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Leif Ove Andsnes in 2023-24: Beethoven with NY Phil & LSO, Rachmaninov with Philadelphia Orch & Pittsburgh Symphony, U.S. Tour with Dover Quartet, Recital Tours of Japan & Europe, & 36-CD Retrospective

(August 2023) — “A pianist of magisterial elegance, power, and insight” (New York Times), over the coming season Leif Ove Andsnes performs Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto on three continents, with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic (Oct 5–7), New World Symphony (Sep 30), NHK Symphony (Oct 25–29) and London Symphony Orchestra (Feb 4). The celebrated Norwegian pianist also rejoins the LSO for Mozart (Feb 8); performs Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra (May 3 & 4), Pittsburgh Symphony (April 19 & 21), Orchestre de Paris (Dec 6 & 7) and others; gives solo recital tours of Japan (Oct 21–23) and Europe (March 9–20); and plays Brahms and Dohnányi piano quintets on a North American tour with the Dover Quartet (April 23–30). Leif Ove Andsnes: The Complete Warner Classics Edition 1990-2010, a 36-CD retrospective that features multiple bestsellers and Gramophone Award-winners, is due for international release this fall.

Beethoven’s “Emperor”: NY Phil, New World Symphony, LSO & more

One of Andsnes’s most ambitious projects to date was “The Beethoven Journey,” a monumental four-season focus on the composer’s music for piano and orchestra. This took the pianist to 14 countries for more than 230 live performances, including appearances at Carnegie Hall and London’s BBC Proms that were named among the “Best of 2015” by the New York Times and Guardian respectively. Released as a boxed set by Sony Classical, Andsnes’s accounts of Beethoven’s concertos were recognized with BBC Music’s Recording of the Year, iTunes’ Best Instrumental Album of the Year and Belgium’s Prix Caecilia.

This season, the pianist reprises his interpretation of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto on three continents. In the U.S. this fall, he performs it with Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony (Sep 30), and then with Jaap van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic (Oct 5–7). One of the orchestra’s most frequent and favored guests, Andsnes previously served as the NY Phil’s 2017-18 Artist-in-Residence.

In Asia and Europe, the “Emperor” is the vehicle for Andsnes’s season-opening concerts with the Belgian National Orchestra (Sep 8); dates in Sweden and Romania with the Gothenburg Symphony (Aug 31–Sep 15); a Japanese tour with the NHK Symphony and Herbert Blomstedt (Oct 25–29); a French tour with the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire (April 2–7); and a concert with Thomas Søndergård leading the London Symphony Orchestra (Feb 4). Under the baton of Nathalie Stutzmann, Andsnes also joins the LSO for Mozart’s 22nd Piano Concerto (Feb 8), of which his recording was chosen as one of the New York Times’s “25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2021,” and, as part of the two-volume series Mozart Momentum 1785/86, awarded Gramophone’s 2022 “Special Achievement” prize.

Rachmaninov’s Third: Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony & others

Andsnes has also made his mark on the music of Rachmaninov. His recording of the Russian composer’s first two piano concertos was recognized with a Gramophone Award, and this past May, his live account of Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra drew a five-star review from the Times of London, which marveled:

“Andsnes is one of classical music’s most in-demand performers for his brilliant technique and terrific musicianship, yet he doesn’t have an ostentatious bone in his body. That’s why this performance, as marvellous to watch as to hear, was simultaneously so poetic and so gripping. In a pianistic masterclass, Andsnes took the concerto’s ferocious demands completely in his stride without seeming so much as to break sweat. He played Rachmaninov’s lines with bell-like clarity and intense focus but with a line of poetry running through like a golden thread. Even when the orchestra melted away and he played solo cadenzas that would make most pianists lose sleep, his playing was beautiful rather than showy, infused with lyrical legato. His presence raised the orchestra to the level of greatness.”

Next spring, Andsnes reprises the concerto with two U.S. orchestras, first in concerts with Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony (April 19 & 21), and then with Lahav Shani and the Philadelphia Orchestra (May 3 & 4). These Pennsylvania dates follow performances of Rachmaninov’s Third in Europe: with Han-Na Chang and Norway’s Trondheim Symphony (Nov 23), Klaus Mäkelä and the Orchestre de Paris (Dec 6 & 7); Honeck and the Danish National Symphony (Jan 25 & 26); and on a Dutch tour with the North Netherlands Symphony (Nov 30–Dec 2).

