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Leif Ove Andsnes Plays Concertos by Grieg and Mozart with Leading Orchestras on Three Continents in 2019-20

Concertos by Grieg and Mozart figure prominently in Leif Ove Andsnes’s programming this season. As 2019-20 Artist-in-Residence of Sweden’s Gothenburg Symphony, the celebrated Norwegian pianist launches the orchestra’s season with performances of Grieg’s Piano Concerto, before reprising the iconic work with the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and NDR Elbphilharmonie at some of the foremost venues on three continents, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts, London’s Barbican Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, and Hamburg’s Schleswig-Holstein Festival. Following the success of his “Beethoven Journey” collaboration with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the pianist rejoins the ensemble for “Mozart Momentum 1785/86,” their second major multi-season partnership. Over the coming months, this sees them tour Europe, first with a program of the composer’s chamber music, and then with his Piano Concertos Nos. 20-22, which they also record for future release by Sony Classical. The same three concertos are the vehicle for Andsnes’s returns to the San Francisco Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, and Berlin Philharmonic, besides being a focal point of his Gothenburg Symphony residency. Andsnes rounds out the season with an all-Schumann lieder evening at Milan’s La Scala in the company of his regular recital partner, bass-baritone Matthias Goerne, and a colorful solo program of Dvořák, Bartók, and Schumann that takes him back to the Vienna Konzerthaus, as well as to London’s Wigmore Hall and other key destinations in Europe.

Grieg concerto in 14 countries

Andsnes has long been recognized as one of the leading exponents of the music of Edvard Grieg. Made with the Berlin Philharmonic, his 2004 recording of the Norwegian composer’s Piano Concerto was not only named “Best CD of the Year” by the New York Times and awarded a coveted “Rosette” by the Penguin Guide, but also – like the pianist’s album of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces – scored him one of his six Gramophone Awards. As Gramophone magazine put it, “However many times he’s performed the Grieg, Andsnes retains a freshness and expressiveness that always sound spontaneous.

These qualities speak to the pianist’s deep understanding of his compatriot’s work. In a Gramophone feature about the Grieg concerto, Andsnes explained:

“Grieg is … a force of nature. His is a grand statement from a young man who really wants to conquer the world. … After the Schumann-influenced beginning, the piece becomes more Norwegian. … The piece is full of contrasts between this huge passion and the simplicity of folk melodies.”

This season, Andsnes performs the concerto in season-opening concerts that inaugurate his multi-faceted appointment as 2019-20 Artist-in-Residence of Sweden’s national orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony, under the baton of Chief Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali (Sep 4–6). He goes on to revisit the work with Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony (Sep 19–21); Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony, first in Boston (Nov 14–16) and then at New York’s Carnegie Hall (Nov 18); Alan Gilbert and Hamburg’s NDR Elbphilharmonie, at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival (July 4 & 5); the St. Petersburg Philharmonic (Dec 14); Edward Gardner and the Bergen Philharmonic, on a tour of China and South Korea (June 10-25); and Vasily Petrenko and the Oslo Philharmonic, at the orchestra’s Anniversary Gala (Sep 27 & 28), at Bucharest’s George Enescu International Festival (Sep 13), and on a nine-city, seven-country European tour that takes in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie and Vienna Konzerthaus, before culminating at London’s Barbican Hall (Oct 10-22).

Three seminal Mozart concertos on both sides of the Atlantic

Andsnes became the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO)’s inaugural Artistic Partner for the “Beethoven Journey.” This monumental four-year focus on the composer’s music for piano and orchestra was highlighted by complete Beethoven concerto cycles with the MCO at live residencies in New York, London, Vienna, Paris, Lucerne, Bodø, Bonn, Hamburg, Shanghai and Tokyo, and on an award-winning recording series for Sony Classical. Their outstanding musical rapport was such that Gramophone marveled: “There’s so much more to this partnership than just exceptional playing; there’s a palpable sense of discovery.” As The Guardian put it: “You’d be hard put to find a pianist and orchestra better matched.”

Now, with “Mozart Momentum 1785/1786,” Andsnes and the ensemble explore what is not only one of the most creative and seminal periods of the composer’s career, but also one of the most remarkable periods in classical history. In 1785 and 1786, Mozart wrote a series of masterpieces that would forever change the piano concerto, re-examining the roles of the soloist and orchestra, and discovering new possibilities for communication and dialogue between them. By showcasing the transformative part Mozart played in the genre’s development, Andsnes and the MCO hope to present a rich portrait of the Classical master at the top of his game.

