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Alessio Bax Launches CMS Season, Tours with Joshua Bell and Emmanuel Pahud, and Plays Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto on New Signum Classics CD in 2017-18

After starting a new three-year appointment as Artistic Director of Tuscany’s Incontri in Terra di Siena festival, Alessio Bax – “clearly among the most remarkable young pianists now before the public” (Gramophone) – returns to New York to launch the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s new season at Alice Tully Hall. The first of four upcoming CMS concerts for the Italian pianist, this all-Mozart chamber program kicks off a full 2017-18 lineup. He embarks on a pair of high-profile U.S. duo recital tours with Joshua Bell and Emmanuel Pahud respectively; graces Premiere Performances of Hong Kong’s tenth anniversary gala concert; and gives solo recitals on both sides of the Atlantic, at the University of Houston’s International Piano Festival and at England’s inaugural Leeds Piano Festival, with appearances in Leeds and at London’s Wigmore Hall. Besides returning to the Armenian Philharmonic, he plays concertos by Schumann, Grieg, Saint-Saëns, Rachmaninov, and Gershwin with U.S. orchestras from the Minnesota Orchestra to the North Carolina Philharmonic. Finally, to crown the season, the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competition-winner looks forward to expanding his already extensive Signum Classics discography with the release next May of Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto, recorded with London’s Southbank Sinfonia.

CMS: season-opening concert and more

An alumnus of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program and a frequent collaborator with the organization, Bax has been recognized with both an Avery Fisher Career Grant and Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award. This fall, to celebrate “Mozart in 1787,” he anchors CMS’s season-opening concert (Oct 17), partnering his wife, Lucille Chung, in the Four-hands Sonata in C, K.521, and 2017 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award-winner Paul Huang in the Violin Sonata in A, K.526. Bax considers the Viennese composer his first musical love, and it was his 2012 Signum Classics release, Alessio Bax plays Mozart, that confirmed “his repute as a pianist of gossamer brilliance” (Audiophile Audition).

Besides previewing this program in Athens, GA, two days earlier (Oct 15), Bax revisits the CMS twice more this season. He joins Arnaud Sussmann, Daniel Phillips, and David Finckel for a pairing of Mozart and Smetana that marks his first appearance in New York’s People’s Symphony Concerts (Jan 20), and returns to Alice Tully Hall for an all-Franck program with Ani Kavafian, Benjamin Beilman, Paul Neubauer, and David Requiro (Feb 9).

He also helps celebrate a decade of superlative chamber music-making a little further from home, joining Chung, Cho-Liang Lin, and a host of other leading instrumentalists for the Tenth Anniversary Gala Concert of Premiere Performances of Hong Kong (Sep 24), which played a major part in bringing classical chamber music to the autonomous Chinese territory.

Duo recital tours with Joshua Bell and Emmanuel Pahud

Bax’s musical partnership with superstar violinist Joshua Bell has been described as “perfect” (DrehPunktKultur). Friends now for more than a decade, over the past four years the two have toured Europe, Asia, and the Americas together, capped by appearances at Los Angeles’ Disney Hall and in Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series. As the Santa Barbara Independent put it:

“Joshua Bell clearly has an ideal recital partner in Italian pianist Alessio Bax. … Balance and communication were the hallmarks of the evening by two young masters.”

This fall the two reunite to play Brahms, Grieg, and Stravinsky on a ten-city North American tour (Oct 20–Nov 10), highlighted by stops in Princeton (Nov 1), Toronto (Nov 4), Chicago (Nov 10), and the U.S. capital, where they give a Washington Performing Arts concert at the Strathmore Music Center (Nov 5).

For his second duo recital collaboration of the season, Bax joins Berlin Philharmonic principal flutist Emmanuel Pahud for music by Poulenc, Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Bach. Their six-stop tour (Feb 14–21) includes performances at New York’s 92nd Street Y (Feb 17) and in the San Francisco Performances series (Feb 21), as well as at Washington’s Kennedy Center (Feb 16), where their program includes Dallapiccola’s Quaderno musicale di Annalibera for solo piano. He also rejoins Stravinsky International Piano Competition-winner Lucille Chung for two-piano recitals in the International Piano Series in Charleston, SC (Nov 14) and the Parlance Concert Series in Ridgewood, NJ (Dec 17). As Classical CD Choice observes: “Bax and Chung demonstrate an almost supernatural understanding of the demands of the duo repertoire.

CD release: Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with Southbank Sinfonia

For his next recording, due for release next May by Signum Classics, Bax reunited with the UK’s Southbank Sinfonia, his collaborator on Alessio Bax plays Mozart. His celebrated discography for the label also includes Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” and “Moonlight” Sonatas [picked as a Gramophone “Editor’s Choice”] and the new album once again features the master composer’s music, pairing some of his lesser-known solo works with the great “Emperor” Concerto. When Bax played the concerto with the same forces at Italy’s 2016 Incontri in Terra di Siena Festival, before launching his Artistic Directorship there this summer, Bachtrack admired his “beautifully crisp, sharp, satisfyingly phrased performance”:

“His capacity for softness and for evenness of touch came beautifully to the fore for the concerto’s many top-keyboard pianissimo flutterings, as his strong relationship with the orchestra also reaped dividends, producing satisfyingly sympathetic chamber pockets amidst the surrounding symphonic excitement.”

