Leif Ove AndsnesPiano
Tuesday, April 25, 2017 | 7:30pm
Herbst TheatreVenue Information
MOZART: Larghetto and Allegro in E-flat Major
STRAVINSKY: Concerto for Two Pianos; The Rite of Spring
DEBUSSY: En Blanc et Noir
About This Performance
This two-pianos/four-hands recital is the unmissable event of the season. Separately, these two giants of the keyboard are formidable and beloved artists. Together—in what has been called a “music world bromance”—the combined talents of these frequent collaborators and friends create an exhilarating experience.
“Is it possible for a pianist to be too good? If anyone faces jeopardy with that question, it’s Marc-André Hamelin.”
—The New York Times
“Andsnes has entered an elite circle of pianistic stardom…When he sits in front of the keyboard…extraordinary things happen.”
—The New York Times
The New York Times has called Leif Ove Andsnes “a pianist of magisterial elegance, power, and insight.” With his commanding technique and searching interpretations, the celebrated Norwegian pianist has won acclaim worldwide; the Wall Street Journal named him “one of the most gifted musicians of his generation.” Andsnes gives recitals and plays concertos in the world’s leading concert halls and with its foremost orchestras, besides being an active recording artist. An avid chamber musician, he served as co-artistic director of the Risor Festival of Chamber Music for nearly two decades, and was music director of California’s 2012 Ojai Music Festival. He was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame in July 2013.
This fall sees the release of Concerto—A Beethoven Journey, a documentary by award-winning British director and filmmaker Phil Grabsky that chronicles Andsnes’s epic four-season focus on the master composer’s music for piano and orchestra, which took him to 108 cities in 27 countries for more than 230 live performances. Highlights of the coming season also include major European and North American solo recital tours with a program of Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin, and Sibelius, as well as Schumann and Mozart concerto collaborations in the USA with the Chicago, Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras. In Europe Andsnes will perform with orchestras including the Bergen Philharmonic, Zurich Tonhalle, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra. The pianist also looks forward to touring Brahms’s Three Piano Quartets with his frequent musical partner, Christian Tetzlaff, together with Tabea Zimmermann and Clemens Hagen.
Last season brought the conclusion of The Beethoven Journey, perhaps Andsnes’s most ambitious achievement to date. With the Mahler Chamber Orchestra—his fellow traveler since the project’s inception—he led complete Beethoven concerto cycles from the keyboard in high-profile residencies in Bonn, Hamburg, Lucerne, Vienna, Paris, New York, Shanghai, Tokyo, Bodø and London, taking on further Beethoven collaborations with such world-class ensembles as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, London Philharmonic, and Munich Philharmonic. In 201314, in addition to a wealth of Beethoven Journey orchestral engagements, he undertook a 19-city solo recital tour of the U.S., Europe, and Japan, presenting an all-Beethoven program at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Chicago’s Symphony Center, as well as in Princeton, Atlanta, London, Vienna, Berlin, Rome, Tokyo, and more.
The pianist’s partnership with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra was also captured on disc; The Beethoven Journey, their hit recording series for Sony Classical, proved a resounding success. The first volume, featuring Beethoven’s First and Third concertos, was named iTunes’ Best Instrumental Album of 2012 and awarded Belgium’s Prix Caecilia; the second, a coupling of the Second and Fourth, was recognized with BBC Music magazine’s coveted “2015 Recording of the Year Award”; and the third, offering accounts of the Fifth (“Emperor”) and “Choral Fantasy,” was hailed in a five-star review as “performances of arresting maturity, stylistic acumen and utter delight” (Telegraph, UK). Issued together as a boxed set, the series was chosen as one of the “Best of 2014” by the New York Times and Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Andsnes now records exclusively for Sony Classical. His previous discography comprises more than 30 discs for EMI Classics—solo, chamber, and concerto releases, many of them bestsellers—spanning repertoire from the time of Bach to the present day. He has been nominated for eight Grammys and awarded many international prizes, including six Gramophone Awards. His recordings of the music of his compatriot Edvard Grieg have been especially celebrated: the New York Times named Andsnes’s 2004 recording of Grieg’s Piano Concerto with Mariss Jansons and the Berlin Philharmonic a “Best CD of the Year,” the Penguin Guide awarded it a coveted “Rosette,” and both that album and his disc of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces won Gramophone Awards. His recording of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 9 and 18 was another New York Times “Best of the Year” and Penguin Guide “Rosette” honoree. He won yet another Gramophone Award for Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 with Antonio Pappano and the Berlin Philharmonic. A series of recordings of Schubert’s late sonatas, paired with lieder sung by Ian Bostridge, inspired lavish praise, as did the pianist’s world-premiere recordings of Marc-André Dalbavie’s Piano Concerto and Bent Sorensen’s The Shadows of Silence, both of which were written for him.
