Tuesday, May 21, 2019 | 7:30pm
Herbst TheatreVenue Information
BACH: Prelude in E-flat Major, BWV 552 (arr. Busoni); Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659 (arr. Busoni); Cantata No. 140: “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” ;arr. Busoni); Italian Concerto, BWV 971; Flute Sonata in E-flat Major, BWV 1031: II. Siciliano (arr. Kempff); Fugue in E-flat Major, BWV 552 (arr. Busoni)
DEBUSSY: Images, Book 2, L.111
RACHMANINOFF: Piano Sonata No.2 in B-flat minor, Op.36
This performance is supported in part by a generous gift from the Estate of Maxine D. Wallace.
About This Performance
Meticulous Swiss firebrand Francesco Piemontesi was a protégé of legendary pianists Murray Perahia and Alfred Brendel, whom he credits with teaching him to “love the detail of things.” Piemontesi brings a program of Bach, Debussy and Rachmaninoff for his San Francisco debut.
Francesco Piemontesi is a pianist of exceptional refinement of expression, which is allied to a consummate technical skill. Widely renowned for his interpretation of Mozart and the early Romantic repertoire, Piemontesi’s pianism and sensibility has a close affinity too with the later 19th century and 20th century repertoire of Brahms, Liszt, Dvořák, Ravel, Debussy, Bartók and beyond. Of one of his great teachers and mentors, Alfred Brendel, Piemontesi says that Brendel taught him “to love the detail of things”.
Francesco Piemontesi appears with major ensembles worldwide: Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, DSO and Berlin Radio Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, St Petersburg Philharmonic, London Symphony Orcherstra, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, The Hallé, Tonhalle-Orchestra Zurich, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de France, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Israel Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Dallas Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic.
He has performed with conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Nicholas Collon, Charles Dutoit, Sir Mark Elder, Iven Fischer, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Manfred Honeck, Marek Janowski, Neeme Järvi, Ton Koopman, Andrew Manze, Zubin Mehta, Sir Roger Norrington, Gianandrea Noseda, Sakari Oramo and Yuri Temirkanov.
Piemontesi is also a natural and keen chamber musician and plays with a variety of partners—Leif Ove Andsnes, Yuri Bashmet, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Emmanuel Pahud, Heinrich Schiff, Christian Tetzlaff, Tabea Zimmermann and the Emerson Quartet.
In solo recital, he has appeared in many prestigious venues including London’s Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Rotterdam De Doelen, Berlin Philharmonie, Zürich Tonhalle, Vienna Konzerthaus and Musikverein, Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York, and Suntory Hall Tokyo. In January 2016, Piemontesi launched his complete Mozart Odyssey at the Wigmore Hall, performing the sonatas in a series of recitals over the course of three seasons:
“[The D-major Fantasia] was a good introduction to Piemontesi’s balance between musical intelligence, judgement and intuition, which poured into his reading of the K284 Sonata… The detail of decoration and dynamics Piemontesi released in the penultimate section – a full-scale Adagio vocalise of great intensity – made Mozart’s supernatural eloquence soar”—Classical Source
Piemontesi has performed at the Verbier Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, La Roque d’Anthéron, Chopin International Music Festival in Warsaw, Lucerne Festival, Schubertiade, Aix-en-Provence Easter Festival, Rheingau and Schleswig-Holstein festivals and New York Mostly Mozart Festival.
Francesco Piemontesi has released a number of fine recordings, including three recordings for Naïve Classique: the Debussy Préludes, released in autumn 2015, Mozart Piano Works, and Schumann and Dvořák‘s Piano Concerti with BBC Symphony Orchestra and Jiří Bělohlávek. His recording of Mozart Piano Concertos Nos. 25 and 26 with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Andrew Manze were released on Linn Records in August 2017.
Born in Locarno, Francesco Piemontesi studied with Arie Vardi before working with Alfred Brendel, Murray Perahia, Cécile Ousset and Alexis Weissenberg. He rose to international prominence with prizes at several major competitions, including the 2007 Queen Elisabeth Competition, and between 2009-11 he was chosen as a BBC New Generation Artist.
Since 2012, Piemontesi has been the Artistic Director of the Settimane Musicali di Ascona.