Concerto collaborations in the U.S. and beyond

Having appeared as soloist with more than 100 orchestras, including the London and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, Dallas and Cincinnati Symphonies, and the NHK Symphony in Japan, this season Bax returns to the Armenian Philharmonic for the Grieg concerto (Sep 18), and demonstrates his range in concerto collaborations with five U.S. ensembles. He reprises the Grieg with the Minnesota Orchestra (Oct 4–6), and plays Schumann’s sole concerto with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic (Nov 18), Gershwin’s F-major Concerto with the Hartford Symphony (April 6–8), Saint-Saëns’s Fifth (“Egyptian”) with the North Carolina Philharmonic (March 8–10), and Rachmaninov’s Second with the Wisconsin Philharmonic (April 9 & 10). The pianist’s way with Rachmaninov is well-documented; Classic FM magazine describes Alessio Bax: Rachmaninov as “one of the most intelligent and engrossing Rachmaninov recitals of recent years,” while according to Classics Today, “Rachmaninov’s music fits Alessio Bax’s seemingly boundless technique hand in glove, along with his big, luscious, multi-colored sonority and ardent temperament.

Solo recitals at the Leeds and International Piano Festivals

In 2000, when Bax was awarded first prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition, his triumph was instrumental in bringing him to worldwide attention. Now, as one of the competition’s distinguished laureates, he has been invited to perform at the inaugural Leeds Piano Festival, giving solo recitals at both Leeds’ Howard Assembly Room (May 14) and London’s storied Wigmore Hall (May 18), where he appeared three times last season. He also returns to the International Piano Festival, giving a recital and masterclass at the University of Houston (Feb 2–4).

2016-17 highlights

Last season saw Bax return to the Vancouver Symphony for MacDowell’s Second Piano Concerto with Bramwell Tovey, and step in at the eleventh hour to play Brahms’s Second with the Cincinnati Symphony under Sir Andrew Davis, in what proved “the most exciting debut in recent memory” (Cincinnati Enquirer). He also gave three performances at the Wigmore Hall, where his solo recital debut aired live on BBC Radio 3, and his duo recital with Berlin Philharmonic concertmaster Dashin Kashimoto, one of his regular collaborators, served as a coda to their extensive Asian tour.


To download high-resolution photos, click here.


Alessio Bax: 2017-18 season

Sep 18
Yerevan, Armenia
Armenian Philharmonic
Grieg: Piano Concerto

Sep 24
Hong Kong
Premiere Performances of Hong Kong
Tenth Anniversary Gala Concert

Oct 4–6
Minneapolis, MN
Minnesota Orchestra / Roderick Cox
Grieg: Piano Concerto

Oct 7
Atlanta, GA
Emory University
Duo recital with Chee-Yun, violin
Beethoven: Kreutzer Sonata
Debussy: Sonata
Brahms: Sonata in D minor

Oct 15
Athens, GA
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Mozart: Sonata for piano four-hands in C, KV 521 (with Lucille Chung, piano)
Mozart: Sonata for violin and piano in A, KV 526 (with Paul Huang, violin)

Oct 17
New York, NY
Alice Tully Hall
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Opening Night
Mozart: Sonata for piano four-hands in C, KV 521 (with Lucille Chung, piano)
Mozart: Sonata for violin and piano in A, KV 526 (with Paul Huang, violin)

Oct 20–Nov 10
US duo recital tour with Joshua Bell, violin
Oct 20: Iowa City
Oct 21: Kansas City
Oct 22: Galveston, TX
Oct 29: SUNY Purchase, NY
Nov 1: Princeton, NJ
Nov 2: Provo, UT
Nov 4: Toronto
Nov 5: WPA- Washington DC-Strathmore
Nov 9: Charleston, SC – Gaillard Center
Nov 10: Chicago, IL

Nov 14
Charleston, SC
International Piano Series
Duo recital with Lucille Chung, piano

Nov 18
Fort Wayne, IN
Fort Wayne Philharmonic / Andrew Constantine
Schumann: Piano Concerto

Dec 17
Ridgewood, NJ
Parlance Concert Series
Duo recital with Lucille Chung, piano

Jan 20 
New York, NY
Washington Irving High School
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at People’s Symphony Concerts
Mozart: Quartet in E-flat (with Arnaud Sussmann, violin; Daniel Phillips, viola; David Finckel, cello)
Smetana: Piano Trio (with Arnaud Sussmann, violin; Daniel Phillips, viola; David Finckel, cello)

Feb 2–4
Houston, TX
University of Houston
International Piano Festival
Recital and masterclass

Feb 9
New York, NY
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Alice Tully Hall
Franck: Prélude, choral et fugue M.21
Franck: Violin Sonata in A (with Benjamin Beilman, violin)
Franck: Quintet (with Ani Kavafian and Benjamin Beilman, violins; Paul Neubauer, viola; David Requiro, cello)

Feb 14–21
US duo recital tour with Emmanuel Pahud, flute
Poulenc, Schubert, Schumann, Bach, Mendelssohn
Feb 14: Ann Arbor, MI (University Musical Society, University of Michigan)
Feb 15: Hartford, CT
Feb 16: Washington, DC (Kennedy Center; program incl. Dallapiccola for solo piano)
Feb 17: New York, NY (92nd St Y)
Feb 18: Atlanta, GA (Spivey Hall)
Feb 21: San Francisco, CA (San Francisco Performances)

March 8–10
Raleigh, NC. North Carolina Philharmonic
Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Egyptian”)

April 6–8
Hartford, CT
Hartford Symphony Orchestra / Thomas Wilkins
Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F

April 9 & 10
Waukesha, WI
Wisconsin Philharmonic / Alexander Platt
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2

May 14
Leeds, UK
Leeds Festival
Solo recital

May 18
London, UK
Leeds Festival
Wigmore Hall
Lunchtime recital

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© 21C Media Group, September 2017

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