Andsnes has received Norway’s distinguished honor, Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. In 2007, he received the prestigious Peer Gynt Prize, awarded by members of parliament to honor prominent Norwegians for their achievements in politics, sports, and culture. He is the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist Award and the Gilmore Artist Award, and, saluting his many achievements, Vanity Fair named Andsnes one of the “Best of the Best” in 2005.
Leif Ove Andsnes was born in Karmøy, Norway in 1970, and studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory under the renowned Czech professor Jirí Hlinka. He has also received invaluable advice from the Belgian piano teacher Jacques de Tiège who, like Hlinka, has greatly influenced his style and philosophy of playing. He currently lives in Bergen and in June 2010 achieved one of his proudest accomplishments to date, becoming a father for the first time. His family expanded in May 2013 with the welcome arrival of twins.
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin is now ranked among the elect of world pianists for his unrivalled blend of musicianship and virtuosity in the great works of the established repertoire, as well as for his intrepid exploration of the rarities of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries—in concert and on disc.
In the 2015–2016 season, Mr. Hamelin was a featured artist in solo recital on the coveted Keyboard Virtuoso Series at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium in January 2016. He returned to Carnegie Hall for a performance of Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and conductor Iván Fischer in February 2016, part of a North American tour that also brought Mr. Hamelin and the BFO to the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and Maison Symphonique in Montréal. Mr. Hamelin collaborated with the London Philharmonic and Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski, performing with them on tour at Frankfurt’s Alte Oper in September 2015 (Liszt’s Totentanz and Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody) and joining them again in March 2016 for performances and recordings of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Nikolai Medtner’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in London and Eastbourne. Further orchestral highlights included Mr. Hamelin’s debut with the Filharmonica della Scala in Milan, and the British premiere performances of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Piano Concerto (which was written for Mr. Hamelin) with the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester. Mr. Hamelin also appeared with the Edmonton, Los Angeles Chamber, Manitoba, National Arts Centre, Quebec, San Diego, and Toronto Symphony orchestras, as well as the Berlin Radio Symphony, the Lucerne Symphony and the Orchestra Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana in repertoire ranging from Mozart to Brahms, Ravel and Messiaen.
In recital, Mr. Hamelin performs for Chicago Symphony Presents, the Van Cliburn, Spivey Hall, ProMusica Montreal, Music Toronto, and the Green Center in Sonoma. European recitals include Munich, DeSingel in Antwerp, Moscow State Philharmonic Society, Perugia, Heidelberg Festival, Bilbao, and the Salzburg Mozarteum, as well as a three-concert residency at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, featuring two solo recitals and a concert with the ASKO/Schönberg Ensemble.
The 2014–15 season saw Mr. Hamelin touring across the United States and Europe, including recitals at Wigmore Hall in London, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Moscow International Performing Arts Center, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Princeton University, and Koerner Hall in Toronto. After his February 21, 2015 recital at New York’s 92nd Street Y, which featured the New York premiere of Mr. Hamelin’s own work Chaconne, he was praised by David Allen of The New York Times (February 22, 2015) as the “emperor of the keyboard,” known for his “lordly refinement” and “startling power” and the “silken gloss and impossibly pellucid touch” of his playing. In his review of Mr. Hamelin’s December 2014 Munich recital, Klaus P. Richter in the Süddeutsche Zeitung called his interpretation of Schubert’s great B-flat major Sonata D. 960 “a Schubert event of tremendous poignancy” and a “magical psychological drama.”
This past summer, Mr. Hamelin joined the BBC Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Ravel’s Left Hand Piano Concerto at the BBC Proms and repeated the same work at the Colorado Music Festival. Mr. Hamelin collaborated with distinguished colleagues at the Montreal and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festivals; he also performed solo recitals at both festivals, as well as at the International Keyboard institute and Festival in New York City, Cheltenham Festival (UK), Klavierfestival Ruhr, Klavierfestival Berlin, Rockport Music Festival, and Festival Cully Classique in Switzerland.
