A season of recitals for Andsnes

The celebrated Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes will be busy throughout the spring with a series of recitals on two continents.

Leif Ove Andsnes portrett 2006 (foto: Simon Fowler)

The celebrated Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes will be busy throughout the spring with a series of recitals on two continents, beginning in early April with performances in two of Europe’s most famous halls: Vienna’s Musikverein (April 5) and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw (April 9). Later in the month Andsnes will return to the United States for solo recitals in St. Paul (April 27), Kalamazoo (April 28), San Francisco – his solo debut in Davies Hall (April 30) and at New York’s Town Hall (May 7). With the English tenor Ian Bostridge Andsnes will also give two duo recitals: in Los Angeles at Walt Disney Concert Hall (May 3), and at Zankel Hall in New York (May 6) as part of Bostridge’s Carnegie Hall “Perspectives” series.

Beethoven’s Opus 110 Piano Sonata will be a central component of many of Andsnes’s spring recital programs. Andsnes notes:

“I played this sonata when I was 17 in my debut recital in Norway. I didn’t understand much at that time about the layers of the music then, but I was fascinated by it. It is one of the composer’s great late sonatas, and I think I can bring so much more to it now. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve been playing and recording a lot of Schubert in recent seasons, and I’m very excited to do late Beethoven now.”

Mussorgsky’s richly colorful “Pictures at an Exhibition” will also figure prominently on Andsnes’s spring recital programs. Andsnes played the work at Carnegie Hall as part of his seven-event “Perspectives” series last year and received enthusiastic acclaim. Critic Jay Nordlinger called it “simply ... boffo” in his New York Sun review: “Musically and technically, it was inarguable…You are lucky to hear Mussorgsky's work played that well on the piano in your lifetime.”

In addition to his busy touring schedule, Andsnes will make time in the coming months to finish two solo albums for EMI Classics, his exclusive recording company. In April Andsnes will continue his acclaimed series of Schubert recordings, setting down the composer’s Piano Sonata in C minor D 958. As he did in the three previous recordings in the series, Andsnes will pair the sonata with songs sung by Ian Bostridge, in this case four complete songs and three song fragments. Andsnes and Bostridge will perform these song fragments – along with three fragments for solo piano – at their recitals together in Los Angeles and New York in May. Reviewing an earlier installment in the CD series (Piano Sonata in A Major, D.959 and four songs) for the Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein called Andsnes’s performances “Schubert playing of the highest order throughout.” Von Rhein also noted, “It's good to know that further Schubert collaborations are in the offing from these artists.”

Later in the spring, Andsnes will put the finishing touches on a very personal solo CD, Horizons, featuring nearly two dozen short piano works by a wide variety of composers. These works, which Andsnes often performs as encores at his recitals, carry a special importance for Andsnes: they are works he discovered at significant times in his career, tributes to teachers and other great interpreters, and pieces with strong connections to beloved places at home and abroad. Horizons will be released in fall 2006, when Andsnes will join the Cleveland Orchestra in New York for Carnegie Hall’s opening-night gala.

Leif Ove Andsnes launched the New Year in America with a successful tour with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and the U.S. premiere of Marc-André Dalbavie’s Piano Concerto in Cleveland – followed by performances of the work in Chicago in February. Dalbavie wrote his concerto for Andsnes on a co-commission from the BBC, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony, and Plain Dealer critic Donald Rosenberg reported on the opening-night performance in the Cleveland Orchestra’s home, Severance Hall: “Leif Ove Andsnes, the marvellous Norwegian pianist who played the work's world premiere last August in London, invested the solo part with the vibrant equality of urgency and mystical sensitivity he brings to everything he touches. Gaffigan and the orchestra sounded on top of the score's prismatic, often eruptive writing. The composer came onstage to accept the audience's warm applause.”

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