Leif Ove Andsnes and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra unite for Canada and USA tour

Norway’s foremost pianist, Leif Ove Andsnes, teams up with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra for a tour of Canada and USA in mid-january.

Leif Ove Andsnes 2006 (photo: Simon Fowler)

Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes pays a special tribute to Mozart during the composer’s 250th birthday year with a six-city North American tour with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra beginning in Quebec, Canada on January 11. Following performances in Portland, Maine (Jan 12), Ann Arbor (Jan 14), Chicago (Jan 15) and Philadelphia (Jan 17), Andsnes bring the tour to a close with a performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall (Jan 18). Andsnes’s work with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra is particularly enjoyable for him. In fact, their recording together of piano concertos by Haydn was a Gramophone Award winner years back, and their most recent effort – a CD pairing Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 9 and 18 – was a Billboard best-seller and listed as one of the New York Times’s Best CDs of 2004. Andsnes explains:

“My ongoing relationship with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra is very important to me. We do one or two projects a year and we look forward to every concert together. We performed at Mostly Mozart a few years ago and have in the meantime done both European and Asian tours. I’m very happy that my journey with Mozart is with them. We’re looking very long term at Mozart’s wonderful concertos and plan to perform them – and hopefully record them – as often as possible.”

Andsnes and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra will perform two programmes during their US tour:

Programme 1:
Joseph Haydn; Piano concerto no 4 in G-major, Hob.XVIII:4
Eivind Buene; Langsam und schmachtend
Ludwig van Beethoven; String quartet no 16 in F-major, op 135.Arranged by Terje Tønnesen
- Intermission
Wolfgang A.Mozart; Eine kleine Nachtmusik
Wolfgang A.Mozart; Piano concerto no..20 i d-minor

Programme 2:
Wolfgang A.Mozart; Piano concerto no 14 i E flat major, KV449
Ludwig van Beethoven; String quartet no 16 in F-major, op 135.Arranged by Terje Tønnesen
- Intermission
Wolfgang A.Mozart; Eine kleine Nachtmusik
Wolfgang A.Mozart; Piano concerto no..20 i d-minor

Just days after the Carnegie performance, Andsnes will perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14 in the composer’s home city (Salzburg, Austria) with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Vienna Philharmonic (Jan 22).

A crop of recitals keep Leif Ove Andsnes busy in spring 2006 on both sides of the Atlantic. Highlights of his engagements in Europe include his solo recital debut at Vienna’s legendary Musikverein (April 5) as well as a recital in Amsterdam’s famed Concertgebouw (April 9). The American leg of his recital tour begins in St. Paul on April 27, followed by performances in Kalamazoo (April 28), and San Francisco (April 30). Andsnes’s final U.S. date in the 2005/2006 season will be a “People’s Symphony” recital at New York’s Town Hall on Sunday, May 7.

Andsnes is particularly excited to be playing Beethoven’s Opus 110 Piano Sonata on his recital programs this year:

“I played this amazing work when I was 17 in my debut recital in Norway. I didn’t understand much about the layers of the music then, but I was fascinated by it nonetheless. It is one of Beethoven’s great late sonatas, and I think I can bring so much more to it now. Performing it is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long while. I’ve done so much Schubert in past seasons, and I’d like to do late Beethoven now.”

For Andsnes, multi-concert residencies are an important and especially gratifying way to connect with local communities:

“It’s very exciting to do a concentrated period with this institution showing many different sides of my musical interests, from the Grieg Concerto – my debut work with many orchestras – to contemporary works I feel strongly about – such as the pieces by Kurtag and Dalbavie. It’s also thrilling to be working again with Esa-Pekka in such an incredible hall and with this great orchestra. My reaction after my first concert at Disney Hall was that it is the best modern concert hall: that’s how strongly I felt. My recital there last January was my first and only time performing there and I’m very eager to return.”

In addition to Andsnes’ critically acclaimed Rachmaninov recording, which was made available worldwide beginning in October, EMI Classics has scheduled for release two additional Andsnes discs in 2005/2006. The first is a DVD scheduled that was released in America in November. Leif Ove Andsnes plays Mozart, a live concert filmed in Norway in 2004, captures Andsnes and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra in the intimate setting of the Oslo Posthallen. Andsnes and his young colleagues perform select movements from Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 9, 18 and 20 and two movements of the Bach Concerto in F. The DVD also includes a bonus interview with Andsnes discussing Mozart. In early 2006 EMI Classics will release an intimate solo CD featuring nearly two dozen short piano works by a wide variety of composers. These works, which Andsnes often performs as encores at his recitals, have a special significance to 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.

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