Highlights of Mr. Hamelin’s solo performances with orchestra in 2014–15 included performances of both Brahms Concertos with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra; a birthday concert for Michael Tilson Thomas with the San Francisco Symphony, where his fellow guests included Emmanuel Ax, Yuja Wang, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Jeremy Denk; and the American premiere performances of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Piano Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra. For his debut performances with the Cleveland Orchestra with Haydn’s D-Major Piano Concerto in April and May, Mr. Hamelin’s playing was praised as “the very paragon of Classical purity, a fount of crisp, sparkling passages” (Cleveland Plain-Dealer, May 1, 2015). Further orchestral engagements included performances with the Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Torino (Italy), the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National Bordeaux (France), Oregon Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic under Charles Dutoit (UK), and the Seattle Symphony. In March 2015, Mr. Hamelin joined Les Violons du Roy for a concert tour through Canada and the US; he has also performed Franck’s Quintet in F minor with the Takács Quartet in California and the United Kingdom..
After his June 2015 performance of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with the New Jersey Symphony, James Oestreich wrote in The New York Times:
Mr. Hamelin continues his triumphant march through the standard repertory…The “Emperor” Concerto, for all its musical substance, offers ample scope for virtuosity, and Mr. Hamelin showed his usual easy command in a reading as notable for its exquisite pianissimos and beautifully shaped phrases as for its Beethovenian bluster. —June 8, 2015
In recognition of his remarkable discography, Mr. Hamelin was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame in June 2015. Also awarded the 2006 lifetime achievement prize by the German Record Critic’s Award (Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik), Mr. Hamelin has recorded some 70 CDs for the Hyperion label, most recently a double disc of Mozart Sonatas and two recordings with the Takács Quartet featuring the piano quintets by Shostakovich and Leo Ornstein. His recording of John Adams’s Grand Pianola Music, with the composer conducting fellow pianist Orli Shaham, Synergy Vocals, and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, was released in August 2014 on SFS Media. Further highlights of Mr. Hamelin’s recent discography include a CD devoted to Schumann’s Kinderszenen and Waldszenen and Janáček’s On the Overgrown Path, which was listed as CD of the Month in both Gramophone and BBC Music magazines. His recording of Busoni’s Late Piano Works received the 2014 Echo Award of “Instrumentalist of the Year (Piano)” and “Disc of the Year” by two leading French journals, Diapason and Classica. Mr. Hamelin’s discography ranges from the neglected masterpieces of Alkan, Ives, Medtner and Roslavets to brilliantly received performances of Schumann, Brahms, Chopin, and Debussy. A series of recordings of Haydn sonatas and concertos was particularly well-received, putting Mr. Hamelin on “the shortlist of most revelatory Haydn interpreters on record” (BBC Music Magazine, June 2015).
In 2010 Mr. Hamelin joined the ranks on CD of noted composer-pianists by releasing his own highly inventive 12 Etudes in all the minor keys on the Hyperion label and with publication by Edition Peters. Mr. Hamelin has since performed his own compositions around the world, to great critical acclaim. His Pavane variée was commissioned for the ARD Music Competition in Munich, where it was the obligatory piece for the 2014 piano competition. After a recent performance in Hamburg, reviewer Marcus Stäbler wrote in the Hamburger Abendblatt:
The highlight of this celebrated solo recital, however, was the second half with Hamelin’s own works, in which he showed his sense of color and his formidable precision doubly—for example in the ravishing Pavane variée from 2014, which varies a simple Renaissance love song, lacing it with wildly glittering arpeggios and bathing it in harmonies of sensual luminosity. Hamelin not only plays faster than his own shadow, he can also tenderly caress the keys and tease sweet melodies out of the piano. Pianism in perfection. —June 28, 2015
Winner of the 1985 Carnegie Hall Competition, Marc-André Hamelin was born in Montreal. He began to play the piano at the age of five, and by the age of nine had already won top prize in the Canadian Music Competition. Mr. Hamelin's father, a pharmacist by trade who was also a keen pianist, had introduced him to the works of Alkan, Medtner and Sorabji when he was still very young. Mr. Hamelin’s principal teachers included Gilles Hamelin, Yvonne Hubert, Harvey Wedeen and Russell Sherman; he studied at the École Vincent d'Indy in Montreal and then at Temple University in Philadelphia. An Officer of the Order of Canada since 2003 and a Chevalier de l’Ordre du Québec since 2004, Mr. Hamelin is also a member of the Royal Society of Canada and features prominently in the book The Composer-Pianists: Hamelin and the Eight by Robert Rimm, published by Amadeus Press. Born in Montreal, Mr. Hamelin makes his home in the Boston area.