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Globetrotting Pianist Alessio Bax Plays 14 Festivals on Three Continents This Summer

Clearly among the most remarkable young pianists now before the public” (Gramophone), Alessio Bax participates in a jaw-dropping 14 festivals across three continents this summer. Having kicked off the summer season in Cyprus, he makes his Minnesota Orchestra debut in a pair of Andrew Litton-led programs at Sommerfest (July 17 & 18) and reunites with Anne-Marie McDermott, Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony at the Bravo! Vail Music Festival (July 6 & 7). He joins the Emerson Quartet’s Paul Watkins and Philip Setzer for his first appearances at Michigan’s Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival (June 14–19), and explores “Carlos Chávez and His World” at New York’s Bard Music Festival (Aug 14 & 15). He plays piano four-hands with his wife and regular piano partner, Lucille Chung, at the Washington International Piano Festival (Aug 2) and Tuscany’s Terra di Siena Festival (July 28 & 31); gives a solo recital at Manhattan’s International Keyboard Festival (July 22); concludes a three-year residency at Maine’s Bay Chamber Concerts (Aug 6 & 7); and graces chamber festivals in Lexington, KY (Aug 28–30), Risor, Norway (June 23–28), and Moritzburg, Germany (Aug 17–23). Besides returning to the Mimir Chamber Music Festival at its original home in Fort Worth, TX (July 2 & 3), Bax also heads to its newer outpost in Melbourne, where he looks forward to making his Australian debut (Aug 31–Sep 8). As he remarks, “Lots of miles for me, but I’m so excited to discover a new continent – it doesn’t happen often anymore!

For his first appearances with the Minnesota Orchestra and music director Andrew Litton, Bax plays Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain (July 18) and Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (July 17), which he recently performed with the Helsinki Philharmonic and London’s Southbank Sinfonia under Vladimir Ashkenazy. The vehicle for his return to the Dallas Symphony under music director Jaap van Zweden, in a performance at Colorado’s Bravo! Vail Music Festival (July 6), is Poulenc’s exuberant Concerto for Two Pianos, which Bax recorded earlier this year for release on the Signum Classics label. His fellow pianist will be the artistic director of the Vail festival, Anne-Marie McDermott, whom he partnered in Mozart with the same forces at the festival two years ago. “I spent my student days and more in Dallas, and still periodically go back there – I have many classmates in the orchestra, so it’s always very special for me,” Bax says. He and McDermott also take part in works for two pianos, eight hands, the following night (July 7).

Bax’s debut at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival features a recital with the festival’s Artistic Director, Paul Watkins, his friend and collaborator from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Watkins is also the cellist for the Emerson String Quartet, with which Bax looks forward to making his debut, joining the group for Brahms’s Piano Quintet in Wichita Falls, TX this fall. At the Great Lakes festival he collaborates with the cellist on duos by Stravinsky and Prokofiev, and plays solo works that include two Rachmaninov preludes. His Signum Classics album Rachmaninov: Preludes & Melodies – an American Record Guide Critics’ Choice – reveals “technique to burn but also … the unteachable ability to tug at the heart strings” (Classic FM magazine).

This year’s Bard Music Festival celebrates the life and times of Carlos Chávez, the central figure in 20th-century Mexican music. Bax undertakes Chávez’s Third Piano Sonata, as well as music by his contemporaries Colin McPhee, Henry Cowell, and humanistic astrologer Dane Rudhyar. “The audience is in for a treat,” the pianist predicts. “There’s a lot of rarely performed, but amazing music to be heard at this unique event.”

Another of Bax’s Signum Classics success stories is Bax & Chung, a piano four-hands collection recorded with wife Lucille Chung in which “they share a brilliant clarity in their playing. In this scintillating recital, it’s hard to find even a fleeting moment where ensemble is less than meticulous” (Sunday Times, UK). The couple’s upcoming summer appearances include a return to Bax’s native Italy; he explains: “I’m looking forward to seeing our daughter [baby Mila, born May 2014] spend some precious time with her grandparents and uncle at last.

As winner of the 2013 Andrew Wolf Prize, Bax returns to Maine’s Bay Chamber Concerts to complete his three-season residency with a pair of programs highlighted by Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-flat with string quintet accompaniment, and Brahms’s Piano Quintet in F minor.

Both at New York’s International Keyboard Festival and at the Risor Chamber Music Festival in Norway – now celebrating its landmark 25th anniversary season – Bax’s solo performances will include Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata, as heard on his most recent Signum Classics release, Alessio Bax Plays Beethoven, a Gramophone “Editor’s Choice.” About the Norwegian festival, the pianist, a self-confessed foodie, comments: I’m very excited as the festival is well known for its gourmet side. Some of Norway’s top chefs will attend.”

Bax’s appearance at the Mimir Chamber Music Festival in Melbourne marks his first in Australia. By contrast, of the festival’s Texas base, he remarks: “I lost count of how many years I have been there, but it was probably my first summer chamber festival.

A complete list of Bax’s upcoming engagements follows, and additional information may be found at his web site: Recent high-resolution photos of the pianist may be downloaded here.


