Jay Gottlieb was born in New York, where he was an honours graduate of the High School of Performing Arts while simultaneously studying at the Juilliard School. He received a Master of Arts degree from Harvard University, where he performed and organized concerts and taught piano, composition and harmony.
He worked closely for many years in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, pianists Robert Casadesus, Yvonne Loriod and Aloys Kontarsky, and composers Lukas Foss, Stefan Wolpe, Olivier Messiaen, Maurice Ohana, Georges Aperghis, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, Sylvano Bussotti, John Cage, George Crumb, György Ligeti, Betsy Jolas, Oliver Knussen, Giacinto Scelsi and Ralph Shapey.
Jay Gottlieb is a Laureate of the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation. He has received a Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, the Lili Boulanger Memorial Prize, a French Government Grant, First Prize in the International Improvisation Competition in Lyons, the Festival Estival de France Prize and a Master Award for Excellence in Performance at the Berkshire Music Festival.
He has taken part in such music festivals as Berlin, Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Cologne, Rome, Milan, Turin, the Biennale of Venice, Amsterdam, Aldeburgh, Almeida (London), Huddersfield, Extasis (Geneva), Zurich, Madrid, Seville, Autumn Festival in Warsaw, Autumn Festival in Paris, La Roque d'Anthéron, Musica in Strasburg, Octobre en Normandie, Manca in Nice, Avignon, Les Musiques in Marseille, Piano aux Jacobins in Toulouse, Lille, Orléans, Bourges, Metz, Nancy, International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York, Montreal and Macao.
Jay Gottlieb has appeared as soloist in the United States with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, National Music Week Symphony, Pierre Monteux Domain Orchestra and the Group for Contemporary Music in New York, in China with the National Symphony of China, in Great Britain with the London Sinfonietta, in Switzerland with the Orchestre du Rhin, in Germany with the Hessicher Rundfunk Orchestra, in Italy with the Orchestra della R.A.I., in France with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, L'Orchestre Symphonique d'Europe, L'Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, the Polish National Radio Orchestra, members of the Orchestre de Paris and with various French ensembles including Musique Vivante, Ars Nova, Itinéraire, Alternance, 2e2m, Denojours, the Percussions de Strasbourg, the Contemporary Chorus and Musicatreize, Accentus. He has worked with such conductors as Pierre Boulez, Seiji Ozawa, Kent Nagano, Michael Tilson Thomas, Aaron Copland, Lukas Foss, Gunther Schuller, Robert Craft, Gilbert Amy, Arturo Tamayo, Paul Méfano, Diego Masson, Michel Plasson, Pascal Rophé, Ronald Zollman and Laurence Equilbey.
Jay Gottlieb has concertized extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Asia and Africa, and has made numerous appearances on major radio and television stations. He has produced several series of broadcasts for France-Musique and France-Culture devoted entirely to American music. He continues to give lectures, lecture-concerts and master classes on aspects of twentieth- and twenty-first-century music. He is regularly invited by the Paris Conservatorium to serve as a jury member for their Piano Examinations, as he does for the Music School of Indiana University in Bloomington, the Juilliard School and the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York, the Ecole Normale and Schola Cantorum in Paris and the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau. He is also a jury member of several international piano competitions, and is Chairman of the Jury for the International Contemporary Piano Competition for Youth in Fribourg, Switzerland. In 2006 he was appointed to the Advisory Board of the Swiss Global Artistic Foundation, for which he is a regular performer and speaker.
At the Centre Acanthes of the Avignon Festival (along with Boulez, Dutilleux and Xenakis) he has given lectures, master classes and a recital in which he premiered Alessandro Solbiati's Piano Sonata. Jay Gottlieb has given and continues to give many world premieres, often of works written for and dedicated to him. Examples are the Etudes of Magnus Lindberg and music by Poul Ruders, Gilbert Amy, Maurice Ohana, Oscar Strasnoy (an on-going series under the banner International Etudes), Gemelli by Sylvano Bussotti, Voyants by Barbara Kolb (premiered in the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris), Jay for piano and seven brass instruments by Franco Donatoni, (premiered at the Pompidou Center in Paris), the Piano Concerto by Ivar Frounberg (premiered in the Amplitudes Festival in Copenhagen), the Piano Concerto by Antonio Chagas Rosa, the Concerto-Fantaisie by Betsy Jolas, the Piano Concerto by Régis Campo, Premier Livre Pour Piano, also by Régis Campo, Jazz Connotation by Bruno Mantovani, Volubile by Yan Maresz, 32 For Piano by Stuart MacRae, Trinity by Lukas Ligeti and Temps posés, temps mélés by Benoît Delbecq.
Future premieres include a Piano Concerto by the Australian composer Gerard Brophy and a Concerto for Piano and the Percussions de Strasbourg by the Argentinian composer Oscar Strasnoy.
Jay Gottlieb is the author of a comprehensive series of articles on twentieth-century piano music for Piano Magazine, and is co-author of Ten Years with the Piano of the Twentieth Century, published in Paris by the Cité de la Musique.
He recorded the soundtracks for the films La Discrète by Christian Vincent and Sonate by George Allez. He has recorded for Philips, RCA, CRI, Harmonia Mundi, Auvidis, Pianovox-Sony, Ogam, Erato, Milan, Universal, Salabert-Actuels, Opus111, Aeon and Signature (Radio-France). His recordings of music by John Adams, Philip Glass, John Cage and Charles Ives were awarded the "Choc" in Le Monde de la Musique in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001 respectively, while in January 2001 his John Cage recording won a "Diapason d'Or". He was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque by the French Recording Academy in 1995, 2002, 2004 and 2005.
Jay Gottlieb has been selected to represent the USA worldwide through the Arts America Program of the USIA, a division of the State Department. His name is included in The World Who's Who of Musicians, Who's Who in American Music, American Keyboard Artists and Outstanding Young Men of America.