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Artistic Director Alessio Bax Announces 30th Anniversary Season of Italy’s Incontri in Terra di Siena Festival; Lineup Includes Leif Ove Andsnes, Ian Bostridge, Emmanuel Pahud and More (July 28–Aug 4)

Italian pianist Alessio Bax – “clearly among the most remarkable young pianists now before the public” (Gramophone) – announces the lineup for his second summer as Artistic Director of Italy’s Incontri in Terra di Siena festival (July 28–Aug 4). Hailed as “one of the most enjoyable musical enterprises of the Tuscan summer” (Financial Times, UK), the Incontri celebrates its 30th anniversary this season. As curated by Bax, the 2018 lineup comprises the Camerata Strumentale Città di Prato led by Jonathan Webb; superlative lieder interpreter Ian Bostridge; and 15 of today’s foremost chamber musicians, drawn from around the world: flutist Emmanuel Pahud; violinists Maja Avramovic, Nicolas Dautricourt, Esther Hoppe, Daishin Kashimoto, and Annabelle Meare; violists Lise Berthaud and Lawrence Power; cellists Antonio Lysy and Christian Poltéra; double bassist Knut­Erik Sundquist; vibraphonist Pascal Schumacher; pianists Leif Ove Andsnes and Lucille Chung; and Bax himself. Click here to see him talk about the 2018 Incontri festival.

Founded by cellist and UCLA professor Antonio Lysy at his family’s picturesque Tuscany estate, the Incontri takes place both indoors and out at the spectacular Villa La Foce in the Tuscan hills, as well as at 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 scenic festival has attracted the likes of Vladimir Ashkenazy, Joshua Bell, John Eliot Gardiner, and Maxim Vengerov. Bax explains:

“Incontri in Terra di Siena is one of a kind. Immersed in the magnificent setting of La Foce and the Val d’Orcia, our world-class musicians manage to create something truly special and quite unique. It is almost as if the great music created at the Incontri belongs to the land, enhancing its beauty and leaving us, as audience members, with truly profound and gratifying experiences that stay with us for a very long time.”

As Classical Music put it:

“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.”

The 2018 festival launches on July 28 at the Locanda dell’Amorosa, an exquisite 14th-century hamlet near Sinalunga, where one of the first Incontri concerts was held. Antonio Lysy and Berlin Philharmonic principal flutist Emmanuel Pahud undertake the solo roles in Haydn’s First Cello Concerto and Devienne’s Seventh Flute Concerto respectively, with the support of Tuscany’s Camerata Strumentale Città di Prato led by Jonathan Webb.

Bax, who took First Prize at the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions and is the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, performs himself in five chamber concerts. On July 31, he joins Grammy Award-winning tenor Ian Bostridge and celebrated Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes for a program of Poulenc, Debussy, Ravel, and Dohnányi at the Teatro degli Avvaloranti in Città della Pieve, birthplace of the famous Renaissance painter Pietro “Perugino” Vannucci.

The following day, August 1, Bax partners Bostridge in Vaughan Williams’s song cycle On Wenlock Edge, Andsnes performs solo piano pieces by his fellow Scandinavians Sibelius and Nielsen, and Berlin Philharmonic concertmaster Daishin Kashimoto and Lawrence Power anchor a rendition of Brahms’s big-hearted B-flat-major String Sextet.

Next, on August 2, the Italian pianist takes part in an al fresco “Schubertiade” recital in the courtyard of the La Foce estate. Highlights include Bostridge in selections from Schwanengesang; Andsnes’s performance of Idyll and Abyss, a Schubert-inspired work by German composer Jörg Widmann; and an account of Schubert’s own transcendent String Quintet in C, led once again by Kashimoto.

Also at La Foce, in a former granary blessed with breathtaking views, Enesco Prize-winning French violinist Nicolas Dautricourt, Luxembourg virtuoso jazz vibraphonist Pascal Schumacher, and leading Norwegian double bassist Knut-Erik Sundquist collaborate on a Gershwin-themed evening titled “Porgy & Bess Revisited,” on July 29.

On August 3, Bax joins Kashimoto for the Second Violin Sonata by Busoni; the pianist explains:

“This large-scale work can be seen as the perfect symbol for the Incontri. Born in Tuscany, Ferruccio Busoni quickly became the most international of figures, and his sonata masterfully encompasses everything from the spirituality of a Bach chorale to the excitement of a Tarantella.”

Taking place at the 16th-century Triano Church in the walled hilltop city of Montefollonico, the program also features Pahud in Bach’s A-minor Partita for unaccompanied flute and a rare performance of the septet version of Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen.

Finally, on August 4, Bax takes part in a program of duo sonatas with his wife and regular recital partner, pianist Lucille Chung, and with Pahud, Kashimoto, and Lysy in the medieval hilltop village of Castiglioncello at the Church of Sant’Andrea. The festival’s final concert, this will be followed by a dinner at Monteverdi Tuscany, the luxury resort named “one of the four best hotels in Italy” by the UK’s Country & Town House magazine.

