Photo: Simon Fowler / EMI Classics

US focus for Andsnes in February

Celebrated pianist Leif Ove Andsnes kicks off 2012 with a string of performances throughout the US this February.

He has been referred to as “an eminently sensual musician, an artist capable of grace and introspection” by the Financial Times whilst the BBC Music Magazine commented on "how hard it is to over-praise the vitality and distinction of this princely pianist." He received the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist Award, the Gilmore Artist Award, four Gramophone Awards and seven Grammy nominations –
February sees the celebrated pianist returning to the US for a string of performances in LA, San Francisco, Morrow, Washington DC, Savannah, Chicago and NYC.

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 worldwide acclaim, prompting the Wall Street Journal to call him “one of the most gifted musicians of his generation.” He gives recitals and plays concertos each season in the world’s leading concert halls and with the foremost orchestras. Andsnes is also an active recording artist, as well as an avid chamber musician who has joined select colleagues each summer at Norway’s Risřr Festival of Chamber Music. He will serve as Music Director of the 2012 Ojai Music Festival in California.

Beethoven figures prominently in Leif Ove Andsnes’s 2011-12 season and beyond, in concerto performances, recitals and recordings. Having already performed Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 3 extensively across Europe and North America with ensembles including the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, the BBC, Vienna, Montreal and Boston Symphony Orchestras, the launch of this major Beethoven Journey has brought Andsnes critical acclaim. In November Sweden’s Göteborg Posten wrote "This was a musical event of historic dimensions ... Fantastically well balanced, with ethereal precision and an explosive temperament which created a sleek and dangerous Beethoven". Most recently, in January, the Boston Globe commented “This excellent Norwegian pianist plays with a rare blend of fluidity and control, and his Beethoven last night grew more daring and boldly profiled as the work progressed, ending with a finale that was irresistible.”

The Beethoven journey continues as Leif Ove Andsnes will play and direct both concertos with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in Italy this Spring – including performances in Brescia, Lugano, Torino, Bergamo – as well as Lugano, Dresden, Prague, and Bergen. The Prague concerts will be recorded live by Sony Classical – his label debut – and are the beginning of a multi-year project, entitled “Beethoven – A Journey,” to play and record all five of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos as well as the "Choral Fantasy".

Other highlights of the 2011-12 season include performances of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Hannover’s NDR Radiophilharmonie, Japan’s NHK Symphony, and his hometown orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic. Music by Chopin, Debussy, Bartók and Haydn will be featured on a recital program in North America and Europe. The first leg of the tour includes performances in Los Angeles; Morrow and Savannah, Georgia; Washington, DC; New York’s Carnegie Hall; Chapel Hill, NC; and Chicago. A nine-city European tour includes performances in Schloss Elmau (Munich), Brussels, Oslo, Paris, Birmingham, London, Florence, Genova, and Berlin. A spring recital tour featuring songs by Mahler and Shostakovich brings Andsnes back to the States for performances with baritone Matthias Goerne in San Francisco, St. Paul, Kalamazoo, Detroit, and New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Leif Ove Andsnes has received Norway’s most 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. Andsnes has also received the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist Award and the Gilmore Artist Award. Saluting his many achievements, Vanity Fair named Andsnes one of the “Best of the Best” in 2005.

Andsnes was born in Karmřy, Norway in 1970, and studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory under the renowned Czech professor Jiří Hlinka. Over the past decade, he has also received invaluable advice from the Belgian piano teacher Jacques de Tičge, who like Hlinka, has greatly influenced his style and philosophy of playing. Andsnes cites Dinu Lipatti, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Sviatoslav Richter, and Géza Anda among the pianists who have most inspired him. Andsnes currently lives in Copenhagen and Bergen, and also spends much time at his mountain home in Norway’s western Hardanger area. He is a Professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, a Visiting Professor at the Royal Music Conservatory of Copenhagen, and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. Andsnes occasionally contributes written commentaries to NPR’s “Deceptive Cadence” blog, and in June 2010, he achieved one of his proudest accomplishments to date: he became a father for the first time.

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