This season, besides joining members of the orchestra for a program of Mozart’s chamber music on tour in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and at London’s Wigmore Hall (Feb 14-25), the pianist gives high-profile performances on both sides of the Atlantic of the three Mozart concertos he looks forward to recording with the MCO next May. He performs Concerto No. 22 in E-flat, both with the San Francisco Symphony under Manfred Honeck (Nov 22–24) and with the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert Blomstedt in Berlin (Jan 16–18) and Baden-Baden (April 12). He couples the same concerto with No. 21 in C in concerts with Minnesota’s St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (Feb 7–9), before pairing No. 21 with No. 20 in D minor with the Oslo Philharmonic at the Bergen Festival and Bodø in Norway, where he also takes part in a performance of Mozart’s First Piano Quartet (June 3 & 4). Finally, he plays all three concertos, on tour with the MCO in Croatia, Italy, Belgium, Austria and the Czech Republic (May 16–27), and over the course of two programs with Sweden’s Gothenburg Symphony, this time under the leadership of Klaus Mäkelä, newly appointed Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Oslo Philharmonic (Jan 10–11; April 22–24).

Solo recital tour and Schumann lieder with Matthias Goerne

In solo recital, Andsnes has consistently proven himself to be “one of the finest musicians working today” (Washington Post). This season, on a European tour that combines returns to Wigmore Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus, and Gothenburg with dates in Lisbon, Amsterdam, Heidelberg, Copenhagen and Norway’s Spitsbergen and Oslo, he performs a solo program of Bartók’s Three Burlesques, Dvořák’s Poetic Tone Poems, and Schumann’s Carnaval (March 9–April 2). Of the latter, he explains:

“It’s his Opus 9, written when he was in his twenties. The ‘carnaval’ of imaginary figures that he created was so crazy and so new at the time. It was the big Schumann piece for older generations of pianists, but now I find that one doesn’t hear it so often. You are more likely to hear the Fantasie or Kreisleriana. I find it amazing to study Carnaval now, it is so full of wild wonderful ideas.”

Schumann is also the focus of Andsnes’s current collaborations with longtime recital partner Matthias Goerne. This fall, he reunites with the baritone for an all-Schumann lieder recital at Milan’s La Scala that features Liederkreis (Dec 3), one of the two song cycles heard on their acclaimed recent Harmonia Mundi release, which shows them to be “artists who are performing together in complete harmony” (Sunday Times, UK).

The recording marks the most recent addition to Andsnes’s distinguished discography. This has been already been recognized with numerous international honors, including six Gramophone Awards. His most recent solo release, Chopin: Ballades & Nocturnes, was named one of the “Best Classical Albums of 2018” (WQXR) and nominated for an International Classical Music Award, while his two-piano Stravinsky recording with Marc-André Hamelin, released this past February, scored the Norwegian pianist his ninth Grammy nomination.

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The pianist’s upcoming engagements come on the heels of a full summer. Having made his Proms debut with Britten’s Piano Concerto back in 1992, he returned to London’s Royal Albert Hall for an account of the same work with Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, demonstrating his “technical command and heart-stopping lyricism” (Classical Source) in “a performance … better – more persuasive and impressive – than the work itself” (The Arts Desk, UK). As Founding Director of Norway’s annual Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, Andsnes also curated and performed at the festival’s fourth edition. With nine concerts, a two-part exhibition, and multiple lectures and pre-concert talks dedicated to Shostakovich, this took place in the idyllic village of Rosendal, where he was joined on stage by a stellar roster of guest artists, including pianist Marc-André Hamelin, baritone Andrei Bondarenko, clarinetist Anthony McGill, violist Tabea Zimmermann, cellist Clemens Hagen, and the Quatuor Danel and Ensemble Allegria.

Click here to download high-resolution photos.