North American tour with Dover Quartet, plus solo recital tours of Japan & Europe

The founding director of Norway’s annual Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, Andsnes is an avid chamber musician. Next spring, he returns to the States for performances of Dohnányi’s Second Piano Quintet and Brahms’s sole example of the genre, on a five-city North American tour with the Grammy-nominated Dover Quartet. Bookended by dates at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC (April 23) and Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in New York City (April 30), this takes them to San Francisco (April 25), Toronto (April 28) and Aliso Viejo, CA, where Andsnes also performs selections from Brahms’s Fantasies for solo piano (April 26).

Brahms’s Fantasies figure prominently in both of the pianist’s upcoming recital programs. For his solo recital tour of Japan this fall (Oct 21–23), he combines the work with Beethoven’s “Pathétique” Sonata, Schubert’s A-minor Sonata and Dvořák’s Poetic Tone Pictures, of which his Sony Classical recording was selected as a Gramophone 2022 Critics’ Choice. Andsnes’s season-long advocacy for this ambitious but seldom-programmed work by a composer better known for chamber works and symphonies was the subject of a New York Times profile; running under the headline, “’The Great Czech Piano Cycle’ Arrives at Carnegie Hall,” this described the work as “a rarity being performed there for the first time.” A subsequent review in the same paper found Andsnes’s live performance “dreamily kaleidoscopic,” noting:

“His performance of the Dvořák – measured in appearance but interpretively varied, played with thorough commitment and characteristic wisdom – had the qualities of a standard-setting account. Even if Poetic Tone Pictures doesn’t return to Carnegie any time soon, Andsnes made a compelling argument for why it should: how, despite its unpianistic moments and longueurs, it is, in its entirety, a touching display of awe at life itself, told with a folk tune or a naïve melody, a solemn march or a sentimental dance.”

For his six-city, six-country European solo recital tour next spring (March 9–20), which includes dates at Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw (March 15) and the Boulez Saal in Paris (March 20), Andsnes reprises both Brahms’s Fantasies and Schubert’s A-minor Sonata alongside the Austrian composer’s First Impromptu and the “Sonata Etere” by Norway’s Geirr Tveitt. Andsnes explains:

“Tveitt was a formidable pianist. Like Bartók in Hungary, Tveitt was very influenced by folk music, and he collected hundreds of folk tunes from western Norway. He uses folk elements in his compositions, but this sonata is a mono-thematic piece in the grand style, like Liszt`s piano sonata, and the piano writing is very colourful and impressive.”

New 36-CD retrospective

Andsnes is a prolific recording artist, whose extensive discography has been recognized with eleven Grammy nominations and seven Gramophone Awards. Before recording exclusively, as now, for Sony Classical, he signed with Virgin Classics in 1990 and with EMI Classics nine years later. Having acquired both catalogs in 2013, now Warner Music Group issues Leif Ove Andsnes: The Complete Warner Classics Edition 1990-2010: on October 13 in Europe and in November in the States.

A 36-CD retrospective, the collection chronicles a 20-year partnership that yielded a rich seam of treasures. These include Andsnes’s Gramophone Award-winning recordings of music by his compatriot Edvard Grieg: the Lyric Pieces, some of which were captured on the composer’s own piano at Troldhaugen, and the Piano Concerto, recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic, which received a coveted Penguin Guide “Rosette.” Other highlights include world premiere recordings of Marc-André Dalbavie’s Piano Concerto and Bent Sørensen’s The Shadows of Silence, both written for Andsnes; Schubert’s late sonatas, paired with lieder sung by Ian Bostridge; and Rachmaninov’s four Piano Concertos, variously recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra. Mozart, Haydn, Chopin, Schumann, Mussorgsky, Liszt, Brahms, Dvořák, Debussy, Janáček, Nielsen, Ravel, Szymanowski, Bartók, Shostakovich, Britten and Lutosławski are among the other composers featured in the collection. Andsnes says:

“Only now do I realize how lucky I was! In the 1990s, classical music saw an unparalleled recording boom due to the new CD format, and I got to be a part of it. I signed a contract as a 20-year-old with the exciting newcomer on the block, Virgin Classics, and the possibilities seemed endless. Looking back on these 20 years of recording for Virgin and EMI Classics, I can also see how the opportunity to make recordings often shaped my choice of repertory, giving my projects and concert tours direction and purpose. It is truly difficult to listen to your own recordings, but my overall feeling is that these seem to honestly represent who I was and how I was thinking and feeling about this music at the time.”

