Teatro alla Scala. With lutenist Jakob Lindberg, their programme of English and Italian music of the Seventeenth Century, entitled Music for a While, was released by Deutsche Grammophon in early 2005.
As an active exponent of contemporary repertoire for the harpsichord, he has given the premieres of works written specially for him by composers including Harold Meltzer, Frédéric Durieux, Stephen Blumberg, Patricia Morehead, and Graham Lynch. He has also given important performances of works by Ligeti and Michael Nyman, as well as several Twentieth-Century concerti, including Cyril Scott’s 1937 Harpsichord Concerto, which Jory prepared and edited for Novello Editions. Sono Luminus released Toccatas, his recording of modern American harpsichord works, in late 2013.
Jory appears regularly as harpsichordist at the finest opera houses and festivals in Europe: Paris Opera, Netherlands Opera, Salzburg Festival, Teatro Real de Madrid, Baden-Baden, Glyndebourne, etc. in Baroque and Classical repertoire, as well as in more contemporary works (notably Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten) and is heard on many recordings from Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Erato, Sony Classics et al., including critically-acclaimed DGG recordings of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, and La clemenza di Tito, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In July 2018, he played fortepiano continuo and glockenspiel for the next installment in Nézet-Séguin’s Mozart cycle, Die Zauberflöte, scheduled for release in 2019.
His recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, released on Delos International in 2001, received excellent reviews throughout the world. John von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune named it as one of 2001’s Top Ten Classical CDs, an honor that was also accorded to Jory’s recording of Bach’s Toccatas in 1999. His 2009 Delos release of Händel’s 1720 Suites for Harpsichord has received wide critical acclaim, American Record Guide naming it the finest recording of these works. Partnering with flautist Joshua Smith, their recording of Bach’s Sonatas for flute and harpsichord garnered attention from around the world. His debut recording for Sono Luminus, the Complete Harpsichord Works of Jean-Philippe Rameau, was nominated for a 2012 GRAMMY® award in the category of Best Classical Solo Instrumental Recording. Jory received a second GRAMMY® nomination for his Sono Luminous disc Toccatas. His impressive discography has continued to expand with critically-praised titles including a Delos recording of Padre Antonio Soler’s Six Concerti for two keyboards with Philippe LeRoy. His Sono Luminus recording of Bach’s Partitas for solo harpsichord (BWV 825 – 830) was released on 18 November 2016.
In January and February 2019, Jory conducted a double-bill of Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne and Der Schauspieldirektor at Salzburg’s Mozartwoche, at the invitation of Rolando Villazón. His operatic work continued when he led Florentine Opera’s March 2019 production of Claudio Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea. He then traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area for performances Händel’s Saul with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Nicholas McGegan before returning to his native Chicago to play Bach’s Sonatas for violin and harpsichord with Rachel Barton Pine. In May 2019, he joined Orchester Wiener Akademie and Martin Haselböck for a performance of Poulenc’s Concert champêtre in Vienna’s storied Musikverein. In Summer 2019, he returned to North America for appearances in Montréal, at the Aspen and Ravinia Festivals, and Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, and he rejoined Rachel Barton Pine in a performance of music by Bach in Washington’s National Gallery of Art on 6 October. In November 2019, he conducted Ars Minerva’s modern-première production of Domenico Freschi’s opera Ermelinda in San Francisco. December found him in Minnesota’s Twin Cities to conduct performances of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti and Händel’s Messiah.
In March 2018, Jory made his much-anticipated début with The Cleveland Orchestra as harpsichord soloist in performances of Francis Poulenc’s Concert champêtre, of which work he is a noted champion and to which he returned in two performances with Saarländisches Staatsorchester in November 2018.
In December 2017, Jory débuted with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on the podium—and at the keyboard—for three performances of music by Corelli, Marcello, Torelli, and Vivaldi, featuring soloists Avi Avital (mandolin) and Jelena Dirks (oboe). He welcomed 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he led Florentine Opera’s double bill of Blow’s Venus and Adonis and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
Jory made his operatic conducting début on 6 August 2016, leading West Edge Opera’s [Berkeley, California] production of Georg Friedrich Händel’s Agrippina, staged at Oakland’s abandoned Sixteenth Street Station, and he led Chicago Opera Theater’s production of Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen in November 2016. In December 2016, he led Aberfoyle Baroque’s unique presentation of The Art of the Fugue – The Opera. Capitol Opera Richmond’s production of Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne brought him to Richmond, Virginia, for performances in February and March 2017. In August 2017, Jory conducted soprano Verónica Cangemi and Camerata Bariloche in a concert featuring music by Händel and Mozart, presented in Buenos Aires’s Centro Cultural Kirchner.
Other recent engagements include his début as conductor/soloist with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, as well as an appearance with Lyric Opera of Chicago in Händel’s Rinaldo, for which he earned exceptional praise from the press. He performed Poulenc’s Concert Champêtre with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Benjamin Levy. Jory directed the Korea Chamber Orchestra (Seoul) in an all-Bach programme in May 2012, was guest director of Perm, Russia-based musicAeterna in a mixed programme, and co-directed, alongside violinist Monica Huggett, Juilliard415 Baroque Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Jory has given masterclasses for Rocky Ridge Music Center in Colorado; the Austrian Baroque Academy in Gmunden, Austria; the European Academy at the Palazzo Ricci Montepulciano; the University of Chicago; the Gnessin Academy; and the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory.
An extension of his widely-respected endeavors as both harpsichordist and conductor, Jory’s advocacy for historically-informed performance practices and expanding access to world-class performances of Early Music is manifested in his founding and leadership of Great Lakes Baroque, an organization committed to bringing Baroque music to metropolitan Milwaukee.