Photo: Simon Fowler / EMI Classics

The Beethoven Journey

Celebrated pianist Leif Ove Andsnes embarks on his ‘Beethoven Journey’ - a multi-season project that will make the composer's music the centerpiece of the pianist’s life as a performer and recording artist for the next two seasons.

Starting in September, 2012, pianist Leif Ove Andsnes resumes “The Beethoven Journey,” his multi-season focus on Beethoven’s music. Anchoring his "Beethoven Journey" project will be Andsnes's performance and recording of all five of the master composer’s piano concertos with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. He opens the New York Philharmonic’s season on September 19th, along with the Third Piano Concerto. Leif Ove Andsnes is also set to perform at The Greene Space on September 22, as he continues his Beethoven Journey with his only New York solo appearance this season.

Following his NYC performances, Andsnes heads over to the UK for a stint with UK with the Philharmonia performing in Leicester on September 25 and in London on the 27th.

Described as “a pianist of magisterial elegance, power, and insight” (New York Times), Andsnes is equally renowned as a recitalist and chamber musician.

“Beethoven’s music is for me the most human and deeply spiritual music there is,” says Andsnes. “Beethoven believed that changing the world is possible and that music is truth. This touches me deeply.” New Yorkers can hear Andsnes discuss his relationship with the composer’s music at a special event at the city’s Greene Space, where WQXR host Jeff Spurgeon will engage him in conversation about the “Beethoven Journey” before introducing his only New York solo appearances of the season, comprising performances of Beethoven sonatas including the “Waldstein” (Sept 22).

Says Andsnes on his Beethoven Journey undertaking: ‘With a performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Stresa Festival in August 2011, I began my "Beethoven journey," a multi-season project that will make the composer's music the centerpiece of my life as a performer and recording artist. At the heart of this project is my plan to perform and record Beethoven's five extraordinary piano concertos with the wonderful musicians of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in a 4 year cycle, starting in 2012. "The Beethoven Journey" culminates in the 2014-15 season when we will perform complete Beethoven cycles at major residencies in North America, Europe and Asia. Beethoven's music is, for me, the most human and deeply spiritual music there is, and I hope you will join us for a voyage of musical discovery that promises to be both illuminating and exhilarating.”

Says Mahler Chamber Orchestra music director: “When Leif Ove plays a serious piece such as Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, there is a stylistic rigor that he brings to it but also a contemporary whimsy. He has a really probing musical mind and I love that he asked us to combine the Beethoven concerto with the Kurtág. It will be a fascinating journey for all our audience.”

Sony Classical launches the first release of The Beethoven Journey this autumn featuring Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3. Concertos Nos. 2 & 4 will follow in 2013, with the Piano Concerto No. 5 and Choral Fantasy scheduled for 2014. Each recording will be captured live in concert in Prague - where Beethoven allegedly played the first performance of his First Concerto in 1798 - with Leif Ove Andsnes directing the Mahler Chamber Orchestra from the keyboard.

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