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Alessio Bax Appointed Artistic Director of Italy’s Incontri in Terra di Siena Festival, Beginning in 2017

Italian pianist Alessio Bax – “clearly among the most remarkable young pianists now before the public” (Gramophone) – has just been appointed Artistic Director of Italy’s Incontri in Terra di Siena festival for a three-year term beginning in 2017, when the festival will run from July 28 – August 6. Founded by acclaimed cellist and UCLA professor Antonio Lysy at his family’s estate in Tuscany, Incontri in Terra di Siena celebrates its 28th anniversary this summer. The indefatigable Bax – First Prize winner at the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions, a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, and a winner of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award – is a fixture at summer festivals around the world, having performed at 14 of them on three continents last summer alone, including Bravo! Vail, the Bard Music Festival and Norway’s Risør Festival. In the coming months he will perform at the Verbier, Seattle, Santa Fe Chamber Music, Music@Menlo and Great Lakes Festivals, among others. Combined with his passion for collaboration in a great variety of musical settings, the versatile pianist’s summer festival pedigree makes him the perfect choice to helm Incontri, and he has already secured an all-star cast of international collaborators. In fact, Bax has a longstanding association with the Sienese province: after graduating from the conservatory in his hometown of Bari on the Adriatic, he pursued studies at the Chigiana Academy in Siena. As he says of the new opportunity:

“I have always wished to be involved with a major music festival that reflected my artistic goals, dreams and visions. After attending numerous music festivals all over the world, I started to form my own conception of what an ideal festival should be. As soon as I met Antonio Lysy, I knew that his festival had all the ingredients …

“What Antonio, his family and the many supporters have done over the past 28 years is a great inspiration and I am truly touched to have been asked to curate Incontri in Terra di Siena. I could not be more excited about this new page in my life and the fact that it happens to take place in the heart of my beloved home country.”

As the no less enthusiastic Lysy added:

“We are excited and honored to have Alessio Bax on board, to take this leadership role. Alessio’s philosophy is close to mine, understanding on a deep level the history, mission and, above all, soul of the ‘Incontri.’ He is a phenomenal musician and pianist, and comes with a distinctive bonus, being also a passionate and knowledgeable chef. The ‘menus’ he is concocting, blending musical programs with culinary delights in this culturally rich region of Tuscany, are both tantalizing, and mouth-watering!

“His modesty, and his willingness to collaborate and build on what our team has created in our 28 years of existence is a rare gift, and an essential one to keep the spirit of Incontri alive. There is no question that Alessio is the man to bring an injection of new thinking and also panache to Incontri’s vision and evolution.”

The Incontri takes place both indoors and out at the spectacular Villa La Foce in the Tuscan hills, as well as at the nearby medieval castle Castelluccio and venues throughout the Val d’Orcia region, a UNESCO Heritage site. Though only a two-hour drive from the Rome airport, the idyllic setting feels a world apart, and in past years the superlatively scenic festival has attracted the likes of Vladimir Ashkenazy, Maxim Vengerov, Ian Bostridge, John Eliot Gardiner and many others. As Classical Music magazine wrote of the event in 2013: “One of the best kept early 20th-century gardens in Italy is the fragrant setting for a festival that has spent 25 years celebrating music, visual arts, history, literature – and of course, being Italian, food and wine. It’s magic.”

Festival founder Antonio Lysy is the son of Alberto Lysy, the Argentinian violinist and Yehudi Menuhin protégé. Menuhin himself had close ties to La Foce. The estate was bought in 1924 by his friends Antonio and Iris Origo, and Menuhin served as best man when their daughter Benedetta married Alberto Lysy in the chapel at Castelluccio in 1961. Thus, this year’s festival places a special focus on celebrating the Menuhin centenary, with performers to include Menuhin’s son, pianist Jeremy Menuhin. Bax returns to the festival as a performer this summer as well, after his debut there last year playing a “four hands” piano recital with his wife, pianist Lucille Chung, followed by a concert of Mozart and Brahms Quartets with Lysy as cellist. In the upcoming festival the pianist will perform Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with the Southbank Sinfonia, a frequent collaborative partner featured on his 2013 Signum Classics release, Alessio Bax Plays Mozart.

Recent high-resolution photos of the pianist may be downloaded here.


