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Founding Director Leif Ove Andsnes Looks Forward to Norway’s Fourth Annual Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, Plus Britten at BBC Proms and More This Summer

As Founding Director of Norway’s annual Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, Leif Ove Andsnes curates and performs at the fourth edition this summer. Paying tribute to Dmitri Shostakovich, who went by the musical signature “DSCH,” the 2019 festival comprises nine concerts, a two-part exhibition, and multiple lectures and pre-concert talks in the idyllic Norwegian village of Rosendal, where Andsnes, “one of the most gifted musicians of his generation” (Wall Street Journal), will be joined on stage by a stellar roster of guest artists (Aug 8–11). The Norwegian pianist also looks forward to Mozart concerto collaborations with the Munich Philharmonic (June 5–7) and Czech Philharmonic (July 5), followed by a return to London’s BBC Proms for Britten’s Piano Concerto with Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra (Aug 1).

Fourth annual Rosendal Chamber Music Festival: “DSCH”

Set in a green valley beneath dramatic mountains, Rosendal may be reached by boat from Norway’s Bergen airport. The Baroniet Rosendal Manor House and Gardens date from 1665, offering visitors a glimpse of Norwegian history in one of the country’s most spectacular natural settings. The Arts Desk (UK) calls it “a utopian place for utopian musicians,” and France’s Diapason declares:

Leif Ove Andsnes has found a winning formula. … In addition to the intelligence of its programming and the high level of its performers, the festival benefits from what is often lacking in the most exclusive of locations: authenticity and atmosphere – truly magical.”

Looking ahead to the 2019 season, Andsnes explains:

“It has been fascinating to put this program together. Shostakovich has an emotional impact like few others and I will never forget the first time I experienced his music in concert. It was like being physically hit! I was 16 years old; it was the Tenth Symphony, and I walked out of the concert hall a changed person.

   “I want to explore Shostakovich’s extraordinarily diverse musical language, which ranges from music of great depth and drama – symphonies, string quartets, and sonatas – to film music and other light music inspired by cabaret and jazz. We will feature music by other Russian composers, including Mussorgsky, perhaps the greatest influence on Shostakovich; Shostakovich’s contemporaries Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Ustvolskaya, and Krein; his successors Schnittke, Silvestrov, and Denisov; and Alexander Vustin. Born in Moscow in 1943, Vustin is relatively unknown outside of Russia but an important musical voice in his homeland.

   “People say that you need to see Siberia before you understand the Russian soul. But with four packed days of music, talks, lectures, and the great Norwegian wilderness on our doorstep, I hope we will manage to scrape the permafrost surface and dig an inch or two into an understanding of that Russian soul.”

Festival highlights include Andsnes’s own performances of Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death with baritone Andrei Bondarenko, of Shostakovich’s Sonata for Viola and Piano with violist Tabea Zimmermann, of Schnittke’s Piano Quintet with the Quatuor Danel, and of Stravinsky’s Concerto for Two Solo Pianos with fellow pianist Marc-André Hamelin, as heard on their Grammy-nominated 2018 Hyperion release. Also appearing at this year’s festival are pianists Sasha Grynyuk, Igor Levit, and Marianna Shirinyan, clarinetist Anthony McGill, violinist Veriko Tchumburidze, cellist Clemens Hagen, and the Ensemble Allegria. As in previous years, the festival showcases a number of young Norwegian artists as well, with the welcome return of violinist Sonoko Miriam Welde and the debuts of cellist Amalie Stalheim, percussionist Christian Krogvold Lundquist, and the PERCelleh percussion duo. The festival’s nine concerts will be supplemented by a generous lineup of lectures, pre-concert talks, and a two-part exhibition curated by distinguished Norwegian art historian Gunnar Danbolt. Click here to learn more.

Britten at London’s BBC Proms and other concerto collaborations

Andsnes has performed many times in the BBC Proms series at London’s Royal Albert Hall, where his three-concert residency with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in 2015 was selected as one of the year’s “Top Ten Classical Concerts and Operas” by The Guardian. For his return to the historic series this summer, the pianist reprises his interpretation of Benjamin Britten’s seldom-programmed Piano Concerto with Edward Gardner leading the BBC Symphony. Britten’s concerto was previously the vehicle for one of Andsnes’s appearances as 2017-18 Artist-in-Residence of the New York Philharmonic, after which the New York Times’s Anthony Tommasini marveled:

“Mr. Andsnes gave an exhilarating performance of Britten’s unconventional four-movement concerto. … The piano writing is almost frenetically brilliant; Mr. Andsnes dispatched it with such effortless command and penetrating clarity that every burst of arm-blurring octaves, every tangled patch of passagework, seemed both meaningful and fantastical.”

