Rafał Blechacz, piano

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

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
7:30pm
SFJAZZ Center
$68/$55/$40

RafaŁ Blechacz:: Chopin Polonaises Album Trailer

Program

BACH: “Italian” Concerto, BWV 971
BEETHOVEN: Sonata in C minor, Opus 13 “Pathetique”
CHOPIN: Nocturne in E Major, Opus 62, No. 2; 3 Waltzes, Opus 64;
3 Mazurkas, Opus 56; Polonaise in F-sharp minor, Opus 44

Encores:
BEETHOVEN: Scherzo (3rd mov’t) from Piano Sonata in A Major, Op. 2, No. 2
CHOPIN: Prelude in A Major, Op. 28, No. 7

About This Performance

This young pianist electrified the music world when he swept all prizes in the International Chopin Competition in his native Poland in 2005, the first pianist to do so. The January 2014 announcement that he had won the coveted Gilmore Award—the piano equivalent of the MacArthur “genius” grants—only validated the maturation of a great talent. Blechacz makes his San Francisco Performances debut with a program that reveals all of his poetic lyricism.

Artist Biography

Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz has established himself firmly on the international concert scene and is celebrated by both the audience and the press worldwide for his profound and virtuosic interpretations. In 2005, uncontested, Rafał Blechacz won all prizes of the prestigious 15th Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition.

Rafał Blechacz has performed with renowned orchestras such as the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, NDR Hamburg, Bremen Chamber Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestra dell ‘Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He gives recitals in major concert halls such as the Philharmonie Berlin, Herculesaal in Munich, Liederhalle Stuttgart, Salle Pleyel in Paris and London’s Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, La Scala Milan, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Tonhalle in Zurich, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Suntory Hall Tokyo and New York’s Avery Fisher Hall.

In the 2013–14 season Rafał Blechacz gives his debut with the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under the baton of Cornelius Meister and he will be guest at the Musikverein in Vienna with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Alain Altinoglu. He returns to the Accademia di Santa Caecilia under the baton of Kent Nagano. Recitals lead him to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Porto, Madrid, the Musikfest Bremen and the Ruhr Piano Festival and to Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich, Ludwigshafen and Brussels BOZAR. In addition, he is a soloist on an extensive tour of Germany with the Helsinki Philharmonic Ochestra under the baton of John Storgårds in February 2014. Further afield he tours with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and gives recitals in Seattle, Portland (OR) and for the Gilmore Foundation, Kalamazoo (MI).

Rafał Blechacz is an exclusive recording artist of Deutsche Grammophon becoming only the second Polish artist, after Kyrstian Zimerman, to have enlisted under the prestigious label. His debut CD for DG of Chopin Preludes won the Platinum Record status in his native Poland, a German Echo Klassik and French Diapason D’or award. Honoring the Chopin year in 2010, he recorded both concerti with the Concertgebouw Orchestra under the baton of Jerzy Semkow. It won the “Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik” and after its release in Poland, quickly reached double Platinum Record status. In Spring 2012, his recording of works by Debussy and Szymanowski was released winning “Recording of the Month” from Gramophone magazine and the “Echo Klassik” 2012 in the category “Solo Recording of the Year”. At the beginning of this season he will add yet another Chopin disc to his discography  with his recording of the Chopin polonaises.

Born in 1985, Blechacz began his piano lessons at the age of five continuing his piano education in the Artur Rubinstein State School of Music in Bydgoszcz. In May 2007, he graduated from the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, the piano class of Professor Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń. In July 2010, he received the prestigious Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Italy), awarded annually by an international jury of music critics to young musicians for their outstanding artistic achievements.

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