Leif Ove Andsnes, 2019-20 engagements

Sep 4-6
Gothenburg, Sweden
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Santtu-Matias Rouvali
Season-opening concerts
GRIEG: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 

Sep 13
Bucharest, Romania
George Enescu International Festival
Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra / Vasily Petrenko
GRIEG: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 

Sep 19-21
Chicago, IL
Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Riccardo Muti
GRIEG: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16

Sep 27-28
Oslo, Norway
Oslo Philharmonic Anniversary Gala / Vasily Petrenko
GRIEG: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 

Oct 10-22: European tour with Oslo Philharmonic / Vasily Petrenko
GRIEG: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
   Oct 10-11: Oslo, Norway
Oct 13: Cologne, Germany (Philharmonie)
Oct 14: Amsterdam, Netherlands (Concertgebouw)
Oct 15: Hamburg, Germany (Elbphilharmonie)
Oct 16: Vienna, Austria (Vienna Konzerthaus)
Oct 18: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Oct 19: Udine, Italy
Oct 20: Turin, Italy
Oct 22: London, UK (Barbican Hall)

Nov 14-16
Boston, MA
Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons
GRIEG: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16

Nov 18
New York, NY
Carnegie Hall
Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons
GRIEG: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16

Nov 22-24
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Symphony / Manfred Honeck
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat, K. 482

Dec 3
Milan, Italy
La Scala
Recital with Matthias Goerne
SCHUMANN: Three Songs after poems by Heinrich Heine
SCHUMANN: Liederkreis, Op. 24
SCHUMANN: Zwölf Lieder nach Justinus Kerner, Op. 35

Dec 14
St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg Philharmonic
GRIEG: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16

Jan 10-11
Gothenburg, Sweden
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Klaus Mäkelä
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat, K. 482

Jan 16-18
Berlin, Germany
Berlin Philharmonic / Herbert Blomstedt
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat, K. 482

Jan 24
Bergen, Norway
Haugesund Church Recital

Jan 26
Bergen, Norway
Lofoten Cathedral Recital

Feb 7-9
St. Paul, MN
Ordway Center for the Arts
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 21 KV467
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat, K. 482

Feb 14-25: European tour with Mahler Chamber Orchestra
MOZART: chamber music
   Feb 15 & 16: Elmau, Germany
Feb 18: Eindhoven, Netherlands
Feb 19: Antwerp, Belgium
Feb 20: London, UK (Wigmore Hall)
Feb 23: Bremen, Germany

March 9– April 2: European solo recital tour
DVOŘÁK: Poetic Tone Poems, Op. 85
BARTÓK: Three Burlesques, Op. 8 (Sz.47)
SCHUMANN: Carnaval, Op. 9
   March 9: Spitsbergen, Norway
March 11: Gothenburg, Sweden
March 12: Vienna, Austria (Vienna Konzerthaus)
March 14: Oslo, Norway (University Aula)
March 21: Copenhagen, Denmark (Konservatoriets Koncertsal)
March 24: Heidelberg, Germany (Heidelberger Frühling)
March 27: Amsterdam, Netherlands
March 29: Lisbon, Portugal (Gulbenkian Music)
April 1 & 2: London, UK (Wigmore Hall)

April 12
Baden-Baden, Germany
Berlin Philharmonic / Herbert Blomstedt
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat, K. 482

April 22–24
Gothenburg, Sweden
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 20 KV466
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 21 KV467

May 16–27
European tour with Mahler Chamber Orchestra
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 20 KV466
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 21 KV467
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat, K. 48
May 16: Rijeka, Croatia
May 18: Reggio Emilia, Italy
May 19: Perugia, Italy
May 20: Antwerp, Belgium
May 24: Neumarkt, Austria
May 26 & 27: Prague, Czech Republic

June 3 & 4
Bergen Festival, Bergen, Norway (June 3)
Bodø, Norway (June 4)
Oslo Philharmonic
MOZART: Piano Quartet K478
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 20 KV466
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 21 KV467

June 10-25: Bergen Festival and Asian tour with Bergen Philharmonic / Edward Gardner
June 10: Bergen, Norway (Bergen Festival)
June 15-17: South Korea
June 19: Macao
June 21: Shanghai (Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre)
June 22: Regional China, TBC
June 24 & 25: Beijing (National Centre for the Performing Arts)

July 4 & 5
Hamburg, Germany
Schleswig-Holstein Festival
NDR Elbphilharmonie / Alan Gilbert
GRIEG: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16

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© 21C Media Group, August 2019

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