Andsnes’s other summer orchestral collaborations include performances of the Grieg Piano Concerto with the Concerto Copenhagen (Aug 24), and of Mozart’s Concertos Nos. 20 and 21 with the Munich Philharmonic (June 5–7) and the Orchestra of the Norwegian Opera & Ballet (June 21), both of which he leads from the keyboard. He revisits the first of the two Mozart concertos with Tomáš Netopil and the Czech Philharmonic at Germany’s Kissinger Summer Festival (July 5), and looks forward to featuring both of them prominently next season, as part of his forthcoming “Mozart Momentum 1785/1786” project with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

Recent CD success

Andsnes’s distinguished discography has been recognized with numerous international honors, including eight Grammy nominations and six Gramophone Awards to date. His most recent release is Schumann’s Liederkreis and Kerner-Lieder, recorded for Harmonia Mundi with German baritone Matthias Goerne. Although the album represents the pianist’s first recording with Goerne, the baritone is one of his most frequent collaborators, and the two have been giving live lieder recitals together for many years. As a result, they share a close rapport that communicates powerfully to their listeners. According to Stereophile, “Andsnes seems at one with Goerne. … Together they make beautiful music,” while for the UK’s Sunday Times, the new album captures “artists who are performing in complete harmony.”

Click here to download high-resolution photos.


Leif Ove Andsnes, summer engagements

June 5–7
Munich, Germany
Philharmonie im Gasteig
Munich Philharmonic (leading from keyboard)
MOZART: Piano Quartet KV 478 (with Julian Shevlin, violin; Jano Lisboa, viola; Floris Mijnders, cello)
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 20, KV 466
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 21, KV 467 

June 15–16
Crescendo Project/Oslo Opera

June 21–26
Fagernes, Norway
Valdres Chamber Music Festival

June 21
The Orchestra of the Norwegian Opera & Ballet (leading from keyboard)
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 20, KV 466
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 21, KV 467

June 23
DOHNÁNYI: Piano Quintet No. 2 in E-flat minor, Op. 26 (with Marianne Thorsen, violin;
Eldbjørg Hemsing, violin; Lars Anders Tomter, viola; Sandra Lied Haga, cello)

June 25
SHOSTAKOVICH: Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 147 (with Eivind Holtsmark Ringstad, viola)
SHOSTAKOVICH: Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67 (with Guro Kleven Hagen, violin;
Louisa Tuck, cello) 

July 5
Bad Kissingen, Germany
Kissinger Summer Festival
Czech Philharmonic / Tomáš Netopil
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 20, KV 466

Aug 1
London, UK
BBC Proms
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Edward Gardner
BRITTEN: Piano Concerto, Op. 13

Aug 8–11
Rosendal, Norway
Rosendal Chamber Music Festival (Founding Director) 

Aug 8
MUSSORGSKY: Songs and Dances of Death (with Andrei Bondarenko, baritone)

Aug 9
SCHNITTKE: Piano Quintet (with Quatuor Danel)

Aug 10
Alexander VUSTIN: Lamento
   SHOSTAKOVICH: Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 147 (with Tabea Zimmermann, viola)

Aug 11 at 11am
SHOSTAKOVICH: Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67 (with Veriko Tchumburidze, violin;
Clemens Hagen, cello)

Aug 11 at 4:30pm
Alexander VUSTIN: Dedication for Cello, Marimba and Piano (with Amalie Stalheim, cello;
PERCelleh, percussion)
STRAVINSKY: Concerto for Two Solo Pianos (with Marc-André Hamelin, piano)
SHOSTAKOVICH: Allegro from Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93, arranged for Piano Duet
(with Marc-André Hamelin, piano)

Aug 24
Copenhagen, Denmark
Tivoli Concert Hall
Concerto Copenhagen / Lars Ulrik Mortensen
GRIEG: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16

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© 21C Media Group, June 2019

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