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Leif Ove Andsnes Returns to U.S. for Britten with Chicago Symphony (April 7–12) & Pittsburgh Symphony (April 1 & 3), Plus Sony Release of Second Volume of Mozart Momentum 1785/86 Series (April 8)

Leif Ove Andsnes & Mahler Chamber Orchestra (photo: Geoffroy Schied)

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, American audiences can see Leif Ove Andsnes live in concert this spring, when the celebrated Norwegian pianist reprises his interpretation of Britten’s Piano Concerto – hailed as “a revelation” (New York Times) – with the symphony orchestras of Pittsburgh (April 1 & 3) and Chicago (April 7–12). Andsnes also joins the Orchestre de Paris for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 (March 16 & 17), as heard on the first volume of his award-winning Sony Classical series, Mozart Momentum 1785/1786, of which the second is due for release on April 8. To complete his winter and spring lineup, the pianist plays Schumann’s Concerto on tour with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and in Tel Aviv, St. Petersburg and Stockholm, and gives European recitals both with French pianist Marc-André Hamelin and with Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen, following the hugely successful release of their new Grieg song album, named January’s “Recording of the Month” by Gramophone.

Andsnes explains:

“I have been used to spending a few weeks a year in the U.S. every year for the last 30 years, until I had to miss the last two years because of the pandemic. Needless to say, I am especially looking forward to my spring tour, and having the chance to meet my U.S. friends again and connect with the wonderful orchestras and audiences in Pittsburgh and Chicago.”

Britten with Chicago & Pittsburgh Symphonies

This April, Andsnes returns to the States for the first time since November 2019 for collaborations with two leading U.S. orchestras. The vehicle for both is Britten’s sole Piano Concerto, of which he gives two performances with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Music Director Manfred Honeck (April 1 & 3) followed by four more with the Chicago Symphony and Music Director Riccardo Muti (April 7–12). Since proving himself “a fearlessly secure advocate of the Britten” (Gramophone) when he recorded it with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 1999, Andsnes has consistently championed the often-overlooked concerto. He recently reprised the work for appearances at London’s BBC Proms and with the New York Philharmonic, when the New York Times’s Anthony Tommasini was moved to marvel: “The vibrant, insightful performance Mr. Andsnes gave with Mr. [Antonio] Pappano and the Philharmonic was a revelation.” As the review continued:

“The concerto’s four movements have a slightly ironic, Neo-Classical veneer. Mr. Andsnes delved beneath that surface to tease out the music’s mercurial shifts and manic energy. 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.”

Mozart with Orchestre de Paris and on new double album, Mozart Momentum 1786

Widely recognized as one of today’s leading interpreters of Mozart’s music, Andsnes joins the Orchestre de Paris and its new Music Director and Artistic Advisor, 26-year-old Finn Klaus Mäkelä, for two performances of the composer’s Piano Concerto No. 22 (March 16 & 17). The work is one of those featured on Mozart Momentum 1785, the first volume of the pianist’s Sony Classical series Mozart Momentum 1785/1786, on which he and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO) delve into what is not only a high point of the composer’s career, but one of the most remarkable periods in classical music history. His account of the 22nd Piano Concerto was chosen as one of the New York Times’s “25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2021,” and Mozart Momentum 1785 was named one of the “Best Classical Albums of 2021” by Gramophone, nominated for a 2022 International Classical Music Award, and recognized with France’s prestigious Diapason d’or de l’année for Best Concerto Album of 2021. As the UK’s Telegraph put it, the recording captures performances “as masterly and finished and perfect as the music itself.”

Continuing this exploration of one of the most creative and seminal periods of Mozart’s career, the series’ second volume, Mozart Momentum 1786, is due for release on April 8. Once again featuring Andsnes leading the MCO from the keyboard – a team “you’d be hard-put to find … better matched” (The Guardian) – the double album was recorded live at the Vienna Musikverein, and combines Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 23 & 24 with three of the composer’s contemporaneous works: the Piano Quartet in E-flat, Piano Trio in B-flat and concert aria “Ch’io mi scordi di te?” for which Andsnes and the orchestra are joined by Brahms Prize-winning German soprano Christiane Karg.