Alessio Bax: summer engagements

May 22- 30
Nicosia, Cyprus
International Pharos Chamber Music Festival

May 22: Solo recital
BEETHOVEN: “Moonlight” Sonata
SCRIABIN: Sonata No. 3
MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition

May 25:
RACHMANINOV: Trio in D minor (with Boris Brovtsyn and Alexander Chaushian)
SCHUBERT: “Trout” Quintet (with Levon Chilingirian, Diemut Poppen, Alexander Chaushian, Hayk Khachatryan)

May 26:
SHOSTAKOVICH: 7 Romances on Poems by Alexander Blok, Op. 127 (with Boris Brovtsyn, Alexander Chaushian, Margarita Elia)
DONIZETTI: Flute Sonata (with Massimo Mercelli)

May 27:
BEETHOVEN: Horn Sonata, Op. 17 (with Radovan Vlatkovic)
BEETHOVEN: Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 11 (with Daishin Kashimoto and Alexander Chaushian)

May 30:
SCHUBERT: Fantasie in F minor (with Vanessa Benelli)


June 14–19
Southfield, MI
Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival

June 16:
RACHMANINOV: Trio élégiaque No. 1 in D minor, Op. 9 (with Philip Setzer, violin; Robert deMaine, cello)

June 17: Duo recital
PROKOFIEV: Cello Sonata in C (with Paul Watkins, cello)
STRAVINSKY: Suite italienne (with Paul Watkins, cello)
MUSSORGSKY: “Hopak” from The Fair at Sorochinsky
RACHMANINOV: Preludes Op. 32, No. 5 and Op. 23, No. 5
KREISLER/arr. Rachmaninov: Liebesleid, Liebesfreud

June 23-28
Risor, Norway
Risor Chamber Music Festival (25th anniversary season)
Repertoire includes:
BEETHOVEN: “Moonlight” Sonata
SCHUBERT: An den Mond
BRAHMS: Die Mainacht – Wann der silberne Mond
DVORÁK: “Song to the Moon” from Rusalka (with Golda Schultz, soprano)
BRAHMS: Piano Quintet (with Vilde Frang, violin; Henning Kraggerud, violin; Ida Bryhn, viola; Johannes Moser, cello)

July 2 & 3
Fort Worth, TX
Mimir Chamber Music Festival

July 2:
SCHUBERT: Grand Duo in A (with Frank Huang, violin)
ARENSKY: Piano Trio in D minor (with Stephen Rose, violin and Brant Taylor, cello)

July 3:
SHOSTAKOVICH: Trio No. 1 (with Stephen Rose, violin and Brant Taylor, cello)

July 6 & 7
Vail, CO
Bravo! Vail Music Festival

July 6: Dallas Symphony Orchestra / Jaap van Zweden
POULENC: Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra (with Anne-Marie McDermott, piano)

July 7: Music for two pianos (with pianists Anne-Marie McDermott, Christopher O’Riley, and Vail piano fellow)
SCHUMANN: Andante and Variations for two pianos
SMETANA: Sonata for two pianos, eight hands
SAINT-SAËNS: Dance macabre (two pianos, eight hands)
LISZT: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (two pianos, eight hands)
SOUSA: Stars and Stripes Forever (two pianos, eight hands)

July 17 & 18
Minneapolis, MN
Minnesota Orchestra (debut) / Andrew Litton

July 17:
RACHMANINOV: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

July 18:
FALLA: Nights in the Gardens of Spain

July 21 & 22
New York, NY
International Keyboard Festival and Institute recital
Kaye Playhouse, Hunter College
July 21: Masterclass

July 22: Solo recital
BEETHOVEN: “Moonlight” Sonata
SCRIABIN: Sonata No. 3
MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition

July 28 & 31
Tuscany, Italy
Terra di Siena Festival

July 28: Piano four-hands recital (with Lucille Chung, piano)
SCHUBERT: Fantasy in F minor
MENDELSSOHN: Fingal’s Cave Overture
RAVEL: Ma mère l’oye

July 31: With Domenico Nordio, violin; Ettore Causa, viola; Antonio Lysy, cello
MOZART: Piano Quartet in E-flat
BRAHMS: Piano Quartet in G minor

Aug 2
Washington, DC
Washington International Piano Festival
With Lucille Chung

Aug 6 & 7
Rockport, ME
Bay Chamber Concerts
2013 Andrew Wolf Award Winner residency

Aug 6: Opera House
BEETHOVEN: Cello Sonata No. 3 (with Christopher Costanza, cello)
CLARA SCHUMANN: 2 Romances (with James Austin Smith, oboe)
BRAHMS: Piano Quintet in F minor (with Geoff Nuttall, violin; Livia Sohn, violin; Nathan Schram; viola; Christopher Costanza, cello)

Aug 7: Union Hall
MOZART: Piano Concerto, KV 449 (with Geoff Nuttall, violin; Livia Sohn, violin; Nathan Schram, viola; Christopher Costanza, cello; Anthony Manzo, double bass)

Aug 14 & 15
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Bard Music Festival

Aug 14:
COLIN McPHEE: Balinese Ceremonial Music (with Lucille Chung, piano)
HENRY COWELL: Ostinato pianissimo (with Lucille Chung, piano; percussion group)

Aug 15:
CARLOS CHÁVEZ: Piano Sonata No. 3

Aug 17–23
Moritzburg, Germany

Aug 19:
SCHUBERT: Fantasy in F minor (with Lucille Chung, piano)

Aug 21:
KOECHLIN: Quatre Petites Pieces, Horn, Violin and Piano

Aug 22:
PIAZZOLLA: Three Tangos (with Lucille Chung, piano)
TANEYEV: Quintet

Aug 28–30
Lexington, KY
Chamber Music Festival of Lexington

Aug 31–Sep 8
Melbourne, Australia
Mimir Festival

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