April 25, 2017

Last weekend, when Alessio Bax stepped in for an indisposed Hélène Grimaud to play Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony, “the result was the most exciting debut in recent memory” (Cincinnati Enquirer). This resounding success was just the start of a whirlwind week for the Leeds and Hamamatsu winner. On the far side of the Atlantic two days later, he made his recital debut at London’s Wigmore Hall with a solo program of Schubert, Scriabin, and Ravel that aired live on BBC Radio Three, and may be streamed here. Immediately afterwards, the Italian-American pianist headed into the studio to record Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with London’s Southbank Sinfonia, for release on the Signum Classics label. As Gramophone magazine observes, the versatile young artist is truly “among the most remarkable young pianists now before the public.”

Bax made his unscheduled Cincinnati Symphony debut under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis, who was, like him, an eleventh-hour replacement. As the Cincinnati Enquirer reported, their impromptu performance was “unforgettable.” The review continued:

“Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto is … an endurance test for the pianist, calling for both nonstop technical prowess and expressive power. Bax possessed all that, and more. … An elegant pianist, he approached every phrase with a singing tone, yet he displayed plenty of fire in the powerhouse passages. … With lyrical phrasing and sparkling runs, … the pianist soared through mountains of technical hurdles without breaking a sweat. In the second movement, a scherzo, [he] seamlessly balanced poetry and drama. … The pianist’s singing tone and thoughtful give-and-take made it truly unforgettable. … Listeners were on their feet, demanding bow after bow from the soloist.”

News of the debut even reached the Spanish press, which described Bax’s performance as “more than positive – miraculous” (Platea magazine).

Following his solo recital debut at Wigmore Hall, Bax returns to the storied London venue twice more this season, first on May 5, with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and then in July, for a duo recital with Berlin Philharmonic concertmaster Daishin Kashimoto, following their ten-concert tour of Taiwan and Japan. In the meantime, the pianist heads to Madrid for Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto with the National Orchestra of Spain under Miguel Harth-Bedoya (April 28-30), before launching a new three-year appointment as Artistic Director of Tuscany’s Incontri in Terra di Siena festival this summer (July 29–Aug 6). As Bax explains in a recent “Meet the Artist” interview:

“It is truly a unique festival and it has a deep connection with its surroundings, so I had to keep that in mind. I lined up a “dream team” of my favourite artists and close friends who like to work together. And I tried to think of programs that are satisfyingly balanced, exciting, inspiring and fresh. I can’t wait to hear the results.”

To download high-resolution photos, click here.

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Alessio Bax: upcoming engagements

April 28-30
Madrid, Spain
Orquesta Nacionales de España / Miguel Harth-Bedoya
TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1

May 4
Copenhagen, Denmark
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
SCHUBERT: Lebensstürme for piano four hands (primo)
SHOSTAKOVICH: Piano Quintet, Op. 57
With Wu Han, piano; Danish String Quartet

May 5
London, UK
Wigmore Hall
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
MOZART: Piano Quartet in E-flat
SCHUBERT: Lebensstürme for piano four hands (primo)
With Benjamin Beilman, violin; Yura Lee, viola; Jakob Koranyi, cello; and Wu Han, piano

May 8
Alicante, Spain
Solo Recital
MOZART: 6 Variations on a Theme from the Clarinet Quintet, KV 581, KV Anh 137
SCHUBERT: Sonata in A minor, D. 784
SCRIABIN: Sonata No. 3, Op. 23
RAVEL: La Valse (poème chorégraphique pour orchestre)

May 16
Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra / Heiichiro Ohyama
SCHUMANN: Concerto

June 9-10
Miami, FL
Miami Music Festival
Masterclass (June 9) and Recital (June 10)

June 13-18
Detroit, MI
Great Lakes Music Festival with Lucille Chung & others
June 13 – BEETHOVEN: Violin Sonata No. 9, “Kreutzer,” with Philip Setzer
June 14 – Two piano / piano four hand program with Lucille Chung
LUTOSLAWSKI: Variations on a Theme of Paganini, for two pianos
STRAVINSKY: Petrouchka, original complete ballet, for four hands
SHOSTAKOVICH: Concertino, for two pianos
RACHMANINOV: Suite No. 2, for two pianos
June 15 – SHOSTAKOVICH: Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57, with Calidore Quartet
June 16 – SCHUMANN: Märchenbilder, Op. 113, for viola & piano, with Lawrence Dutton
BRAHMS: Violin Sonata No. 1 in G, Op. 78, with Eugene Drucker
June 18 – RAVEL: Chansons madécasses, with Lauren Skuce, David Buck and Paul Watkins

July 2-17
Taiwan-Japan Tour (ten cities)
With Daishin Kashimoto
MOZART: Violin Sonata in G, KV 301
BRAHMS: Sonata No. 1
SZYMANOWSKI: 3 Myths
GRIEG: Violin Sonata No. 3
RAVEL: Violin Sonata No. 2

July 22
London, UK
Wigmore Hall
Recital with Daishin Kashimoto

July 29-Aug 6
Incontri in Terra di Siena. Tuscany

Aug 9, 12
Schloss Elmau, Germany
Incontri in Terra di Siena at Schloss Elmau
With Daishin Kashimoto, Nicolas Dautricourt, Radovan Vlatković, Lawrence Power, Antonio Lysy, Lucille Chung

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© 21C Media Group, April 2017