Schumann in Budapest, Paris, Tel Aviv, Stockholm & St. Petersburg

Another concerto that figures prominently in Andsnes’s current programming is the Schumann. After performing the work on tour with Robin Ticciati and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, with dates this week in Budapest (Feb 9) and Paris (Feb 12), the pianist revisits the concerto with the Israel Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert (March 9–13, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic (June 29 & 30) and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic under Franz Welser-Möst (April 21 & 22). Made with the Berlin Philharmonic, Andsnes’s benchmark 2004 recording of Schumann’s concerto was honored with a Gramophone Award, a German Record Critics’ Award, a Norwegian Spellemann Prize and a coveted Penguin GuideRosette,” besides being named “Best CD of the Year” by the New York Times, which found his interpretation “exceptional.” The pianist has won similar accolades for his recordings of Schumann’s solo piano works and of the composer’s song cycles Liederkreis and Kernerlieder, made with baritone Matthias Goerne, both of which were recognized with Grammy nominations.

Two-piano recitals with Marc-André Hamelin

Andsnes rejoins Marc-André Hamelin, another of his most trusted chamber partners, for two-piano recitals of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and works by Schumann, Debussy and John Adams at London’s Wigmore Hall (May 30) and in Vienna (Feb 28), San Sebastián, Spain (March 2), Amsterdam (May 28) and Bergen, Norway (June 3). The two pianists’ recording of Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring & other works was a recent Grammy nominee, and in live performance their collaboration has been variously hailed as “a keyboard partnership of titans” (The Times of London) and “a meeting of two champions at the top of their game” (Washington Post).

Vocal recital and recent album success with Lise Davidsen

On May 27, Andsnes returns to his hometown of Bergen, Norway, where he joins the nation’s leading operatic soprano, Lise Davidsen, for a vocal recital of Strauss, Wagner and Grieg. Earlier this month, Decca released the duo’s recording of Grieg songs to a chorus of critical approval. “Davidsen and Andsnes are totally captivating,” wrote the UK’s Mail on Sunday in a five-star review, which ended: “I can’t imagine a better start to my 2022 listening than this marvellous album. More, please.” After admiring the soprano’s “remarkable delicacy,” the Sunday Times of London declared Andsnes the “ideal pianist and champion for Norway’s national composer.” “Everything here is beautiful,” agreed the Financial Times. Similarly, citing both the “range and magnificence of Davidsen’s voice” and “Andsnes’s exceptional playing,” Gramophone proclaimed the album “an outstanding release” and named it “Recording of the Month” for January 2022.

Click here to download high-resolution photos.

Leif Ove Andsnes: upcoming engagements

Feb 9 & 12: continuation of tour with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin / Robin Ticciati
     Feb 9: Budapest
     Feb 12: Paris (La Seine Musicale, Boulogne-Billancourt)
SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto

Feb 28–June 3: Four-hands recitals with Marc-Andre Hamelin, piano
     Feb 28: Vienna, Austria (Wiener Konzerthaus)
     March 2: San Sebastián, Spain
     May 28: Amsterdam, Netherlands (Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ)
     May 30: London, UK (Wigmore Hall)
     June 3: Bergen, Norway (Bergen Festival)
John ADAMS: Hallelujah Junction
SCHUMANN: Six Canonic Etudes
DEBUSSY: En blanc et noir
STRAVINSKY: The Rite of Spring

March 9, 10, 12 & 13
Tel Aviv, Israel
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra / Alan Gilbert
SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto

March 16 & 17
Paris, France
Orchestre de Paris / Klaus Mäkelä
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 22

April 1 & 3
Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra / Manfred Honeck
BRITTEN: Piano Concerto

April 7, 8, 9 & 12
Chicago, IL
Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Riccardo Muti
BRITTEN: Piano Concerto

April 21 & 22
Stockholm, Sweden
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra / Franz Welser-Möst
SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto

May 5
Kristiansand, Norway
Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra / Tabita Berglund
BRITTEN: Piano Concerto

May 27
Bergen, Norway
Greig Hall
Recital with Lise Davidsen, soprano

June 15–17
Oslo, Norway
Norwegian Chamber Orchestra / Terje Tønnesen
MOZART: Piano Concertos Nos. 22 & 24

June 29 & 30
St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg Philharmonic
SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto

© 21C Media Group, February 2022


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