Download the complete booklet here and additional details here.

Click here to download high-resolution photos.

Leif Ove Andsnes: 2023-24 engagements
Aug 31–Sep 15: concerts & European tour with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Santtu-Matias Rouvali
Aug 31: Gothenburg, Sweden
Sep 1: Stockholm, Sweden (Baltic Sea Festival)
Sep 9: Bucharest, Romania
Sep 15: Gothenburg, Sweden
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”
Sep 8
Brussels, Belgium
Bozar (Palais des Beaux-Arts)
Belgian National Orchestra / Antony Hermus
Opening Night
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”
Sep 30
Miami, FL
New World Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”
Oct 5–7
New York, NY
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center
New York Philharmonic / Jaap van Zweden
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”
Oct 21–23: Japanese solo recital tour
Oct 21: Hyogo, Japan
Oct 22: Tokorozawa, Japan
Oct 23: Tokyo, Japan
SCHUBERT: Piano Sonata in A minor
DVOŘÁK: Poetic Tone Pictures
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 8, “Pathétique”
BRAHMS: Fantasies
Oct 25–29: Japanese tour with NHK Symphony Orchestra / Herbert Blomstedt
Oct 25 & 26: Tokyo, Japan (Suntory Hall)
Oct 28: Yokohama, Japan
Oct 29: Tokorozawa, Japan
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”
Nov 23
Trondheim, Norway
Trondheim Symphony Orchestra / Han-Na Chang
RACHMANINOV: Piano Concerto No. 3
Nov 30–Dec 2: Dutch tour with North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra / Eivind Gullberg Jensen
Nov 30: Groningen, Netherlands
Dec 1: Drachten, Netherlands
Dec 2: Assen, Netherlands
RACHMANINOV: Piano Concerto No. 3
Dec 6 & 7
Paris, France
Philharmonie de Paris
Orchestre de Paris / Klaus Mäkelä
RACHMANINOV: Piano Concerto No. 3
Jan 25 & 26
Copenhagen, Denmark
Danish National Symphony Orchestra / Manfred Honeck
RACHMANINOV: Piano Concerto No. 3
Feb 4
London, UK
London Symphony Orchestra / Thomas Søndergård
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”
Feb 8
London, UK
London Symphony Orchestra / Nathalie Stutzmann
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 22
March 9–20: European solo recital tour
March 9: Trondheim, Norway
March 11: Perth, Scotland
March 13: Lugano, Switzerland
March 15: Amsterdam (Muziekgebouw)
March 16: Ghent, Belgium
March 20: Paris, France (Boulez Saal)
SCHUBERT: Piano Sonata in A minor
Geirr TVEITT: Piano Sonata No. 29, “Sonata Etere”
SCHUBERT: Impromptu No. 1
BRAHMS: Fantasies
April 2–7: French tour with Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire
April 2: Nantes, France
April 4: Angers, France
April 6: Cholet, France
April 7: Angers, France
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”
April 19 & 21
Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra / Manfred Honeck
RACHMANINOV: Piano Concerto No. 3
April 23–30: U.S. tour with Dover Quartet
April 23: Washington, DC (Kennedy Center)
April 25: San Francisco, CA
April 26: Aliso Viejo, CA
April 28: Toronto, Canada
April 30: New York, NY (Carnegie Hall: Zankel Hall)
DOHNÁNYI: Piano Quintet No. 2
BRAHMS: Piano Quintet
BRAHMS: Selections from Fantasies for solo piano (April 26 only)
May 3 & 4
Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia Orchestra / Lahav Shani
RACHMANINOV: Piano Concerto No. 3

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© 21C Media Group, August 2023


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