Jörg WidmannClarinet
Gilles VonsattelPiano

Jörg Widmann


Due to an unexpected scheduling conflict, Jörg Widmann has cancelled his US tour, including his San Francisco appearance with Gilles Vonsattel.

Thursday, February 8, 2018 | 7:30pm

Herbst TheatreVenue Information



MENDELSSOHN: Clarinet Sonata
SCHUMANN: Fantasiestücke Op. 73
WEBER: Gran Duo Concertant
WIDMANN: Circus Dances (solo piano); Fünf Bruchstücke (clarinet and piano); Fantasie (solo clarinet)

Performance Sponsors

This presentation is made possible, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

About This Performance

Composer/clarinetist Jörg Widmann will perform his own works, which are often inspired by and quote from classical and Romantic composers and with pianist Gilles Vonsattel he will also explore works by Mendelssohn, Schumann and Weber.

Performer Biographies

Clarinetist, composer and conductor Jörg Widmann is one of the most versatile and intriguing artists of his generation. The 2016–17 season saw him appear as soloist with orchestras such as Mariinsky Orchestra, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Bamberger Symphoniker, London Chamber Orchestra and London Chamber Orchestra. In July 2017 he will feature as soloist on a tour with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under Kent Nagano.

In January 2017 Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie opened with the premiere of a new oratorio. Jörg Widmann was featured with an artist portrait in the hall’s first season, seeing him perform in a solo recital as well as a duo recital with Mitsuko Uchida and in a concert with the ensemble Resonanz.

Further residencies include Brussel’s BOZAR where Widmann will be featured as soloist with the Orchestre National Belgique under Xian Zhang, the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev and in a play-direct program with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. Further concerts in this residency include two recitals, as composer he is featured in two concerts with Ensemble Modern and the Orchestre National Belgique. As the Munich Chamber Orchestra’s artist in focus he will perform a play-direct program and his compositions will be performed in a portrait concerto.

Chamber music performances in the 2016–17 season included duo recitals with Mitsuko Uchida including the premiere of a new work for MU at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, a US recital tour with the Pacifica Quartet and recitals with the Hagen Quartet featuring the premiere of his new clarinet Quintet at Madrid’s Auditorio Nacional.

Amongst his regular chamber music partners are renowned soloists and ensembles such as Sir András Schiff, Daniel Barenboim, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Mitsuko Uchida, and the Hagen and Arcanto quartets.

Continuing his intense activities as conductor, Jörg Widmann will perform this season with the Kammerphilharmonie Potsdam and the Irish Chamber Orchestra with whom he will embark on a tour throughout Germany and Europe, of which he is Principal Guest Conductor.

A “wanderer between worlds” (Lucerne Festival), Swiss-born American pianist Gilles Vonsattel is an artist of extraordinary versatility and originality. Comfortable with and seeking out an enormous range of repertoire, Vonsattel displays a musical curiosity and sense of adventure that has gained him many admirers.

Recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and winner of the Naumburg and Geneva competitions as well as a Honens laureate, Vonsattel has in recent years made his Boston Symphony, Tanglewood, and San Francisco Symphony debuts, while performing recitals and chamber music at Ravinia, Tokyo’s Musashino Hall, Wigmore Hall, Bravo! Vail, Music@Menlo, the Gilmore festival, the Lucerne festival, and the Munich Gasteig. A recent New York solo recital was hailed as “tightly conceived and passionately performed…a study in intensity” by The New York Times. Gilles was the 2016 recipient of the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award, which is solely awarded to influential chamber pianists. Previous recipients include Jeremy Denk, Jonathan Biss, and Max Levinson.

Reengaged by the San Francisco Symphony, he has also appeared with the Warsaw Philharmonic, Calgary Philharmonic, Edmonton Symphony, l’Orchestre Symphonique du Québec, Boston Pops, Nashville Symphony, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Staatskapelle Halle, and L’orchestre de chambre de Genève. Chamber partners include musicians such as James Ehnes, Frank Huang, Nicolas Altstaedt, David Shifrin, David Finckel, Stefan Jackiw, Jörg Widmann, Gary Hoffman, Carter Brey, Anthony Marwood, Paul Neubauer, Paul Watkins, Phil Setzer, Emmanuel Pahud, Karen Gomyo, David Jolley, Ida Kavafian, and the Swiss Chamber Soloists. He has appeared in concert with the Pacifica, Orion, Ebène, Danish, Daedalus, Escher, and Borromeo Quartets.

Deeply committed to the performance of contemporary works, Vonsattel has premiered numerous works both in the United States and Europe and worked closely with notable composers such as Jörg Widmann, Heinz Holliger, and George Benjamin.

Vonsattel’s 2011 recording for the Honens/Naxos label of music by Debussy, Honegger, Holliger, and Ravel was named one of Time Out New York’s classical albums of the year, while a 2014 release on GENUIN/Artist Consort received a 5/5 from FonoForum and international critical praise. His most recent album includes the music of Scarlatti, Webern, Messiaen, Debussy, and George Benjamin's Shadowlines and was released to great acclaim, with The New York Times calling it a “mesmerizing” album in which Vonsattel traced an “intelligent and imaginative path” throughout the pieces.

His latest projects include the Berg Kammerkonzert with the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, a tour with Jörg Widmann and the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Mozart concerti with the Vancouver Symphony and Florida Orchestra, performances at Seoul's LG Arts Centre and at the Beijing Modern Music Festival, as well as multiple appearances internationally and throughout the United States with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center performing music ranging from Beethoven and Dvorak, to Lachenmann.

Mr. Vonsattel received his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Columbia University and his master’s degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal. He is on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and makes his home in New York City. Gilles Vonsattel is a Steinway Artist.

Jörg Widmann and Valery Gergiev—Mozart Clarinet Concerto