Lysy first founded the festival in memory of his grandparents, Antonio and Iris Origo. Iris was the Anglo­American author of War in the Val d’Orcia, a diary that describes her life during the Second World War in this south­eastern corner of Tuscany. Her new book, A Chill in the Air, released posthumously just last year, is Origo’s Italian war diary from 1939–40. At this year’s festival, Iris’s granddaughter Katia Lysy will read extracts from the diaries alongside projections of family photos. A host of other extra-musical events and activities will complete the full festival schedule. The following sites provide more information about the Incontri festival, the Friends of Incontri, and the La Foce estate.

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Highlighted by performances from Joshua Bell, Sarah Connolly, Radovan Vlatković, Paul Watkins, and the Escher String Quartet, last year’s festival – marking Bax’s first as Artistic Director – was a resounding success. This year’s edition crowns a full season for the pianist. He looks forward to embarking on a six-stop U.S. tour with Emmanuel Pahud, taking in Washington’s Kennedy Center (Feb 16), New York’s 92nd Street Y (Feb 17), and the San Francisco Performances series (Feb 21); presenting an Italian-themed solo recital program at London’s Wigmore Hall (May 18), where he appeared three times last season; and expanding his already extensive Signum Classics discography with the release on May 4 of Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto, recorded with London’s Southbank Sinfonia.

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

Incontri in Terra di Siena Festival 2018

La Foce, Tuscany, Italy

July 28–Aug 4

Artistic Director:

Alessio Bax


Camerata Strumentale Città di Prato / Jonathan Webb

Ian Bostridge, tenor

Emmanuel Pahud, flute

Maja Avramovic, Nicolas Dautricourt, Esther Hoppe, Daishin Kashimoto, and Annabelle Meare, violins

Lawrence Power and Lise Berthaud, violas

Antonio Lysy and Christian Poltéra, cellos

Knut­Erik Sundquist, double bass

Pascal Schumacher, vibraphone

Leif Ove Andsnes, Alessio Bax, and Lucille Chung, piano


Sat, July 28

Locanda Dell’Amorosa

Josef Haydn: Cello Concerto No. 1 in C

Domenico Zipoli: Pastorale

Haydn Cello Concerto in C major

Edward Elgar: Serenade

François Devienne: Flute Concerto No. 7 in E minor

Camerata Strumentale Città di Prato / Jonathan Webb

Antonio Lysy, cello

Emmanuel Pahud, flute

Sun, July 29

Granaio, La Foce

“Porgy & Bess Revisited”

Nicolas Dautricourt, violin

Pascal Schumacher, vibraphone

Knut­Erik Sundquist, double bass

Tues, July 31 

Teatro degli Avvaloranti, Città della Pieve

Francis Poulenc: Sonata for flute and piano, FP 164

Claude Debussy: Syrinx for solo flute

Claude Debussy: Violin Sonata in G minor

Maurice Ravel: Chansons madécasses

Ernst von Dohnányi: Piano Quintet No. 2 in E-flat minor, Op. 26

Ian Bostridge, tenor

Leif Ove Andsnes, piano

Alessio Bax, piano

Wed, Aug 1

(venue TBC)

Carl Nielsen: Chaconne for piano, Op. 32

Jean Sibelius: Selection of piano pieces

Ralph Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge

Johannes Brahms: String Sextet No. 1 in B-flat, Op. 18

Ian Bostridge, tenor; Leif Ove Andsnes and Alessio Bax, piano

Daishin Kashimoto and Annabelle Meare, violins; Lawrence Power and Lise Berthaud, violas; Antonio Lysy and Christian Poltéra, cellos

Thurs, Aug 2

Cortile, La Foce


Franz Schubert: Andantino Varié for piano, op. 84, D823

Franz Schubert: “Auf dem Strom,” D 943

Jörg Widmann: Idyll and Abyss

Franz Schubert: “Liebesbotschaft,” “Kriegers Ahnung,” “Ständchen,” “In die Ferne,” and “Abschied” from Schwanengesang

Franz Schubert: String Quintet in C, Op. 163, D956

Ian Bostridge, tenor; Leif Ove Andsnes and Alessio Bax, piano

Esther Hoppe and Daishin Kashimoto, violins; Lawrence Power, viola; Antonio Lysy and Christian Poltéra, cellos

Fri, Aug 3

Chiesa del Triano, Montefollonico

Johann Sebastian Bach: Partita for flute solo in A minor, BWV 1013

Ferruccio Busoni: Sonata for violin and piano No. 2, Op. 36a

Giovanni Bottesini: Gran Duo Concertante for violin, double bass and string quartet

Richard Strauss: Metamorphosen

Emmanuel Pahud, flute; Maja Avramovic, Esther Hoppe, Daishin Kashimoto, and Annabelle Meare, violins; Lawrence Power, viola; Christian Poltéra, cello; Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung, piano;

Sat, Aug 4

Cheisa di Sant­Andrea, Castiglioncello del Trinoro

(Monteverdi Tuscany)

Duo sonatas, TBA

Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung, piano

Emmanuel Pahud, flute

Daishin Kashimoto, violin

Antonio Lysy, cello

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© 21C Media Group, January 2018

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