Alessio Bax: Upcoming Engagements, Spring/Summer 2016

April 11-17
Asian Tour with Joshua Bell, violin
VITALI: Chaconne
BEETHOVEN: Sonata No. 9
RAVEL: Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in G Major, M. 77
April 11Daegu, Korea (Suseong Artpia)
April 12Taipei, Taiwan (National Concert Hall)
April 14Shenzhen, China (Shenzhen Concert Hall)
April 15Beijing, China (National Centre for the Performing Arts)
April 16Shanghai, China (Oriental Arts Center)
April 17Hong Kong (Cultural Centre)

April 24
New York, NY
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Alice Tully Hall
SCHUMANN: Märchenerzählungen (“Fairy Tales”)
KLUGHARDT: Schilflieder, 5 fantasy pieces after Lenau’s poems, Op. 28
BRAHMS: Two Songs for Alto, Viola and Piano, Op. 91
TURINA: Scène Andalouse, Op. 7 for viola, piano and string quartet
With Paul Neubauer, viola; Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano

April 28
New York, NY
Union Club
Piano “Four Hands” Recital with Lucille Chung

May 15
Dallas, TX
Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra / Richard Giangiulio
Meyerson Symphony Center
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”

May 17
Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra / Heiichiro Ohyama
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”

May 19
Monterrey, Mexico
Orquesta Sinfónica de la UANL / Jesús Medina
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”

June 5
Bellingham, WA
Whatcom Symphony Orchestra
BEETHOVEN: Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”

June 21
Great Lakes Festival
Farmington Hills, MI
Adat Shalom Synagogue
STRAUSS, BRITTEN and SCHUBERT Songs with Lauren Skuce, soprano

June 22|
Great Lakes Festival
Bloomfield Hills, MI
Temple Beth El
SCHUBERT: “Trout” Quintet

June 23
Great Lakes Festival
Bloomfield Hills, MI
Kirk in the Hills
SCHUMANN: Andante and Variations, for two pianos, two cellos and horn

June 24
Great Lakes Festival
Bloomfield Hills, MI
Kirk in the Hills
BEETHOVEN: “Moonlight” Sonata

June 25
Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival
Franklin, MI
Seligman Performing Arts Center
MOZART: Concerto No. 12 in A, K. 414 (Paul Watkins, conductor)

June 26
Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival
Ann Arbor, MI
Kerrytown Concert House
SHOSTAKOVICH: Cello Sonata (with Paul Watkins, cello)

June 30; July 1, 3
Fort Worth, TX
Mimir Chamber Music Festival

July 5
Winona, MN
Winona State University
Beethoven Festival
Recital with Joshua Bell, violin

July 11
Seattle, WA
Seattle Chamber Music Festival
SCHUMANN: Märchenbilder
With Cynthia Phelps, viola

July 13
Seattle, WA
Seattle Chamber Music Festival
SCRIABIN: Sonata No. 3
BRAHMS:  Quartet for Piano and Strings in A Major, Op. 26
With Stephen Rose, violin; Che-Yen Chen, viola; Clive Greensmith, cello

July 15
Seattle, WA
Seattle Chamber Music Festival
PROKOFIEV: Violin Sonata No. 1
With Karen Gomyo, violin

July 17
Menlo Park, CA
Carte Blanche Recital
SCRIABIN: Sonata No. 3
KREISLER: Liebesleid & Liebesfreud
STRAVINSKY: Petrouchka
With Lucille Chung

July 23
Verbier, Switzerland
Verbier Festival
BEETHOVEN: Sonata No. 6 in A, Op. 30, No. 1
RAVEL: Sonata No. 2 in G\
SCHUBERT: Fantasy, D. 934
With Benjamin Beilman, violin

July 24
Verbier, Switzerland
Verbier Festival
FAURE: Piano Quartet No. 2, Op. 45
With Benjamin Beilman, violin; Lawrence Power, viola; Raphaël Merlin, cello

July 27
Verbier, Switzerland
Verbier Festival
BEETHOVEN: “Moonlight” Sonata
SCRIABIN: Sonata No. 3
MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition

July 30
Sinalunga, Italy
Incontri in Terra di Siena
Locanda dell’Amorosa
Southbank Sinfonia / Simon Over
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “The Emperor”

Aug 3
Santa Fe, NM
Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
BARTÓK: Violin Sonata No. 2
With Jennifer Frautschi, violin

Aug 6
Santa Fe, NM
Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 14, K. 449

Aug 8
Santa Fe, NM
Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
MOSZKOWSKI: Suite for two violins and piano
With Bill and Alexandra Preucil, violins

Aug 14
Saratoga, NY
Saratoga Performing Arts Center
SCHUBERT:  Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano (“Duo”), D. 574, Op. 162
HARBISON: November 19, 1828 for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello
PREVIN: Vocalise for Soprano, Cello, and Piano
BOLCOM: Cabaret Songs for Voice and Piano: “Amor”; “Blue”; “Song of Black Max”
GERSHWIN: Rhapsody in Blue for Piano, Four Hands
With Wu Han, piano; Ani Kavafian, violin; Matthew Lipman, viola; David Finckel, cello; Michelle Areyzaga, soprano

Aug 16
Saratoga, NY
Saratoga Performing Arts Center
FAURÉ: Selected Songs for Voice and Piano
FAURÉ: Quartet No. 1 in C minor for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello, Op. 15
With Ani Kavafian, violin; Matthew Lipman, viola; David Finckel, cello; Michelle Areyzaga, soprano

Aug 18-21
Bridgehampton, NY
Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival
HUMMEL: Septet
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 14, K. 449

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© 21C Media Group, April 2016

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