Christian Zacharias, piano

Christian Zacharias

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The Shenson Piano Series is made possible by Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation

Sunday, February 16, 2014




Chopin piano concerto No. 2 by Christian Zacharias


BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata in A-flat Major, Opus 26, No. 12
SCHUBERT: Moments Musicaux, D780
SCHUMANN: Kreisleriana, Opus 16
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata in G Major, Opus 14, No. 2

About This Performance

Pianist and conductor Christian Zacharias brings a sweeping and charismatic understanding of music to everything he performs in what The New Yorker calls “as much of a self-exploration as a performance.” His profound thoughts about music and its myriad artistic and social contexts infuse and inform his every interpretation, making his recitals deeply satisfying experiences.

Artist Biography

The qualities that make Christian Zacharias one of the world’s most celebrated pianists have also enabled him to make his mark as a conductor, festival director, musical thinker, writer, and broadcaster: integrity married to individualism; deep musical insight matched by a sure poetic instinct; a brilliance in communication; a charismatic and commanding platform manner.

He first made his name as a pianist, continuing to appear in concerto and recital performances worldwide. He performs with the world’s leading conductors and conducts the most renowned orchestras; many of his recordings were awarded international prizes.

His tendency to embark on long musical journeys with kindred spirits is reflected in his work as conductor. Since 2000, Zacharias has been Principal Conductor of the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne and with them has made a number of critically acclaimed recordings, including works by Mozart, Schumann, Chopin, and Michael Haydn. Especially notable is their cycle of the complete Mozart piano concertos, which were awarded the Diapason d’Or and Choc du Monde de la Musique. Additionally, in 2010 Volume V (Piano Concertos K. 175, 246 and 488) and 2012 Volume VII (Piano Concertos K. 238, 415 and 451) has also been awarded the ECHO Classic. In August 2012, Volume IX (Piano Concertos K. 414 and 537), the last disc of this series, has been released. Other recent recordings with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne feature Robert Schumann's four symphonies.

Zacharias has been Principal Guest Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra since the 2002–03 season, and in 2009 became an “Artistic Partner” of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He enjoys long-term relationships with many orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra with which he appears regularly as guest. Most recently, he has embarked on an operatic career with productions of Mozart’s opera seria La Clemenza di Tito as well as his opera buffa Le nozze di Figaro and Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène. Since 1990 he has appeared in three films: Domenico Scarlatti in Sevilla, Robert Schumann—der Dichter spricht (INA, Paris) and Zwischen Bühne und Künstlerzimmer (WDR-Arte).

Zacharias’ career has been marked by many awards and prizes, including the 2007 Midem Classical Award “Artist of the Year” in Cannes. After having been awarded for his services to the culture in Romania in 2009, Christian Zacharias has recently been bestowed the highly honorable title of “Officier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French government. On the occasion of his 60th birthday in 2010, the Alte Oper Frankfurt arranged an “Artist's Portrait” of Christian Zacharias, which presented him as pianist, conductor, chamber musician, and as Lied accompanist with five concerts and three films. Renowned ensembles and colleagues appeared alongside him. Particularly noteworthy, Christian Zacharias appeared in recital in Carnegie Hall in New York in December 2011, the first German pianist to do so in over thirty years. Recitals in season 2012–13 are among other cities in Rome, Paris and London. 

During the 2012–13 season, Christian Zacharias appears with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra Manchester, Deutsche Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Orquesta Nacional de España and the Orchestre National de France as conductor and pianist. He also continues his close artistic cooperation with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, and with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Additionally he was appointed Artistic Director of the International Radio Orchestras’ Festival in Bucharest, which was launched for the first time in September 2012.

Since 2011 Christian Zacharias has been professor for orchestral performance at the Academy of Music and Drama Gothenburg.


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